Monthly Archives: January 2021

Synchronicity, Serendipity or Coincidence

In August 2017 I wrote a blog post with the same title. The post was about these  three words, used often in every day language, but sometimes misused and/or ill defined.

Serendipity is defined as –
the occurrence and developments of events by chance, in a happy or beneficial way.

In the earlier post I told how my good friend and sister of choice, Chris at BridgesBurning wrote about the serendipity of three people, all in different continents, two in the Northern Hemisphere and one far away in the Southern, connected over a comment on Skype. And into our friendship of two there came another one.

Synchronicity is defined as –
the simultaneous occurrence of events which appear signiicantly related
but have no discernible causal connection.
And according to Carl Jung  – synchronicity is an ever present reality for those who have eyes to see.

These words, Synchronicity and Serendipity, are often confused and used in the wrong context.  They are quite different and should be used differently.  As I pointed out in the  earlier post- it would not have been correct for Chris to use synchronicity in her telling, but it is correct when we both write about the same thing in a blog post.  Or when I send an email saying we should Skype only to find that she has sent the exact email to me.

And we often find this synchronicity in our every day life.    I  recall a perfect example of this when training to be a Life Coach many years ago.  I had read  about Sedona in Arizona; the red rocks and the general feeling of spiritual well-being; and the artists and healers who flock there, and so determined that I would go there in the not too distant future.  The course was conducted on a phone link of 2 hours each Monday evening.  Once soon after I logged in,  I heard one of the other participants talking about a visit he had made to Sedona the previous year and how he was planning on returning the next year for the Sedona Film Festival.

My mind/imagination was captured by this place and then the next morning, in an email from my sister in Los Angeles, she said she thought the next time I visited we should go to Sedona as she had heard such great things about it.

Well didn’t that exactly meet the definition –  significantly related but have no discernible causal connection?

And serendipity at work again the shortly after the death of The Architect, I was thinking about him and about the firm he had established many years ago.  Later that day I was at the hospice where he had died,  and learned that it was his old firm that would be doing the architectural work for the new hospice building.

And coincidence? I often say that there is no such thing as coincidence, but do I really believe that?  There is definitely synchronicity, serendipity and probably there is room for coincidence too.

The definition of Coincidence is – a striking occurrence of two or more events
at one time 
apparently by mere chance:

Several years ago I was in London for the weekend.  The elderly woman for whom I was playing companion went off to a wedding which left me free.  It just so happened that friends were visiting London from NZ and we decided to meet up.  The first evening we went around the corner from their apartment looking for some place to have a drink and decide where to eat.  Imagine my surprise when, on turning the corner, I saw three other friends, a couple from Auckland, NZ and one from Sydney, Australia.  I hadn’t seen any of these people for several years, so their being in London at just that particular weekend, and at that time, in that bar was certainly a coincidence. And –

“If there were no such thing as coincidence,
there would be no such word”
Heron Carvic (born Geoffrey Rupert William Harris)
English actor writer. 
  1913 –  1980 

And why am I revisiting  this earlier post? On Monday, January 4, I posted about my word for the coming year. That word is Hope and with it comes all the great things we can hope for in this coming year.  Today I met a friend for lunch at a garden centre.  The choice of venue was hers and the reason for the location was so that she could buy me my Christmas present.  I chose a rose.  She had arrived earlier than me and on looking around the centre her eyes had alighted on a particular rose.  And its name is HOPE.  Without  a doubt, this is Synchronicity at work again. And by the way, this friend is not a follower of my blog.

“Hope can be a powerful force. Maybe there’s no actual magic in it,
but when you know what you hope for most and hold it like a light within you,
you can make things happen, almost like magic.” 
Laini Taylor, American Young Adult Fantasy Author
1971 – 

Je ne regrette rien

1948: French singer Edith Piaf (1915 – 1963), affectionately known as the ‘Sparrow of Paris’; ‘Piaf’ translates as ‘sparrow’. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

I have long been enamoured of Edith Piaf, her life story and of course, her singing. I don’t remember how old I was when I first became aware of this wonderful, pitiful, strong, brave woman, the Little Sparrow starting life singing in the streets and living in a brothel. Not a great start in life for anyone and particularly a woman in Paris in 1915. War was raging; her father was fighting at the front and her mother had neither the money nor the inclination to look after a baby.

We are told that Edith was born under a street lamp in a doorway at 72 rue de Belleville in the 20th arrondissement on the 19th of December 1915. Above the worn out marble doorstep is a plaque that reads, dont la voix, plus tard, devait bouleverser le monde” translated as ‘whose voice later was to upset the world’. Edith did not just go on to move the world with her voice, but brought inspiration to many and continues to do so even today.

Her mother, known as Line Marsa, chose to call her baby daughter Edith after Edith Cavell, the celebrated British nurse who was celebrated for saving the lives of hundreds of soldiers from both sides. Cavell was later arrested by the Germans and shot by a firing squad just days before Piaf’s birth.

Shortly after the birth, Edith was packed off to live with her maternal grandmother. A bad decision that was overturned by her father on his return from the front. He sent his mother and aunt to bring her back. The aunt owned a thriving brothel in Paris and so Edith’s early days were spent surrounded by prostitutes and the men of class who came to visit them.

When I think of Piaf I think about her passion, her determination, the carefree spirit of her younger days and the spirit of constantly seeking greatness.

