The rational part of my brain by far dwarves that part of my brain which is open to things-not-easily-explained. I’m far more Scully than Mulder: my first reaction to hearing stories about phenomena which fall outside of the realm of the basic laws of the universe as laid down in high-school science textbooks is to scoff dismissvely at whatever out-there bit of New Age hooey is under discussion. I reailze that this isn’t the most open-minded attitude I could have (I attribute said attitude to my apparently very sheltered upbringing), and I’m working on being more open to that which isn’t considered part of “normal” science, especially since so many of my friends — incredibly intelligent people I admire and respect quite a bit — believe so strongly in some of this stuff. If these folks believe in $x, I say to myself, then there’s got to be something to it.
I’m saying all of that as a way into this: I’m not sure how much I believe in coincidence, and I’m trying to notice when it feels like the universe is attempting to tell me something… even if I can’t immediately suss out just what.
Case in point:
Friday night, Terry and I were watching a program on the Travel Channel about (coincidentally enough) places which are supposedly hotspots for mystical or paranormal energy. One of the mystically intense locales featured on the show was Sedona, Arizona, and there among the footage of Sedona was a very interesting-looking church, one that I believe had been built into the rocks in the mountains. (It was only mentioned and shown in passing, so I didn’t get the full story.) That church itself isn’t important to my story except in that it sparked some neurons in my brain: “Hmmm,” the thought generated by the firing of those neurons said, “your dad told you a story about some church out in the Southwest that had a spiral staircase that had some funky properties to it. I wonder if that’s it?”
And that was all I thought of the matter.
Until a few mintues ago, when I was listening to an Internet radio station I’d never listened to before.
Instead of listening to my usual MP3s while writing, I decided to listen to the radio instead, and pulled a station at random out of iTunes: iChannel, which plays all indie and unsigned bands, so I knew I’d hear some new stuff. Well, after the third song I heard, a DJ (female voice, cute and just slightly less-than-professional-sounding) came on to introduce the next song, which had been specially requested by Sarah from Santa Fe.
“Have you ever been to Santa Fe?” asks the DJ. “They’ve got this church there, and it’s got this spiral staircase in it that’s made without any nails at all. It’s just boards. Pretty cool… you should check it out if you’re ever in Santa Fe. Anyway, here’s the request for Sarah…”
Coinicdence that I should see a TV show about mystical energies and unexplainable pheomena that makes me think about something I hadn’t thought of in years, something about which I couldn’t quite remember the details, and then have those details filled in 48 hours later by a DJ on a radio station I’d never even heard of before? Most likely, yeah… but it also feeds into something else which had been on my mind since Thursday: opening my mind to these sorts of connections and letting either the universe or my subconcious, take your pick, send me messages or information it thinks I need.
(What message am I supposed to be taking from the story of the Loretto Chapel? I’m honestly not sure. Since I’m not a religious person, I’m going to ignore the “miraculous” apsects of the staircase’s construction. I’m thinking I should be getting a message about design or building, or perhaps about seeing a project through to completion. Possibly that I should become a nun, though that seems unlikely.)
These sorts of coincidences have happened to me many times in my life. I have no idea if they’re a more or less common occurrence for me than for other people, or even if I’m more of less aware of them. I know that as impressive as this most recent coincidence feels, it’s far from the biggest that’s ever popped up; sometime soon I’ll tell you about my friend Steve and how I knew he was supposed to be part of my life.
So what about all of you? I’d love to hear about any similar experiences you might have had and what, if any, meaning you ascribed to them.