I just heard some advice that I’m taking to heart. It was to relish in the magical synchronicity of life, because it makes them stronger. You know the ones I’m talking about, when you think of someone and then they call you, when you hum a song and it plays on the radio, when the setting sun hits the landscape in just such a way that it pierces through your outer shell and brings tears of joy and wonder to your eyes. These are the moments I’m talking about, and there is one such string of magic that I want to relish in and share with you.
I was on a work trip with my husband, Dave in Miami. We had some time to explore, so we did what most reasonable Canadians would do and decided to take advantage of the room temperature ocean waves and sunshine suddenly available to us in October. As we reached the waves, they seemed to instantly wash away any sense of frustration or discomfort we had, leaving us feeling open and connected to the greater forces surrounding us. As a calm feeling washed over me I started singing a tune that came into my mind… “Lady, running down to the riptide, Taken away to the dark side…” Wait, WHAT? Why am I singing this song in the ocean when I already have a phobia of riptides taking me away?! I focused intently on getting it out of my head, but then a few minutes later I’d realize I was singing it again. What the hell? I eventually gave up and let myself enjoy humming what my thoughts suspected were a subconscious invitation to meet my maker in that choppy ocean. And yet despite my thoughts, it felt so freeing and peaceful to sing that particular song in that moment.
Fast forward two days and we’ve traded Miami’s sun-kissed beaches for Alberta’s snow-capped Rocky Mountains. We’re volunteering at a retreat and every one is sharing their first dinner together in the lodge’s cozy restaurant. People are wearing toques while chatting excitedly to each other as a fireplace crackles nearby. Someone is playing beautiful music in the room next door and I pop over with a few other enchanted guests to watch and listen. My friend, Dana asks her if she’ll join us and play for us and to our delight she says yes. Sometimes it turns out that if you want something to happen all you have to do is ask. Fortunately for all of us at the retreat, my friend Dana understands this.
The lovely musician comes in and seats herself on a chair with her ukelele in hand. Her fingers begin dancing with the strings and the rhythm weaves us all together like invisible threads moving from one heart to the next. The chatter quiets and we’re left with presence and connection. The musician’s soulful and sweet voice harmonizes with the ukelele’s song until it seems there is only the music, our hearts, and the perfection of this moment. As she sings the melody, everyone in the room softly sings with her… “Lady, running down to the riptide, Taken away to the dark side…” Many of us have tears in our eyes as the music connects us in this beautiful, perfect moment. My husband sitting next to me squeezes my leg, he remembers me singing this song in the ocean just a couple of days ago. I smile back at him and my eyes say “I know, isn’t it so magical?”
Fast forward again. It’s late and Dave and I have just finished watching the final season of the show Halt and Catch Fire, and the ending is phenomenal. Without ruining it for you, the characters each experience great personal loss in their own ways, and yet they embrace the pain of it. They welcome it into their hearts and let it show them how to love more deeply. They move forward through their lives and allow themselves to be recreated into someone new each moment. They love without holding onto the object of their love.
I sat there after it was finished and I laughed, smiled and cried for a couple of hours. I sat in wonder at the concept of loving so cleanly. To keep alive the memory of something you loved and lost because the richness of that love is so much greater than any sorrow could ever be. The object of love may no longer be there but the love itself never left. This got to me. It got to my heart. I thought of the people who’ve made a big impact in my life, many of them no longer a part of it. I realized that I loved all of them. I felt so grateful for each lesson and moment of connection I’d shared with them. Even though they were no longer in my life they were still teaching me how to love. I let the depth of the emotion and insight wash over me like a wave taking me out to see. And then I felt it. “Lady, running down to the riptide, Taken away to the dark side…” The words that sang through me were a call to surrender. To let go and feel the wave of being alive. To let myself move deeper into the infinite depths of this human experience. The ocean doesn’t want to drown me. I am the ocean. And you know what? So are you.
“The real you is not a puppet which life pushes around…
You are something that the whole universe is doing
in the same way that a wave is something that the whole ocean is doing.”
– Alan Watts
What are some moments you’ve had when it seemed like the universe was winking at you? Take notice of them, relish in them, and share your stories in the comments!