My friend Carolyn is an amazing wisdom teacher, friend, improvisor and believer in synchronous worlds. Read this amazing story:
What might water, synchronicity and improvised singing have in common? Quite a bit, it turns out!
In Memoriam, Alick Bartholomew
Finally, real rain! It pelts against the roof and gushes down the drainpipes, turning our dry turf to mud and flowing like a river down the street. Children, all booted up, splash in the puddles and my mood has shifted from grief to relief. Our drought is over – for now, at least.
I can feel myself relax in stages, starting with my tears of the past few weeks, and then the unclogging of the kitchen sink and then the coming of the rain. The more I relax, the more synchronicities happen, and most of these days they have to do with water!
Apparently, something is pointing me in water’s direction right now, a fascination I have been dipping into (pardon the pun) periodically all my life. It’s time again.
I dream of fountains that won’t turn off; I discover a faucet leaking downstairs; I get invited into a study group researching water; I learn of the death of my favorite water researcher.
That synchronicity started several years ago as I walked home from the library, where I’d searched unsuccessfully for a new book about water by the Scottish writer Alick Bartholomew. I stopped to chat with my next-door neighbor and at the mention of his name she said, “He’s my father.”
A joke, of course!
But no, he was her father – even though he lived on the other side of the world in the Cotswold Hills of England! How likely was it that I lived next door to his daughter, without even knowing it, in Berkeley California? Not very, but there you are. So I wrote him with a request, and news of his little granddaughter and a week later received a copy of the coveted book in the mail!
I wish I had gotten to meet him before his death last week.
Water and synchronicities: both flow from an unknown, immaterial source, both shift and change like will o’ wisps and neither are under our control. They both seem to slip out mysteriously from the invisible to the visible and back again, connecting up our tangible world, where we carry on our daily lives, to the unseen, ungraspable realms of dreams and visions. Now you see it, now you don’t.
This elusive slipstream of ‘there but not quite there’ is where my imagination loves to reside, and I spend many of my working hours exploring ways into that transitional territory. There, where definitions are fluid, I have to feel into my heart and intuition for clues because my brain simply cannot come up with the right language.
That is probably why I dance and sing to do my work.
Improvising with singing helps get me there. A small group of us – no more than 3 or 4 – do a dance warm-up together before tuning in to the subtle sounds of the inner voice and then we let the song come of its own. There is a groove we simply follow until the music coming through us is effortless, and we are being sung, rather than ‘singing.’ It feels like some deep source of pleasing vibration is using us, and we are its instruments.
I have no idea where this music comes from, nor where it goes, but what I do know is that it feels, in my body/mind and spirit as it comes through, like I am falling in love.
I’ve been doing this for years now, and the song is never the same, always different. The feeling amongst us singers is blissful and so entrained by the music that we feel inextricably bonded forever, no matter what. Our melodic lines are unique and separate but they mesh in a magical harmony that happens through us.
The songs we sing are like full-blown compositions that feel inevitable but also brand new, and we are like musicians in touch with the ineffable even though we happen to live grounded right here on earth. The fact is, most of us would not even call ourselves musicians!
It’s a kind of magic, just like synchronicities and the ever-changing water, and we flow between the seen and the unseen, feeling for the bridge where they pass from what is invisible to what is material in our world, where the can beauty find us.
The experience is ecstatic.
Albert Einstein would say it was the experience of Love.
In a letter to his daughter late in his life, he wrote:
There is an extremely powerful force that, so far, science has not found a formal explanation to. It is a force that includes and governs all others, and is even behind any phenomenon operating in the universe and has not yet been identified by us. This universal force is LOVE.
Each individual carries within them a small but powerful generator of love whose energy is waiting to be released.
When we learn to give and receive this universal energy, dear Lieserl, we will have affirmed that love conquers all, is able to transcend everything and anything, because love is the quintessence of life.
He knew, Einstein did!