Every time I think of you, I always catch my breath
And I’m still standing here, and you’re miles away
And I’m wonderin’ why you left
And there’s a storm that’s raging through my frozen heart tonight

I hear your name in certain circles, and it always makes me smile
I spend my time thinkin’ about you, and it’s almost driving me wild
And there’s a heart that’s breaking down this long distance line tonight

I ain’t missing you at all since you’ve been gone away
I ain’t missing you, no matter what I might say- John Waite- “Missing You”

All day, every day I try to convince myself that missing Shayna isn’t as bad as it really is.  I’ll catch myself thinking “She’d be in school right now.”  or “I wonder where she’d be if she were still here.”  After over two years, you might think I’d grow use to her not being around.   Most of the time I can convince myself that it’s not so bad. I can handle this. Step by step, day by day, I can make it; except for those times when the pain is searing white hot and no matter what I tell myself, I want her here, now.  The patience runs out.

I’m taking a course on grief and one of the modules is on the psi effect.  The psi effect is the ability for people to communicate telepathically, to predict the future (precognition), to know what is happening in a remote place, or to impact the outcome of a physical event.  The psi effect is one of the most studied effects in science and has been proven time and time again in various experiments.  The human mind exists outside of the physical brain because people can influence random number generators, tell which card has been dealt from a deck, communicate images from sender to receiver, see what is happening thousands of miles away, etc.  These experiments have been duplicated around the world by various research teams. The thing about the psi effect is even though it is very real, it is very weak. Statistically, it’s undeniable. But, it’s unreliable for most practical use. For example, with a random number generator, it would produce odd and even numbers at a 50:50 ratio.  When a subject tried to influence the machine to generate either odd or even numbers, they could push it to 51:49 which, to a lay person, seems like almost nothing.  However, statistically speaking the odds are in the billions or trillion to one.  Similarly when “guessing” which of four types of cards might be turned over. Random chance would be getting 25% right.  Subjects could get around 33% right.  That means they were wrong nearly 70% of the time. So, to the casual observer psi would be pretty worthless. However, the odds of getting this with random chance were in the millions to one.  Statistically significant is beating odds of 20 to 1.  100 to 1, in random tests is considered to be “proven”.  Our minds can and do pick up on things coming in from outside of our five senses and they can even influence those things- weakly.  That’s why I don’t buy into the we “create our own reality” stuff.  Yes, I can, with my mind, slightly push the odds into my favor. But, I can’t predict the lottery or manifest an Lamborghini in my driveway.

I was listening to a medium being interviewed and he was being asked about why we don’t get more signs and more powerful signs from our loved ones. He was specifically speaking about EVP or ITC (communicating through electronics).  He was saying that for spirit to do anything in this world is nearly impossible. It takes a special skill to be able to lower their vibration to the vibration of our world. Apparently, it’s also uncomfortable and maybe even mentally confusing (like us being in a  stupor and holding our breath as we try to communicate).

Putting together how weak (but statistically significant) the psi effect is for us in this world and reports from the “dead” about how difficult it is to manipulate things in this world, I’m getting a better picture of why most of us cannot see or feel our loved ones once they have crossed over. They typically cannot do big signs like a lot of us demand.

Mediums and psychics can tune into these subtle energies.  People like myself, very left brained people who need to have physical sensations, completely miss these energies. When someone tries to describe them, it’s almost like trying to describe the color orange to a person who was born blind.

I keep hearing we all have the ability to tune into these energies. But, I think most of us have forgotten.  And, the physical can easily overwhelm it.  It’s like trying to see the stars during the day.  We think the stars are “gone” when we look into the noon day sky. The stars are there, we just cannot see their subtle light because the light of the sun is flooding our eyes.  Our bodies are designed to pick up on the energies of this world, even though we only see far less than 1% of what is actually going on. Through meditation and other techniques, we have the hope of being able to switch our focus to pick up on these energies.  Mediums and psychics have figured out how to do this.  This is what I’ve been working on, but I suck at it.  Facilitated After Death Communications have been a bust for me.

