Synchronicity, Serendipity, and the Importance of Things Unseen, Part 3

A “Symphony of Your Life” blog with Mark Hardcastle

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Here’s Part 2, in case you missed it…

…Connected events. Coincidental. But no causal relationship. Connected instead by meaning. Like, for instance, my dad and his roses.

In the fall of 1989 I was living in Omaha in the first home I’d ever owned. The house had been neglected, having been taken over by a bank through loan foreclosure. Indeed, the “lawn,” if it could still be called that, had not been mowed since the bank took ownership a couple of years before. I was told by neighbors that the city had come through on two occasions with a bush hog to take down the brush. The condition was reflected in the price, which made it attainable for a young Air Force officer buying his first family home.

The following spring I set to the happy work of bringing the property back up to a livable condition. That included yard work. Lots of yard work. I noticed during the process a row of dog roses growing along the back wall of the house. But they didn’t bloom that spring. Along with everything else, they had been neglected. They were doing well just to stay alive.

They didn’t bloom the following spring, either. I made a mental note to add them to the now shortening list of jobs needing to be done over the course of that summer. But as so often happens, that particular task went begging.

Which brings us to autumn of 1989. We lost Dad that September. Dad had spent a lifetime as an agronomist specializing in weed control. He took great satisfaction in helping farmers increase their yields, and enjoyed seeing results on a global scale. And he loved his roses. We only had a few at the house in which I grew up, but I remember strolling with him through the demonstration gardens at the agricultural experiment station where he spent his working hours.

It’s been more than 25 years and I still miss him. But as autumn of 1989 descended into winter then became spring of 1990 the grief was still fresh and raw. I found therapy in turning my thoughts and energies to the continuing work of restoring the now lush and green lawn of our first house. And then, together with all the other blossoms of spring, the roses bloomed.

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I had not touched them. Zero cultivation, no fertilizer. Nothing. There was no reason for this spring to have been any different from any other.

Except that Dad, who had loved his roses, had passed into another realm. And I heard a message with my heart as clearly as if it had come to me out loud. Dad was saying, “It’s ok. All is well.” And there, at that moment, was my beginning of peace.

So let’s bring it home: Conclusion…

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Mark graduated from the USAF Academy in 1982. After nine years as a pilot on active duty, he left the military to join a commercial airline. In addition to flying B-777s around the world, Hardcastle spends time in the Rocky Mountains and serves on the artistic staff of the Colorado Children’s Chorale. He lives in Centennial, Colorado, with his wife and four children. Contact Mark today to schedule a keynote or workshop for your organization! email: mark@symphonyofyourlife.com. 720.840.8361

Synchronicity, Serendipity, and the Importance of Things Unseen, Part 2

A “Symphony of Your Life” blog with Mark Hardcastle

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…It was a good moment. But it was about to get better. Remarkably better. Dramatically better. Unbelievably, serendipitously better.

 

I spent my few minutes in the drum circle, then continued on my way over to Queensway Road to my favorite shawarma hole-in-the-wall to grab some dinner. An hour later I was back in my room, logging my phone into the hotel wifi. That’s how I’ve been keeping up with my son, Seth, who is on a pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago in northern Spain.

 

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I’m grateful every day for the technology that lets me keep up with him as he moves. He’s only halfway done, but already has accumulated stories and insights that will direct the rest of his life. Sure enough there was a message from him waiting for me on WhatsApp. The time stamp was precisely the moment I had been dancing in Hyde Park. This is what he said:

 

“I was just in a drum circle.”

 

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And just that quickly I learned a new word: Synchronicity.
/ˌsɪnkrəˈnɪsɪtɪ/

noun

1. an apparently meaningful coincidence in time of two or more similar or identical events that are causally unrelated (from The British Dictionary)

How are we to recognize acausal combinations of events, since it is obviously impossible to examine all chance happenings for their causality? The answer to this is that acausal events may be expected most readily where, on closer reflection, a causal connection appears to be inconceivable. – Carl Jung, Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle

Before that night “Synchronicity” had been little more to me than the title of a song by The Police. Since then I’ve found myself reflecting on stuff that I know to be true that simply cannot be explained by science or logic. Moments I’ve lived personally – seen with my own eyes that have given me pause. Seems as though I’m not the first one to reflect in that way. See the Carl Jung pull above, and the Wikipedia link at the very top of Part 1.

