Monthly Archives: November 2012

Synchronicity

Synchronicity: simultaneous occurrence of like events that seem random but may also signal cosmic coordination.

My dear friend and colleague Susan Bono and I are keeping synchronicity journals. As we’ve learned with dream journals and gratitude journals, we expect the synchronicity journals will increase our awareness of synchronous events. It’s a way to monitor what the universe is trying to tell us about life, love, and writing.

Here are a few recent entries from my synchronicity journal:

1. Driving home from work, listening to a jazz station on the car radio, I heard the pianist and composer George Cables announce the station identification. I thought, perhaps they’ll play his wonderful “Helen’s Song,” a tune I learned in a remarkable, music-filled time of my life. In the next moment, “Helen’s Song” came on.

2. While working on my novel, Junction, Utah, during the first days of my residency in Sitka, Alaska, last fall, I also read voraciously. Much of the reading material that came to me simply happened to be part of my hosts’ library. The first book I read in residency (actually re-read after decades) was  Margaret Craven’s  I Heard the Owl Call My Name, a beautiful book from the 1960s about Kwakiutl villages in British Columbia and a missionary who goes to live and serve among them. I

In Sitka, I read Owl, wrote fiction for a month while surrounded by forests and waters, then finished my residency with a second reading of Owl. The book moved me as it had in the 1960s; I was especially moved the second time.

Recently while in Glen Ellen for lunch, I was musing that I’d love Junction to be as beautiful and affecting as Owl.  I stopped at the book exchange shelves at Jack London Village–there was Owl among the romance novels and how-to-get-rich books. I picked it up for yet another read.

3. Rose and I were leaving yoga class last Saturday morning; she was telling me about two different Zachs she knew who’d dated the same young woman; we stopped at the art store where the staff were talking about yet a third Zach.

4. I was thinking about my friend Susan, who moved out of the north bay area a few years ago. Musing about the courage she’d shown in radically changing her life, I wondered how she was doing. Simultaneously an email came in from her (she rarely sends them as keyboards present a problem). She’d attached a photo of this lovely ice bubble–a whimsical, joyful creation that seemed to say, “Susan’s doing very well indeed.”

Susan’s Icy Bubble–they freeze from the bottom up, she tells me. You can observe the process as it happens.

Carl Jung, father of synchronicity, would know how to interpret these little events better than I can yet. But in observing and recording them, I’m learning more about how often they occur–probably as often as I’m willing to see them.

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Veterans

In April 2011, the powers that be razed the Vietnam era Oak Knoll Hospital in Oakland, California. As a young Camp Fire Girl in the late 1960s, I’d visited the hospital with my friends to sing Christmas Carols. A lot of extremely injured men lay in the beds–and I know for a fact we weren’t even allowed into the worst wards, so we didn’t come eye to eye with the most injured. We sang, and some of them smiled, but the ones in the most pain weren’t able to hear or see us.

While editing my novel, Junction, Utah, today, I again read the scene inspired by that day some four decades ago in Oakland with the Camp Fire Girls.  I shared the scene in this blog last year when I learned of the hospital’s demise–likely for more residential housing.

I’m sharing the post here again in honor of Veteran’s Day.

Chris learned something he’d suspected but hadn’t known for sure: the medical center was bigger than all of downtown Landstuhl. A dozen hospital buildings housing a thousand beds lay north and south of a mile-long, connecting corridor. Most beds sat empty now, but they reminded Chris of how many wounded the center could hold at the worst times. Neon light filled the lobby, the brightest room Chris saw in all his time in Germany. He hadn’t waited long before Nurse Clark came to meet him, her hand reaching for his. “I’m Janice,” she said, quietly. She had a faint mustache, and her powerful shoulders and self assurance shook his preconceived image of her as a small, pasty novice. “I haven’t talked to your brother in days,” she said. “He’s not officially checked in anymore, you know.”

“Not checked in? Then why would he stay?” Chris felt heat in his cheeks.

“If he’s in the building, he’ll be in Martin’s room. Building Ten.”

“Does he know I’m here?”

Janice signaled for him to wait while she stopped to help a serviceman on crutches. He was one of the many wounded who wore robes and lined the hallway. They sat in wheelchairs and rocking chairs or walked with casts. They lay on gurneys with tubes in their necks and nostrils. Many were missing limbs. They were all kids, Luke’s age and younger, some with burns that covered their skin in red or brown patches; some with legs imprisoned in casts; some with heads and faces masked in miles of bandages. Chris flashed on a thought: if he unrolled all the gauze in that building, it’d take him back to Utah. He wished it would. Janice gave everyone a smile and kind word, and Chris followed her lead as best he could, even though his stomach roiled at the sight of it all.

She escorted Chris past some Frauleins in Girl-Scout-type uniforms. They huddled together singing O! Tannenbaum, their big eyes on each other, avoiding the gaze of the wounded.

“Please, Nurse Clark.” Chris asked again, “Does Luke know I’m here?”

She pushed through double doors marked Building Ten. “I haven’t had the chance to tell him.”

Chris inhaled deeply as she led him past an empty stairwell. They wound through a crowd of medical personnel speaking a mix of German and English. They passed the Girl Scouts again—or so Chris thought—who were now singing Silent Nacht. “Are we going in circles?” he asked.

“That’s a different group. There are three or four choirs here every day this close to Christmas.”

He stayed with her, though he wanted to bolt. With all these men so bad off, how would Luke be when Chris saw him? Doctor Swanson had said, “Luke expressly told me he doesn’t want to speak to anyone.”

“Even his family?”

“Especially his family.”

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Transplant

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Tonight I’m sharing a special post, written by my excellent colleague and friend, Jordan Rosenfeld, and transplanted here on my blog. I find it very touching and hope you will, too!

As those of you who have read Write Free: Attracting the Creative Life know, the book is about aligning yourself with your desires, filling yourself with gratitude and thus becoming a powerful magnet for what you wish to be and do. That’s why Becca Lawton and I are thrilled to be able to use the energy of this book to draw funds to a cause that means a lot to us.

For every copy of Write Free you purchase through this site, $10 will be donated, tax deductible, in your name (you’ll receive a receipt) to The Children’s Organ Transplant Association on behalf of Dustin Lucas, who has just received the great news that he is now officially on the transplant list awaiting a new set of lungs. Dustin is a strong young man living with Cystic Fibrosis, an inherited disease that causes thick, sticky mucus to form in the lungs, pancreas and other organs. People with CF have a shorter-than-normal life expectancy. The good news is that as treatments for CF improve, the life expectancy for people with the disease is rising. Fifty years ago, children with CF often died before attending elementary school. Today many people with the disease live into their 30s and beyond.

Dustin’s chances are increased immeasurably with his impending lung transplant, a pricey but life-prolonging treatment.

Whether you write or not, Write Free is also a helpful reminder on how to draw the creative life you desire to you, and makes a great gift. We hope you can help!

Purchase copies by clicking This Link and then selecting the “buy paperback” option under the cover of Write Free.

Gratefully,

Jordan and Becca

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