Last night, as I was drifting off to sleep, a feeling came over me. I cannot describe it because it was not physical.  I just felt like Shayna was right there.  I didn’t see anything, hear anything, or feel anything in my body.  It was that “feeling” you get when someone walks into a room you’re in, but you’re not facing the person.  You just know someone is there.

As I laid there in bed, all at once I missed Shayna tremendously.  I could see her face, hear her voice, and I was taken back to the day that I last saw her physical presence.  I wasn’t able to shake it off like I normally do, telling myself I will see her soon. I felt her presence right there in the room with me and, on some level, it was comforting, on another level, it brought tremendous pain.  I felt trapped in my body, trapped in this world.  I just wanted to go be with her.  This lasted for two or three minutes, and it slowly faded away and everything was back to “normal”.

A couple of weeks ago someone in the Afterlife Topics group I help moderate made the observation that for her entire life she has felt as if “no one totally understands me”.  That prompted me to do an impromptu survey on the site. Granted, this is far from a random selection of people. These are people who self-selected to be in a group that studies a topic most people think is either crazy or just ignore. I asked the question “How often have you felt that no one totally understands you?” The results were  just as I expected. The overwhelming majority of people selected the two answers indicating they have either felt this way “all of my life” or “most of my life”.  We are an odd bunch of misfits.

I accepted a long time ago that I don’t fit into this world. I don’t recall how old I was. I know I was at least 8 years old because we were living in the house my parents still live in.  I remember lying in bed at night and realizing that, in this world, we are on our own.  My parents were there for me, for now. But, I realized they wouldn’t always be there for me.  One day I would grow up and have to “earn a living” like all adults.  Sink or swim.  I recall taking piano lessons in a lower income part of town. As we would drive through the neighborhoods with people hanging out on the streets and run down houses, my parents would drive home the lesson “Make sure you get good grades, so you can get scholarships, and never have to live like this.”  The lesson I took from this.  “You’re on your own to make it in this world.  Screw up and you’ll starve.”

In America, we thrive on the idea of rugged individualism. We think it’s what’s made us great. Competition is good to produce creativity.  Competition means winners and losers. Capitalism forces the survival of the fittest. We ignore the flip side of that. There are winners and losers. If you’re a loser, too bad.  This idea never seemed right to me.  Why don’t people share and share alike? There’s more than enough to go around.  I didn’t realize at the time the thoughts I had were called “socialism” and socialism is evil.

Finally, I accepted this notion that I am a separate being, wholly on my own, and I and I alone am responsible for me.  Others might help here and there along the way, but no one will care for me like I care for me.  It made me lonely, it made me fearful.  But, that’s the way of the world. Suck it up.

Church would tell me to be generous.  The more you give away, the more you get back. But, then I’d see churches allowing church members to suffer. My heart told me to be generous, but my brain said “What about tomorrow?  Who is going to take care of me?”.  To this day, I have a deep seated fear of being homeless, on the streets on my own.  When I say deep seated, I don’t mean an unconscious thing buried deep in my psyche. It’s something that still keeps me awake at night.  it drives me to work hard on my business. There are only two people in this world other than myself that I can really count on- Tywana and Kayla.  And, it’s my responsibility to provide for them, not the other way around.

A couple of years ago I heard of this thing called the Universal Basic Income (UBI). Ironically, it’s an idea put forth mainly by Libertarians.  The idea is that everyone is given a modest income to live on.  It would not destroy capitalism by removing incentive to work because we would retain the option of working to  have more. It would provide basic sustenance. It would essentially ensure that you could afford food, shelter, and healthcare.  This is the idea I had as a child.  I was surprised someone else thought of it, too.  “Yeah. Let’s do this!” I thought. Then, the objections came.  “Why should I pay for someone who doesn’t want to work?”  “No one will work.”  I asked people “Would you continue to work?”  “Well, yeah. I would, but that guy over there wouldn’t.”  The idea is being tried in parts of Europe which is already way ahead of us on the idea that what helps my fellow man helps me.  It’s got a big uphill climb in the United States.

