Following The Signs: The Power of SynchronicityOctober 2, 2017
The universe is always trying to speak with us: giving us signs as to how our path is supposed to unfold, and nudging us in the right direction. However, oftentimes we are so caught-up in our day-to-day lives that we fail to recognize these subtle signs. Sometimes, these signs can be blaring like a big red flashing light. Whether the signs are subtle, or loud, if we are fortunate to pick-up on them, we usually chalk them up to a coincidence, or chance. But, if we can learn to look for AND listen to these signs, they can have a profound impact on the trajectory of our lives, or teach us an important lesson.
As mentioned in both my blog posts on spirituality, the biggest decisions I’ve made in my life have all been guided by these types of signs. Usually, the signs have consisted of one, simple, loud message accompanied by a strong, inexplicable compulsion to see it through. But, another type of sign from the universe can come in the form of a synchronicity, which is defined as “the simultaneous occurrence of events that appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection.” You may be able to recall experiencing this when you think of a person out of the blue, and then the following day they call you, or you dream of a symbol and then later that day the symbol appears in real-life.
Syncronicities are guiding messages that help to keep us on course, or let us know when perhaps we are veering down the wrong path. A series of synchronicities is more likely to occur when our minds, bodies, and hearts are all in sync with the universe, and allow us to focus on a specific track that we are meant to follow. However, we have to be aware of these signs and open to listening to them; if we are distracted or flat-out ignore them, then we may miss an important opportunity or end up in a place that does not serve our specific purpose.
I want to share a personal story of the profound impact that synchronicity has had on my life:
Ever since I embarked on a spiritual path, I always wanted to go somewhere in Southeast Asia because of the spirituality that permeates that side of the world. Three and a half years ago, in the midst of a meditation, a thought popped into my head that I needed to go to on some sort of spiritual retreat to Thailand or Bali, and there was a sense of immediacy around this matter. After letting this idea “soak in” for a little, I realized that the type of retreat I was supposed to go on was a Yoga teacher training and meditation retreat. While I loved Yoga and had recently gotten back into practicing it, I had no desire to pursue a career path as a Yoga teacher. Nevertheless, I had a strong gut feeling that I was supposed to be doing this type of retreat; perhaps there was an important lesson I would learn, or someone meaningful that I would meet. The exact reasons were unbeknownst to me at the time, but I knew on a deep level that I was meant to pursue this journey.
I felt a sense of urgency around this, and spent countless hours over a 4-day period researching various Yoga, spiritual, and meditation retreats in an attempt to find one that resonated with me. Although I felt like a Yoga teacher training program was what I was looking for, I wanted to stay open-minded and explore all options.
Due to the volume of retreats offered, I found this task to be extremely overwhelming; however, if I was going to do something like this it would have to be a perfect fit. On the fourth day of my research, I stumbled upon a retreat in Bali that seemed to fit the criteria of what I was looking for: a balance between an intense Yoga teacher training program that would result in certification, and some free time to explore what Bali had to offer and immerse myself in the culture. The timing of the program was also perfect: right at the end of July 2014, which marked my one year anniversary at Canyon Ranch. I knew there would be a period of down-time between my role at the time and the imminent promotion as I transitioned into the next phase of my career. It seemed as if it were went to be. The only concern I had, however, was with regard to the length of the program: it was three weeks long, and I had only anticipated embarking on a two week retreat.
This retreat was led by a Yoga studio called Frog Lotus, a name that had no significance to me at the time yet revealed itself to be quite relevant as my journey unfolded. I quickly began to notice a bunch of synchronicities giving me a sign that this was unequivocally the right program for me, and something I didn’t just want but HAD to do. Over the course of 36 hours following my discovery of this specific retreat, I encountered eight synchronicities with frogs. EIGHT. Maybe one or two could have been chalked up to coincidence, but eight? I think not!
Synchronicity #1: Out of all the places in the country/world, Frog Lotus Yoga studio was located in the Berkshires, which is where I lived for a few months when I first started my career with Canyon Ranch.
Synchronicity #2: The instructor who was leading this particular retreat has previously taught yoga at Canyon Ranch, which made me feel even more connected.
Synchronicity #3: The program ended on the 18th of August. 18 is my favorite number, because it is my birthdate and because it is representative of hai which means “life” in Hebrew.
Synchronicity #4: The night before I found this retreat, I put together a birthday collage of four pictures for my best friend of fifteen years.. Three of the pictures were recent pictures we had taken over the past year, and only one was a picture from when we were younger. Out of the HUNDREDS of photos I have of the two of us as kids, I chose a picture of the two of us on Halloween the year that I dressed-up in a full-on, homemade frog costume (growing up I was obsessed with frogs and had a pet African tree frog named Clyde. Quirky, I know).
Synchronicity #5: The day after I found this retreat and all of these odd synchronicities started to occur, I had lunch with one of my mentors, Gary Schwartz, who dedicated a large amount of his research career to studying synchronicities. The timing of our lunch meeting, which had been scheduled two weeks in advance, could not have been more fitting, because I was meant to ask him what he interpreted from on all the signs I was getting.
Synchronicity #6: The day after I found this retreat, I went to a Yoga workshop at the Yoga studio I always go to in Tucson, but it was a workshop led by an instructor that I never had before. One of the main poses of a sequence we did repetitively was a pose I was familiar with called “prayer pose” or in Sanskrit “malasana.” However; he did not refer to this pose by either of those names. He called it “squatting like a frog.” I have never heard any instructor call this pose by that name before. And at this point, I was shaking my head and laughing in disbelief.
Synchronicity #7: As if I hadn’t already received enough signs from the universe that I was meant to do this retreat, the final pose we did before the meditation period of the Yoga class was actually called “frog pose.” I had been doing Yoga for five and a half years at this point, and I had NEVER in my life seen, or heard of, frog pose—not in one single class. This blew me away, and I needed no further convincing.
The next morning at work, I met with my superiors and they gave me their support and blessings to take a one-month sabbatical to go on this Frog Lotus spiritual retreat in Bali prior to starting my new position.
Synchronicity #8: In sharing this story with my direct supervisor at the time, he reminded me of yet another synchronicity that had not even occurred to me. A few days before any of this happened, my co-worker, Julie, showed me a picture of a large, gold frog statue that she wanted to order for the lobby of our new Spiritual Wellness Center. I guess this was fortuitous of all the frog synchronicities that were yet to come.
Receiving all of these synchronicities was a loud and clear message that I was meant to go to Southeast Asia. The reason I thought I was going for (to get Yoga certified) ended up not being the reason I was supposed to be there at all, but that is a story for another day! I encourage you to be open to receiving signs, and you will find that amazing things happen when you let them unfold and set an intention to the universe. When you are open to and aware of synchronicities, you will receive guidance on your purpose, and on your path. If you feel like something, or even someone, keeps “randomly” popping-up, don’t just write it off as a mere coincidence, follow those signs and see where they may take you!
Love & Light,