Last week, I taught a class to a group of seventh and eighth graders using the metaphor of a tree to talk about life and all the different elements important we must have in order to grow.
For example, how a tree’s roots represent our foundation and what we need to help us stay grounded, and its fruit—our dreams and the gifts we came here to share.
After class, I made the drive across town to attend a workshop I had signed up for a few weeks ago called, “How to Heal Your Heart.” When I arrived and sat in my chair, I immediately noticed I was the only guy in a room with 20 women. And I’m gay. My first thought was, “If I slip out now, no one will notice.” But I told myself, “No, you’re here, so just stay. You haven’t been in a relationship in more than a decade. This will be good for you.”
I’m glad I stayed because what happened didn’t just open my heart—it blew my mind.
During the workshop, the instructor led us in a meditation. She began, “Imagine your feet are roots.” My heart started pounding. “Roots like a tree?” I thought. She continued, “Go ahead and imagine your feet are roots from a tree, connecting into the ground and your bodies have leaves that contain fruit, which represent your gifts that you came here to share.” I literally stopped breathing for a second. I couldn’t believe after having taught an entire class earlier that day using the metaphor of a tree, I was being guided in a group meditation, only a few hours later, to imagine myself as a tree.
The more we tap-in and connect to our lives, the more we will see there really aren’t any coincidences and even something seemingly minor serves a purpose. When we experience a synchronistic event, it’s to help us connect more fully to our lives.
While this may sound beautiful and inspiring, what does it mean if we don’t notice or experience synchronicities? Are they always available or do they only happen when our “vibe is high?” What about when life is difficult? Are synchronicities still relevant during hardships and challenges?
A good friend of mine lost his wife to cancer five years ago and recently found out his new girlfriend was also diagnosed with cancer. While her cancer diagnosis wasn’t terminal, and it’s a disease that unfortunately isn’t rare, my friend couldn’t help but question its coincidence and feel the familiarity.
During one of their first radiation treatments, while sitting in the waiting room in an entirely new clinic, he looked up to see the exact nurse who had treated his wife for six months before she passed away standing in the hallway. He couldn’t believe it. He told me, “I felt like I saw an angel.”
After they visited, he thought about how it couldn’t have been a mere coincidence and that seeing her gave him a deeper sense of connection to his life—past, present, and future.
Noticing synchronicities requires awareness, presence, and a willingness to read our lives. And if we’re really willing to receive their gift, they can speak specifically to what our life is trying to show us right now.
After we finished the tree meditation in the workshop I attended last week, the instructor proceeded to talk about opening our hearts and asked the class if any of us had heard of Elijah the Prophet. It’s Los Angeles, so there was at least one person who raised their hand. She told us he was an ancient sage who represents the heart, and his resting place is in a cave in Israel, a country I visited for the first time earlier this year. She said, “People from all over the world visit Elijah the Prophet’s cave who have a desire to open their hearts.”
When I heard the word “cave,” I thought about the cave I accidentally discovered while getting lost hiking in the hillside town of Haifa one day during my trip. I even wrote an article recently published on Elephant Journal about how the trip helped open my heart and inspire a newfound desire for a relationship.
After the workshop ended, I thanked the instructor for her choice of meditation and started to think about coincidence and synchronicity. As I walked outside, I had the thought to Google, “Where is Elijah the Prophet’s cave?” When I saw the cave was located in Haifa, my mouth dropped. “This couldn’t be the same cave I accidentally discovered while getting lost hiking?” I wondered.
Once I got to my car, I sat inside and started to scroll through my phone for pictures of my trip from Israel. I got to the day I spent wandering around the city of Haifa, and there it was—the accidental cave I found (and the same image from my Google search): Elijah the Prophet’s cave. I couldn’t believe it. I screamed out loud and immediately called a friend to tell them the story.
Here I was, eight months after a trip I credit with having helped open my heart, sitting in a workshop called, “How to Heal Your Heart,” learning about a place I had unknowingly already visited. Not only had I visited, but I was being told the very reason people visit is to open their hearts.
One of my favorite definitions I’ve heard used to describe synchronicity is, “A wink from the cosmos.” Like our lives look at us, wink, and say, “We got this. No matter what, you’re going to be okay.”
Whether it’s hearing a song on the radio while driving and then once again at the store shopping later that day, noticing the same person doing their laundry two weeks in a row at the local laundromat, or seeing the same few people working out at the gym every time you go, synchronicities happen all the time under all circumstances.
Synchronicities are like a road map for our lives. We can either look at seemingly unrelated occurrences and consider them a coincidence or we can see them as specifically positioned guideposts to remind us our path has purpose and each juncture, meaning.
It may not seem like our paths always lead us the right way, especially with a cancer diagnosis or when we’ve closed our hearts after a difficult breakup. But in time and space as it exists, we can’t truly know what everything is for. Part of opening up more fully to our lives, and seeing the synchronicities all around us, is developing a relationship with trust.
The next time you find yourself thinking, “Wow, this is a crazy coincidence.” Remember, it isn’t. It’s a wink from the cosmos telling you, “We got this. No matter what, you’re going to be okay.”
Even if it takes months or years later to realize, our paths, and our lives, have always led us exactly to where we were supposed to be.