Now, in my mid-50s I’m being introduced to this teaching that we are “all one”.  It’s a lesson driven home over and over again in Near Death Experiences.  I’m told I have a team of guides, angels, and departed loved ones who are actively engaged in my life.  People are telling me I am never alone.  Wow.  This is news to me. It’s a difficult teaching to accept.

Anything that happens to anyone, in a sense, happens to me. We’re all in this together.  I came in knowing this. I know I knew it at one time. But, I was told “No” so many times, I gave up on the knowledge.

Last night I was watching Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday.  Charles Einsenstein was the guest.  He’s written a book called “The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible”  The gist of the book seems to be to get people to realize that we are all aspects of the same Being.  We are Consciousness experiencing itself through various forms.  He dropped some deep wisdom like “If you are judging another person for their behavior, you’re assuming you wouldn’t do the same thing in the exact same situation, which means you have not understood their situation.”  He gave a vision for a world where we drop the winners and losers labels and realize when one wins, we all win. He’s talking about a seismic cultural shift, which he actually believes is possible.  In the book, he talks about our current cultural narrative and what a new cultural narrative might look like.  He’s a geeky, introspective, nerdy, dreamer- reminds me of myself in my younger days.

Here is what gives me hope. When I was younger, I thought I was a freak for dreaming of this world that doesn’t exist.  I wondered why I longed for something in a way of almost “missing it” when no one else seemed to have a problem with the dog eat dog world I found myself in. What I am finding is people like me coming out of the closet to say “Hey, wait a minute.  I have that dream, too.”  If enough of us come together, maybe we can make it happen.  It’s not only the more beautiful world we know is possible.  It’s the more beautiful world we know we’re supposed to have.

Again, I got into one of those conversations about how we can manifest what we want in life.  We were trying to come up with an analogy for Earth. Some say it’s a school.  In this particular conversation, we were going back and forth between boot camp and a playground.  Someone said it’s basically a playground where we can manifest what we want. I have to admit this notion of magical thinking intrigues and frustrates me at the same time. I want to believe that if I can get my thoughts in order, my life will be A-OK.  However, I don’t think that’s the case.  Here is my last response to the conversation.

KAren, I agree with just about everything you said. I believe all is in divine order. I believe our relationships are eternal. I believe what happens in life happens for us, not to us. And yeah, the death of a loved one can be a wake up call, big time. 

But I see the “name it and claim it” mentality from the prosperity gospel in a lot of what I’m going to call New Age teachings. If we just believe, we can manifest whatever we want in our lives. If we think a certain way, we will have health and wealth and the world is our playground. Things will go our way and it’ll be smooth sailing. If there is a bump in the road, it is because we manifested it by our thoughts. 

I don’t think that’s the way it works. I don’t think that’s the way it’s supposed to work. We come here to experience certain things. If this world were just a playground, there would be no reason to have left Home. I think the bumps in the road may be coming from our higher selves, because, at that level, we know that is what is good for us. 

From our human perspective, if it were all sunshine and roses, it’d be like eating your meat before you get dessert. Our higher self, the parent, says “If you don’t eat your meat, you can’t have any pudding. How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat?” 

After my daughter passed, my other daughter had a dream where they were in an ice cream shop. My daughter who is on the other side asked if Kayla wanted more. Kayla passed. Shayna said, “Here you can have all the ice cream you want.” There you can have all the ice cream you want.  You can have your meat before your pudding.  You can have just pudding. Here you cannot. This is the place we work.

I am working on elevating my thoughts and my perspective and trying to make the best of this place that I can. But, I really think it’s more of a boot camp than a playground.

Like so many things in life, the phrase “Will The Circle Be Unbroken?” has taken on a whole different level of meaning for me in the last two years.  I had no idea what that song was about for decades.  The phrase comes from an old Christian hymn.  The circle is considered broken when the first family member dies. The song asks “Will everyone be reunited once we have all made our transition?”

This weekend I spent a couple of days with my wife’s side of the family.  A phrase that is new to me is “The blood of covenant is thicker than the water of the womb.” The interesting thing about this phrase is the phrase “Blood is thicker than water” seems to have been derived from it.  But, the derivative and common phrase conveys the exact opposite meaning of the original.  The bonds we choose in life, the ones we commit to are greater than the ones formed simply by sharing a womb with someone.  Family can be anyone,whether they are related by blood or not.

