In a few days we will have the results of the presidential, congressional, and local elections, ending a ridiculously polarized and contentious campaign season. Although the stakes are high in all our minds, I for one am ready to smooth down my ruffled feathers and have the election over with. A few weeks ago I voiced my concerns about the outcome of this election to a Wise Woman, author and healer I am graced to know in Berkeley where I live, Carolyn North. Carolyn put the whole fear-of-negative-outcomes thing in perspective for me. She told me that the way she deals with her own fears and desires to have things go a certain way is to look at the Big Picture and the deeper history of world events. That way she sees ‘above the fray’ to witness how systems blossom and decline in cycles, sometimes up and sometimes down, from an individual and cultural perspective. We must have confidence that the wheel will come around to healing of the earth and her systems again and again. As for those of us who are currently concerned about future generations and the kind of culture and ecosystem we are leaving for our children and their children, Carolyn believes that we have opted to ‘be here now’ at this pivotal point in time to help birth into the world a new paradigm of joy, unity, and partnership. Try as we may individually, this shift might not happen on a collective level in our lifetime. But, our intentions, beliefs, and actions will eventually shed light on the future—as sure as day follows night. Carolyn has presented this and other inspired ideas in her most recent book, World Shift Happens: Facing Down the Fear, and Waking Up the Mind. I highly recommend this and other books by Carolyn to all who are willing to“open [their] minds and hearts to new ways of thinking and being.”
And so, the pun “shift happens” brings me around to a synchronicity I experienced shortly after writing my last blog post titled “What Gives Life Meaning?” I wrote that rather unflattering post about a retirement community in Florida called The Villages while I was visiting family and friends in another part of Florida. On the first leg of the trip back home to California, from Tampa to Philadelphia, I ‘just happened’ to sit next to a woman from…you guessed it...The Villages! We struck up a conversation right away, even though I personally tend to be more quiet and solitary on airplanes. However, B’s sweet demeanor and openhearted conversational style was infectious, and I found myself talking with her for the full two and a half hours, or so, of the flight. We chatted about our families, aging, retirement, change, and just about everything under the sun, which (no pun intended) brought us around to her having just moved from the family home in Pennsylvania to Florida, at The Villages. Right then I thought, “Uh, oh, the universe is going to give me a lesson here. Better listen up!”
A lesson it was! B is the farthest thing from my stereotypical image of the kind of person who might move to The Villages…she is not a golfer, hasn’t joined any game clubs per se, and 100 percent welcomes diversity in her life. She shared with me the fact that she has a gay son and her relief that the people whom she told that information to in The Villages community in which she lives all seemed not only unconcerned, but also welcoming! This included the lesbian couple she met at the pool one day. B also told me of finding a sense of personal meaning in the peace and natural beauty of The Villages, and how uplifting it has been for her since she moved there. As I'm sure it is for others, no matter what their inclinations toward golf and other reasons were for moving there.
Yes, universe you can consider my meeting B a point well taken about not making snap judgments. It has opened my mind to another way of perceiving the world from a higher perspective (as Carolyn advised) than the one I find at the tip of my own nose. I have even accepted an invitation and am looking forward to visiting B and her husband at The Villages the next time I’m in Florida! That all being said, this meaningful coincidence doesn’t diminish my love of Berkeley and the lifestyle I feel so comfortable with here, it just adds to my understanding of others' choices, and for that I am grateful.
Information about Carolyn North: Carolyn North teaches movement and sound for healing, and writes about consciousness using the metaphors embedded in her own life. She is the author of 13 books on cutting edge subjects such as Synchronicity, the Chakras, Conscious Dying, Crop Circles etc. Her books include: - IN THE BEGINNING: Creation Myths from Around the World; - ECSTATIC RELATIONS: Love Stories From the Field; - SERIOUS FUN: Ingenious Improvisations on Money, Food, Waste, Water and Home (ISBN: 978-1844095407), and now WORLDSHIFT HAPPENS! the sequel to Serious Fun.
Carolyn’s website: http://www.CarolynNorthBooks.com/