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  • Writer's pictureDerek Carlson

Identity, Synchronicity, and Objective Feedback

Today I was talking to a professional musician. We were talking about how, as musicians, we reach a certain level of ability where we sound really good to ourselves as we play alone or with others. But then there's the first time where we actually record ourselves and listen back to the recording and realize with abject shock: it sounds horrible!

How can we think we sound so good to ourselves when objectively we have so far to go before we are masterful?

As we finished the conversation, I got up from my desk to go to the bathroom. As I walked away from my desk, I felt a tug at my waist and then heard a crash. I looked back and my water bottle was toppled on my desk - water was everywhere. And my bottle of Agave sweetener had fallen too, as well as a glass jar of walnut milk. Everything was knocked over; a perfect strike if I had been bowling.

It took me a moment to realize what had happened. My work ID badge is on a retractable cord, and the badge had gotten entangled with the cord to my headphones. So when I got up and walked away from my desk, the ID badge extended until taught, then, via the cord, dragged the headphones off the table, where they crashed to the floor, then dragged the headphone cord across the desk, effectively clotheslining all the items on the desk, which resulted in the mess in the picture above.

This all happened in two unaware paces and about 500 milliseconds. I wasn't paying attention to any of this because I was in my head thinking of all the amazing implications of the conversation I had just had.

As is my trained habit now, as soon as anything anomalous happens in my life, I immediately ask, "What is the metaphor? What am I supposed to learn from this? There are no coincidences. This is a communication. This is the effect of an invisible cause in the mind - what is that cause?"

This was the explanation that came to me.

We all walk around in life with our egos doing what they do, and we don't notice the damage they are causing. The way we are "sounds good to us."

But I am now doing a lot of spiritual work, which is revealing how out of tune with love I have been living.

Okay, that was a bit generous. I've been a hot mess. A hot mess.

Being unconscious of how unloving I have been being, things have been toppling in my wake. But now I am aware. Now I have very clear and obvious feedback. And having my ID Badge - my identification badge (as in identification with the ego) so clearly drag behind me and topple things in a most obvious way... this is a really good sign!

This is why it's good: it's showing me that I am now getting obvious feedback, and I'm no longer as unaware. And the fact that only water spilled all over the place, that I am taking as a sign that things may continue to become big messes, but no harm is done. Nothing stains. It's just water. (It's just emotions... water being a common metaphor for emotions.) I mean, a bottle of agave sweetener topped as well as a jar of walnut milk, but both of their lids stayed on and nothing spilled. Only water.

Now here's another crazy thing. After this happened, I got busy at work for about two hours. And when I lifted my head up from the screen, all the water had evaporated! All of it, gone! And it was about 2 cups worth, laying on the desk about 1mm thick. That's miraculous, perhaps even physically impossible. I mean, I wash our kale each Sunday at home and let it air dry for about 8 hours before I put it away, and even in 8 hours, the leaves are still somewhat wet. There's no way that much water would disappear in two hours, and it's only 68 degrees in my office. ::cue Twilight Zone music::

So I'm taking that as a sign and a metaphor too. The water will spill, big emotions will come out all over the place, but they will be miraculously cleared far more gracefully and quickly than you can possibly imagine. Trust in miraculous support as you boldly walk this healing path with more transparency.

What are the odds of my ID Badge causing this event from which I have derived so much meaning? An event replete with ridiculously apt metaphors? Is this just a coincidence, where I am creating convenient meaning out of thin air, or am I picking up truly on synchronistic underlying meaning?

Post script: About two weeks later, I was cleaning the metal Varidesk apparatus I have on my desk that raises my computer to standing level. As I was pressing down on the horizontal bars at the base, a bunch of water came squeezing out.

Hmmm, I thought to myself. Another reminder that even when we think we're cleared out all the junk, there may still be more hidden in nooks and crannies. But it's still just water.

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