I have been blessed with having married into a wonderful family with whom I share a covenant. I bonded with Tywana’s parents as if they were my own.  I have great relationships with all of her brothers and with her sister.  My nephews feel like my own sons.  My wife’s sister’s husband is one of the most genuine people I’ve ever met. This weekend we head off to Garard’s Fort, PA for an impromptu mini- family reunion.  I had only one blood relative among th bunch (Kayla).  Garard’s Fort is precisely in the middle of nowhere.  it’s 7 miles from Morgantown, WV and 7 miles from Washington, PA. My sister-in-law lives on 7 acres of land surrounded by a huge game reserve with an outdoor shooting range within earshot.  As we pulled off of the highway and rounded the roads to her homestead, for the first time in my life I saw a bear. A small black bear lumbered across the road about 50′ in front of our car when we were less than 2 miles from her house.  OK.  We are officially in the country.  Not where this city boy grew up, at all.

Most of the family arrived by Friday evening.  I had to keep reminding myself we weren’t in Springfield (KY) where Tywana grew up. The house, the land, the people, it was like going back about 20 years into my past when we would get together at Tywana’s parents.

Kayla’s boyfriend came along with us.  It was his first trip to “the country”  The cousins (four boys all within 2 years of Kayla’s age) put him through the rites of passage and deemed him worthy of Kayla.  Good thing.  He was stuck with us for two days no matter what.

We had a great time Friday night after arriving.  So much so that Rod (my sister-in-law’s husband) declared that this was so great that he wished it could last forever.  This was a lovely sentiment, but  my thought was “Not quite, Rod.” This is great. And, if Shayna were here, I’d wish it could last forever, too. But, Shayna’s not here. Let’s keep moving forward.  I held my tongue.

Friday night, after a shot of bourbon or four, we were sitting at the kitchen table. Shell, my sister-in-law was talking about the sherry glass her grandmother drank a shot of bourbon out of every night for what we figured was about 60 years. So, this glass is at least 70 years old, a family heirloom.  She pulled it out and a couple of people drank from it.  Right on cue, about ten minutes after Shell tells the story of the glass, it’s knocked off of the table.  Every heart in the room stopped.  I saw the glass falling, but I wasn’t in a position where i could get to it.  Everything slowed down to slow motion. The table blocked my view as it fell to the floor, so I listened for the crash. I heard the glass hit the linoleum and bounce. Great. It’s gonna be all right.  Then, I heard the second hit and that sound of glass shattering into a myriad of pieces. The glass was gone.

Thankfully, Shell took it very well. It wasn’t her grandmother. It was just a glass. My mind turned immediately went to “What’s the lesson here?”  Nothing (physical) lasts forever. Mommy Emma’s body is gone and the glass she drank from endured for a period of time after her. It was nice to have it. But, even the glass went the way of all material things.  Don’t cling to her body. Don’t cling to the glass.

It was a wonderful time, but I needed some time alone. So, I found my way into the living room and sat in the dark for a while.  Nothing is the same without Shayna present. I hadn’t gone with Tywana and the girls a few years ago when they spent time at Shell’s but I saw pictures and heard the stories. Shayna had such a great time with her cousins rough housing in the pool and playing gorilla volleyball.  I knew Shayna wasn’t missing out of the fun.  In fact, I know she was right there. But, I was missing her and I know everyone else was also.

The next day started early. I got to spend some quality time with my nephews starting with a ride to Walmart in the Jeep with no doors. One of the “features” of my nephew’s cherished Jeep is you can take the doors off. Why would you do this? Because you can, of course.  Nick and I had a great talk on the drive to the Walmart in the middle of nowhere.