According to Wikipedia, “Jung’s belief was that, just as events may be connected by causality, they may also be connected by meaning. Events connected by meaning need not have an explanation in terms of causality.”

 

Connected events. Coincidental. But no causal relationship. Connected instead by meaning. Like, for instance, my dad and his roses.

 

And here’s that story: Part 3…

 

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Mark graduated from the USAF Academy in 1982. After nine years as a pilot on active duty, he left the military to join a commercial airline. In addition to flying B-777s around the world, Hardcastle spends time in the Rocky Mountains and serves on the artistic staff of the Colorado Children’s Chorale. He lives in Centennial, Colorado, with his wife and four children. Contact Mark today to schedule a keynote or workshop for your organization! email: mark@symphonyofyourlife.com. 720.840.8361

Synchronicity, Serendipity, and the Importance of Things Unseen, Part 1

 

A “Symphony of Your Life” blog with Mark Hardcastle

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     Two decades ago I was on a layover in New York. With some time on my hands and a lovely Sunday afternoon on which to spend it, I wandered aimlessly over to Central Park. Late in the day I heard drumming start up on the other side of the park, and curiosity sent me strolling in that direction.
     As I walked up I observed about a dozen drummers in a circle with another dozen or so flower-children inside the circle dancing. Dreadlocks. Facial jewelry. Tattoos. And smiles.
     I’d never seen anything like it before, having grown up in a small town in the south, then college at a military academy. So I stood a short distance away and took it all in. It’s true the first drummers and dancers were not “my tribe.” But over time, other folks joined both the drummers and the dancers. Regular haircuts. Conventional clothes. People who looked like me. Wearing smiles. Giving smiles. Receiving smiles as they danced and drummed.
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     Different people floated in, stayed for a while, then floated out and walked away. I couldn’t tell if there were “rules.” I didn’t think so. But being the outsider I didn’t want to spoil the atmosphere in any way so I kept my distance.
     What I could tell was that there was living going on in that space. These people were vital. Leaving all unpleasantness outside the circle for a moment or two, and enjoying being human. Together. Since then whenever I’ve happened upon similar gatherings I’ve called them “Life Spaces.” They’re good to see.
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     Next day at 35,000 feet I described it to my captain. In his wisdom, he had only one simple question: “Did you dance?”
     I had not, for the reasons I mentioned above, and others. I’ve regretted that choice for all these years. How many times have I promised myself that should I ever run into another such “Life Space” I would certainly dance?
     Tonight I was in London, half a world away from New York, again wandering through another park very much like the one in Manhattan. And there it was. Drumming in the distance. Of course I wandered over that way. And yes, they were there. Hippies. Flower-children. Dreadlocks. Piercings. Tattoos. Smoldering sage bundles. And smiles. Drumming and dancing in a circle. Creating a Life Space.
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     I stepped right in. Cautiously, politely. No one seemed to mind. Me with my conventional clothing and short hair. And a smile. Remembering 20 years of anticipation. Of hope. Thinking of Manhattan in another age. At another age. With a wise old captain who knew just what to ask. Resolving a regret; correcting a mistake.
     It was a good moment. But it was about to get better. Remarkably better. Dramatically better. Unbelievably, serendipitously better.
      Here’s how: Part 2…
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Mark graduated from the USAF Academy in 1982. After nine years as a pilot on active duty, he left the military to join a commercial airline. In addition to flying B-777s around the world, Hardcastle spends time in the Rocky Mountains and serves on the artistic staff of the Colorado Children’s Chorale. He lives in Centennial, Colorado, with his wife and four children. Contact Mark today to schedule a keynote or workshop for your organization! email: mark@symphonyofyourlife.com. 720.840.8361