The dictionary defines synchronicity as “the simultaneous occurrence of events which appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection.” Carl Jung, who coined the term, called synchronicity a “meaningful coincidence” and an “acausal parallelism.” If you’ve never experienced or recognized a synchronicity, you may not know how different it is from a mere coincidence. I don’t know if everyone feels this way, but for me a synchronicity is like a voice from another dimension.
My title of my memoir is Serendipity Road. I gave synchronicity a name and an identity in about 2006. It was a transition period in my life and they happened so often, I just let go and allowed my very own goddess Serendipity to guide me. I ended up here in Sihanoukville, a place that wasn’t on my travel itinerary when I landed in Ho Chi Minh City in September of 2006. More on that later. Right now, let me explain what prompted this post.
Synchronicity in Action
Two things happened the day before yesterday. I looked at my email and discovered Neil Slade had created an audio of our interview together. Then I decided to see if the computer shop had done as promised and copied everything from my old ‘D’ drive to my new computer. They had, but the first thing I noticed was a folder called “Soul Surfer Files.” I had completely forgotten I’d saved the manuscript. As I hovered over the manuscript, I noticed it had been created in 2003. That just happened to be the same year I stumbled across Neil’s website and discovered amygdala clicking.
It all came rushing back. Shortly after the big “brain pop” I experienced in 2003, I started writing Soul Surfer. I ended up shelving it because I didn’t like the ending, but the first 30,000 words or so poured out of me in a rush. I hadn’t even looked at it since about 2005. Curious, I opened it yesterday and started reading. I’ve sent Serendipity Road to a friend and am waiting for her to reply. Soul Surfer is just what I need to occupy my time right now.
As far as I’m concerned, those two occurrences were a synchronicity. Had I only gotten the email, it would have been interesting, but when combined with rediscovering the book, it was extraordinary.
2003 was a remarkable year. In every practical sense of the word it was the beginning of the worst period of my life. I had a horrible job and in 2004, my wife said she wanted a divorce. She had fallen in love with another man while I was in the U.S. looking after my dying Dad.
In another sense, 2003 was one of the best years of my life because it was the year I discovered amygdala tickling. As I told Neil in the interview, I tried the technique and got mild results from it until one rainy morning when I was driving to work feeling sorry for myself. I tried the technique and became completely blissed out. Suddenly life was a magical adventure. My horrible job became interesting. More importantly, I started to like my workmates, one of whom openly hated me. I understood why and later was able to get him a better job at another yacht factory. He stopped hating me after that.
I remained blissed out for about six months after that first “brain pop.” Then it faded, but whenever I reach for it, I get mild to profound results from doing amygdala tickling. I can honestly say the simple technique has gotten me through the past thirteen years of my life.
My dearest and wisest friend, Penny Sisto calls it something else. Over forty years ago, she used to talk about “the Happy.” While I was writing my book, I asked her about it. I share her thoughts in the book and conclude:
If I hadn’t learned how to tap into the Happy, I might be another disgruntled drunk on the Hill. Why I remain so dense and easily knocked off course after having had so many extraordinary experiences and met so many amazing people is a mystery. It’s a mystery, but I’m beyond grateful for the grace that seems to have lifted me up every time I’ve stumbled throughout my life. If not for that, I’m sure I’d just be another deathpat looking for release from the whispers of the dark side of the moon.
“Deathpat” is a word embassies use to describe expats who come to Cambodia only to die. I’ve met several and while I don’t think dying is their conscious intention, it does often seem to be a subconscious or unconscious intention.
The Dalai Lama put it well when he said, “I am open to the guidance of synchronicity, and do not let expectations hinder my path.” You can’t command a synchronous event, but you do need to be in a state of mind where you can recognize it when it occurs. It’s trying to tell you something, but you have to be receptive and have no expectations. When I opened a pirate copy of the Lonely Planet guide to Southeast Asia in 2006, it opened to the page about Sihanoukville. It didn’t have a lot of flattering things to say about it, but something behind the words on the pages made me want to come here. No, it wasn’t a spit-polished beach resort, but that was part of its charm. It was quiet, the beaches were beautiful and the water was warm. The people seemed friendly and there were just enough amenities for it to be comfortable. If I had taken the words literally, I would have flipped through the book and found a beach in Thailand. The combination of the random page and an intuitive feeling brought me here. Synchronicities continued to appear and I’ve lived here for going on ten years now.
I could go on with more examples, but I’ve already done that in my memoir. I wrote it spontaneously and it was only after I’d finished the first draft that I realized what the book was really about. It started out as a story about my former Cambodian wife’s life, but that only took up a couple of chapters. The members of a writing group prompted me to write more about myself. I didn’t know what to write, so I just sat down with a notebook and wrote whatever popped into my head. In one chapter, I write: “Serendipity Road isn’t about me. It’s about my relationship with fate.” Long before I gave fate a name and a face, she changed the course of my life on many occasions. She helped me not get drafted into the Vietnam War, took me to Australia and eventually brought me here. When I had no money and no job, she stepped in, too. The book is almost 100,000 words and most of it is about fate and synchronicity. I have no idea what’s coming next, but I agree with the Dalai Lama. I won’t let expectations hinder my path. When the time is right, the path forward will become clear.
Here’s the podcast of my interview with Neil Slade.
powered by podcast garden