We prepped food all day getting ready for the evening’s festivities.  The boys set up the karaoke machine and tested it to make sure it was in working order.  Kayla and Gabe joined them for basketball in the pool.  We ate, played some corn hole (loser’s tournament where the losers advanced and the final team left had to sing karaoke first.  Tywana and I put our competition away and sat to watch the rest.  I managed to avoid karaoke for the majority of the night. But, after a while, I guess I had had enough beer and bourbon to let my sister-in-law talk me into singing with her. It was James Taylor’s Fire & Rain.  By this time, no one was watching the karaoke performers, so it was safe.  But, the chorus was not :

Oh, I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain.
I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end.
I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend,
But I always thought that I’d see you baby, one more time again, now.

My mind immediately went to Shayna and how that night I just knew I’d see her one more time again.  The tears welled up. I made it through the song and stumbled to find a chair to plop down in and let flow what had been welling up since getting here the day before.

Sunday, we packed up and got on the road.  As we wound our way out of nearly West Virginia (just 7 miles from the border) and nearly heaven (time with family), I was full of gratitude for the experience.    That is what I envision heaven to be.  No worries. Just relationship with people you love and people who love you.  Doing for others as we shared the labor, pooled our money to provide the food and beverages, and we all just crashed wherever we could find a spot.  The circle was broken, but I so look forward to the day when the circle is unbroken.

Last night I had a dream that featured a mailbox. I don’t ever recall dreaming about a mailbox.  My mailbox had been knocked down, I put it in the back of my truck, took it out of my truck, put it back in my truck.

Then, today, not five minutes after another synchronicity occurred, I looked up as I was on my walk and saw this. Note the mail scattered on the ground by the mailbox sitting several feet away from its post.

Sunday at IANDS, there were some incredible stories shared, as always.  One woman spoke of a Voice that gives her life guidance all the time. The Voice has saved her from some pretty disastrous stuff. She knows it’s the Voice and not her because it usually tells her stuff she doesn’t want to do. Another woman shares a story of being pulled from underwater in an incident where she would have drowned. She felt something pulling on her lifejacket. Another woman tells the story of her guardian angel placing his foot on her foot on the accelerator speeding her through an intersection where a semi came barreling through just moments later, saving her life.

I’m sitting here thinking about how my entire life I’ve asked for divine intervention. I used to lie in bed at night asking God to reveal himself to me.  I hear about people with these voices and even seeing their guiding angels and I wonder why them and not me.  I believe it happens. But, I raise the question.  “Why do some of us (you) get these audible voices and even see or feel a guiding presence and for others of us, nothing?” Then, the advice comes  from the others in the room..  Just pray. Sit quietly.  Ask.  Listen for that still small voice.  OK.  Guys. I have prayed my heart out.  I meditate daily. I’m paying attention to my intuition.  Then a couple of people who have gotten these voices and very direct guidance say they didn’t have any other guidance in their life.  So, maybe they were getting what they needed. I think maybe they don’t listen to their inner guidance, so they need a bigger Voice.  But, in any event, it’s a mystery and I’m willing to accept that. Then, someone says “Your angels can only help you if you ask. They can’t interfere with your free will.”.  Whoa. Wait a minute. This sounds like bullshit to me.  Why, if their function is to help me, to guide me, to make sure I’m on my best path, do I have to ask for their help?  As Charlie Peacock said “You don’t ask a drowning man if he wants to be saved.” C’mon angels. Do your job!  But, this keeps coming up. I’m told it’s better to ask aloud.  OK.  I’ll do it. So, as I’m taking the dogs out for the last time I look to the sky and say “All right guys. Guardian angels, divine beings, whatever or whoever else, I’m asking you right now for your help. And, I’m giving you permission to help me in whatever way possible.” Blanket authority. Anyone, anything, anytime.  Have at it.  Now, let’s see what you’ll do.

Last night I have a dream. The details aren’t relevant, but the dream is long and complex and I remember most of it.  A mailbox is featured in the dream.  In the dream, my mailbox has been knocked over and I pick it up and put it in the back of my truck (Yeah.  Me driving a pickup truck).  I go do what I need to do, taking the mailbox out of the truck as I do my thing and putting it back in my truck when I head back home.

So, today I’m taking my walk and listening to a podcast.  The host tells how her father who passed 15 years gives her signs. At first it was little things like cardinals, butterflies, etc. But, as time has gone on, he’s gotten creative. She says that what he’ll do now is send people to her in random places and they’ll say “Oh, you’re Jen Weigel.  I knew your father Tim.” OK.  I can accept this as a sign. I’m not sure I would have considered it a sign before.

As I’m walking the route I walk every morning, I spot a woman coming down her driveway.  It’s 8 o’clock in the morning. She’s wearing a dress and heels so I know she’s not going for a walk. She has passed the cars in the driveway. So, she’s not headed to her car.  I’m thinking she must be going to the mailbox.  But, she seems to be walking toward me, not towards her mailbox.  I pull off my headphones when it’s obvious she’s going to speak.  She says “I don’t think we’ve met face-to-face.”  Uh… no lady..  I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen you. “I’m Nicole… We’re friends on Facebook.”  Now, she is looking vaguely familiar.  OK…?  She continues “My daughter went to school with your daughter, Shayna.  I wanted to introduce myself.”  We went on to have a little conversation. And, I’m back on my way.

Then it hits me.  Here is the weird thing. I walk past their house pretty much every day. I actually see her husband a lot.  During the school year I see him walking his little girl to school several times a week.  I usually wave at him.  I don’t recall ever seeing her other than on Facebook.  I recognize her name, but I had no idea where she lives. And, she chooses today, the day I hear about this sign of Jen Weigel’s father sending people to introduce themselves to her, to come to the end of the driveway to introduce herself and mention Shayna. I would not have taken this as a sign had I not heard that particular podcast (recorded about 8 months ago) today.

I continue my walk thinking about the odds of this occurring. I look down the road. There is a mailbox that has been knocked down and is laying in the driveway of the person’s home.  That’s when my mailbox dream comes back to me. I don’t recall ever dreaming about a mailbox before.  The mailbox was knocked over last night. I know because mail is scattered across the driveway.  I tuck this little coincidence away.

As I’m continuing to listen to the podcast, the interviewee mentions and incident with her daughter. Then, she references her daughter’s name.  Her daughter’s name is Emma.  Emma is Tywana’s grandmother’s name. And… Shayna said she wished we had named her Emma which always broke my heart. We spent a lot of effort coming up with the girls’ names and Shayna wanted to be called Emma.  Strange that on this day when I’ve already had two synchonicities, the name Emma would come up.

The podcast finishes.  Lately my pattern has been to listen to one podcast, walk for a few minutes in silence, then turn on music as I head home.  But, today I decide to start a second podcast.  I’m not sure why I did this.  The interviewee is talking about how she is an intuitive and it started with her seeing her brother who was a twin who died in utero.  My mind immediately goes to Tywana’s brothers. We call them twins, they are actually triplets. The third was still born.  And then she says her brother’s name- William.  The third baby, the one who was still born, his name is William (Jeffrey).

I turn off the podcast and walk in silence for a few minutes just thinking about the things that have happened in the last hour and hoping that as I continue to recognize the patterns and the signs and acknowledge them, they’ll step in more.

p.s.- I just got an interpretation of the dream.

Here is how I interpret that dream:
Mailboxes are a hub for a traditional form of communication… mail (obviously)
The way communication happens with Shayna and others who have passed on is NOT the traditional way we think of communication.  We have to be open to, aware of and accepting of signs of communication, from them and with them, in various forms. And we have to “knock down” that the traditional way we think of communicating (like a mailbox) is the ONLY way.

In Buddhism, bodhisattva is the Sanskrit term for anyone who, motivated by great compassion, has generated bodhicitta, which is a spontaneous wish and a compassionate mind to attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings.

On Friday, a friend reaches out to me. I know her from the IANDS group. There is a woman who has had three NDEs and is now an intuitive and she wants to speak to me.  She gives me messages of comfort from Shayna. She tells me about her trips to heaven, her encounters with Jesus and Mary, and even with God himself.  This lady is straight up Catholic, but she still sees and talks to “dead people”.

During our conversation, she asks me if I have a  green Buddha statue. I have several Buddhas in various places around the house including two on my meditation altar. One is the weeping Buddha.  The other is actually Jizo, a Japanese Boddhisatva which I mistook for a Buddha statue but bought because it was just so cool. Jizo is the Boddhisatva who protects children who die before their parents and travelers.  So, it was pretty cool that I found him having no idea of his legend until I brought him home. My Jizo is multi-colored so this might be the “green Buddha” she is asking about. I snap a picture and send it to her through Facebook Messenger which adds it to my “Day” on Facebook.  A couple of people ask me about it including my cousin who reminds me her thoughts on this are “Jesus Christ only”, but accepts that we have differing viewpoints.

Yeah.  We do have different viewpoints. Jesus is a boddhisatva for sure.  But, Jesus is not the only boddhisatva.  MLK was a boddhisatva. Gandhi was a boddhisatva. I don’t take either the Jizo statue or the weeping Buddha on my altar literally.  I indeed don’t pray to them. But, they are reminders to me of the human spirit of compassion- which means to feel with those in pain and of living for the benefit of all sentient beings.  Jesus is a great example, but there are many others, and any of us can strive to be a boddhisatva.

Netflix has a series called “13 Reasons Why” which is about a high school girl who commits suicide and leave a series of cassette tapes for the people in her life who contributed to her suicide. Each tape covers another person or event that led to her decision. The series has been controversial with many people praising its frank look at a difficult subject, but many more thinking it exploits a growing epidemic of suicides by teenage girls.  I’ve heard there have been copycat suicides with girls leaving cassette tapes after taking their own lives.

I found the series to be extremely compelling.And the lessons are not just for teenaged girls.  To me, it did a fantastic job of exploring the notion of interdependence.  In the West, we tend to value independence. We think of ourselves as islands. We are all responsible for our own actions and our own actions only. We don’t owe anything to anyone and we don’t expect anything from anyone. We would tend to look at someone committing suicide and saying “That was her choice.”  The opposite extreme is dependence or co-dependence where we don’t take responsibility for our own actions.  Buddhism, which I think is the middle path and the right one, talks about interdependence. There is no true separate self. We are all the results of causes and effects that go back to before our birth. We do not choose our genetics. We do not choose our parents (on a human level). We are influenced by our surroundings and the actions of others that help shape us.

As we explore Hannah’s life in the series, we see how the actions of others impact Hannah’s life. Even things they found to be insignificant are monumental in the life of a girl who is struggling on all fronts. In her frail state brought on by the accumulation of a series of injuries, it didn’t take much to keep pushing her down the path.  it’s not one action that causes Hannah’s suicide.  There isn’t one thing that we can point to and say “Had this happened differently, she would still be here.”  But, each action, including Hannah’s own, put her one more step down that path that she did not choose independently. Ultimately, the conclusion I drew is that it wasn’t one person who killed Hannah, not even Hannah herself. It was a community event.  And Hannah’s death didn’t impact just Hannah or her family.  It impacted everyone who had a hand in it, and beyond.

My friend Deb tells me I’m a type 9 on the Enneagram. Type 9s have trouble drawing boundaries where we end and others begin. I still remember being a kid and realizing that, in this world, I am a separate being.  I hated it.  I felt lonely and isolated. All of my life, I have had the feeling that I wanted to “merge” with other people.  Here at the age of 56, I’m finally running across this concept that we are all One. I’m reading the third Conversations with God book now and God is explaining to Neale Donald Walsch the concept of Divine Dichotomy. Divine Dichotomy is the idea that two seemingly mutually exclusive things can both be true.  This makes perfect sense to me. Free will and predetermination seem to be mutually exclusive.  Yet, I fully believe in both divine providence and the fact that we make very real choices.  In the book, God is explaining the concept of Divine Dichotomy as it relates to us all being One and there truly being only one soul, yet we manifest as separate souls and God experiences Godself through each of us, as we think of ourselves as separate from each other. When we take an action, it doesn’t impact just the “other” person, but in a very real sense, it comes right back to us because one a deeper level, we are all One.

Some say we are on the verge of faith and science merging and a deeper realization of who and what we truly are.  If this happens, it will change everything. When a critical mass of people accepts that everyone is not only my neighbor, but is me, how can we go to war?  How can we ignore poverty?  How can we let people live without health insurance? Will this happen in our lifetimes?  It could.

The last couple of years I’ve heard and read so much about “synchronicities” that I look for them everywhere. And, like anything, the more you look, the more you find. Some say that the more you acknowledge the synchronicities, the more the universe will give you so that it’s not just a matter of perception, you actually get more.

Gary Schwartz is so fascinated by the phenomenon of synchronicity that he has written a book about it. I’m starting to view synchronicity as a glitch in the Matrix. The glitches in the Matrix were unintended.  So, not a glitch really. Maybe an easter egg (an unexpected or undocumented feature in a piece of computer software or on a DVD, included as a joke or a bonus).  As we go along in the game, every once in a while the Creator throws us an easter egg.  For those of paying attention, they can be little reminders this is all just a simulation.

A couple of days ago I’m out taking my morning walk and at the moment I’m passing my neighbor’s house, her daughter comes out to her car in the driveway to retrieve something.  I’ve known this little girl since she was just a couple of months old and she has just turned 21.  At the exact moment I spot her, I turn and on the sidewalk in front of me is a squirrel.  I take note.  Squirrel is the nickname her mother calls her.  Hmmm….  that’s interesting. The engineering brain in me starts working. I wonder what the odds are of passing her house just as she’s coming out.  Then multiple that by the odds a squirrel will be there at the same moment. We have a few squirrels in the neighborhood, but not a lot.  Seeing squirrel is no big deal. Seeing Regan is no big deal. But, seeing Regan and the squirrel at the same time.  What are the odds?   I’m listening to a playlist I put together for a friend’s wedding. I don’t remember what songs are on it exactly.  I just created it last week and I haven’t played it through yet.  The song that comes on while I’m in this moment is one I don’t really care for. I skip it. The next song isn’t one I care for.  I skip it.  The next song is Brick House by The Commodores.  Wow.  Brick House is this girl’s mother’s favorite song. Many years ago when we used to hang out with her, every where we went she would freak out if Brick House came on. If we went to hear a cover band, she requested Brick House.  It’s crazy that I would forward to Brick House in that moment when I was noticing the other synchronicity.  Add those odds into the equation.

Several days ago I’m listening to a podcast and I discover a new podcaster. I subscribe to her podcast and go through the back episodes saving the ones I want to listen to.  Independently, before that, I decide to read Neale Donald Walsch’s Conversations with God Book 3.  The book is almost 20 years old at this point, but I just decided to read it.  These are two totally unrelated things.  The third unrelated thing is a couple of days ago I was discussing a fundamentalist pastor with a friend who has been in correspondence with the guy. The pastor is of the opinion that man cannot destroy the Earth because, wait for it, the Bible says so.  The pastor also believes that God will destroy the Earth, by fire.  As my friend is posting the pastor’s views, I tell him there was a  time when I thought it my duty (as a fundamentalist) to go out and convert the world to my views.  Now, I will not make the mistake of thinking it’s my job to convert the fundamentalists to my view. I say to him “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”

Here is where these three seemingly independent things comes together.  Yesterday, as I’m choosing a podcast, I see that the podcaster has interviewed Neale Donald Walsch about a year and a half ago.  That’s coincidence number one.  I’m reading his book.  I listen to the interview. Later, as I’m reading the book I come across the quote (spoken from God to the author) “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” This is about two days after I say this to my friend on Facebook.  So, I decide to read a book that is nearly 20 years old, out of the blue.  I discover this podcast and this interview, out of the blue. And, I use a quote (not exactly an uncommon one I know) and then read the quote in the book a couple of days after I use it.

Some synchronicities, I think, are meant to guide us. They provide direction.  If we look for them and heed them, they can make the road a little less bumpy.  Some are signs from our loved ones that they are still here with us. And some, I believe, are easter eggs.  They’re bonus features that we can take note of and say “Hey, I see you (Spirit).  Thanks for the reminder.”