But why am I writing about Piaf on the 5th day of this New Year? Some years ago shortly after my husband died, I was playing companion to an elderly English woman. She was that particular type of woman, from her class. Peremptory, imperious, and brusque, so used to giving orders and being obeyed. But we got on very well and over the months and several returns to Chichester by me, we became friends. I remember her saying often, regret nothing; apologise for nothing. So no New Year resolutions for me – instead I am working on regretting nothing that I have done. Oh yes, some foolish decisions that would have been best left unmade but on the whole, I have enjoyed all the years of my life even when in amongst the good, the fantastic and the truly memorable, there have been a couple of hiccups when loved ones departed this world.

So onward into this New Year, with no regrets for what is past; it cannot be changed, but hopefully I can learn from it.

And now from my very favourite poet, from whom we haven’t heard for a while –

“Tell me,
what is it you plan to do 
with your one 
wild and precious life?” 
― Mary Oliver

HOPE!

 

“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.”
Emily Dickinson

At the beginning of each year, I choose one word on which to concentrate. My word for this year is Hope.

What a fantastic word that is. The Oxford English definition is – A feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen.

So my hopes for the coming year are :

  • That the pandemic is finally halted
  • That the vaccine is available to all
  • That people are allowed to visit family and friends again
  • That life returns to normal, or as near as possible to normal
  • That people stop circulating fake and bogus information about Covid, and
  • That peace talks continue to bring an end to the violence being perpetrated around our troubled world
  • That health and happiness are available to all my family and friends, both physical friends and those in the blogosphere
  • That Mother Earth stops shaking her skirts and forgives us for the damage we have done, and are still doing to our planet.

“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.
I hope someday you’ll join us. And the world will live as one.” 

― John Lennon

“The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places;
but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands
love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.” 
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

The Year Best Forgotten

Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, 
Whispering ‘it will be happier’…” 
― Alfred Lord Tennyson

Christmas came and went amid the usual flurry of last minute preparations, enjoyment and laughter. For us here in Aotearoa/New Zealand, there was nothing to stop our usual celebrating with family and friends. Not so for the rest of the world, where the deadly virus continues to expand and multiply. I wonder just how long we can stay immune.

Then New Year. Again, we celebrated as usual. However, this year there was limit on the numbers of folk who could gather in one place. Again, of course, there are those who spoil things for the majority by not heeding the rules. We can only hope that there will be no dreadful outcome from this.

And so I thought back on the year Best Forgotten.

2020 started with the usual bang. Huge fireworks displays the world over. As a grump, I wondered if some if not all of the money squandered in this way, would be better directed to assisting the homeless.

Here in Aotearoa we first became involved in March when the elderly (that’s me) were advised to stay home and stay away; then the rest of the country was also in lockdown. Our Government acted strongly, decisively and quickly. Borders were closed, incoming passenger flights stopped and generally, the populace accepted the order to sty home. We of course, do know just how fortunate we are. We share no borders with other countries, we are an island nation, there are only five million of us, and our Prime Minister was willing to act on advice received.

So over the next few months, we worked down from Alert level 4, through 3 and 2, to now be at Level 1, And most of us do realise just how very lucky we are.

Now that year has passed and we can only look forward to a better future.

When reading emails today, I came across this, from Jeff at Murder is Everywhere. Jeff is an American author, who chooses to live most of the year in Mykonos in Greece.

And from Jeff’s blogpost I copied for your amusement/entertainment, the following thoughts about that year –

1.     The dumbest thing I ever bought was a 2020 planner.

2.     I was so bored I called Jake from State Farm just to talk to someone.  He asked me what I was wearing.

3.     2019:  Stay away from negative people.  2020:  Stay away from positive people.

4.     The world has turned upside down.  Old folks are sneaking out of the house and their kids are yelling at them to stay indoors!

5.     This morning I saw a neighbor talking to her dog.  It was obvious she thought her dog understood her.  I came into my house and told my cat.  We laughed a lot.

6.     Every few days try your jeans on just to make sure they fit.  Pajamas will have you believe all is well in the kingdom.

7.     Does anyone know if we can take showers yet or should we just keep washing our hands?

8.    This virus has done what no woman has been able to do.  Cancel sports, shut down all bars and keep men at home!

9.     I never thought the comment, “I wouldn’t touch him/her with a 6-foot pole”, would become a national policy, but here we are!

10.   I need to practice social-distancing from the refrigerator.

11.   I hope the weather is good tomorrow for my trip to the backyard.  I’m getting tired of the living room.

12.   Never in a million years could I have imagined I would go up to a bank teller wearing a mask and ask for money.

And now I leave you with this quote from T S Elliot. Did he foresee 2020 all those years ago. His quote is most appropriate.

For last year’s words belong to last year’s language 
And next year’s words await another voice.” 

A Palindrome for the New Year

Happy Palindrome day – January 2nd here – so 1221. And if you are feeling that you have eaten too much over the holidays – remember Stressed is just desserts spelled backwards.

OK that’s enough cleverness for today.

From several friends today I have received this video.

In this time of Covid, it is important to share funny things. And I just love this. I hope you do too.

On this day in 2013, I bemoaned the fact that Summer decided not to grace us with her presence – click here to read that post from so many years ago. Well guess what? Once again we are having an odd sunny and warm day, Christmas Day was one as was New Year’s Day, but in between we have had a really mixed bag. Although I have to say that I am not jealous of those friends who have sent me photos of winter wonderlands. Been there; done that and have no desire to do so again.

Summer 2014 was great. My sister came to visit in February and while we (my Late Love and I) showed her around our beautiful country, Mother Nature behaved and showed off with long lovely days of summer.

As we went into 2015 we were all reeling from the terrorist activities around the world, and particularly in our beloved Paris. Here’s what I was thinking/talking/writing about then.

So to January 2016. Here I talked about the plans the Architect and I had for the year, and our future, only to have him diagnosed with a brain tumour in June. Here’s the link to that miserable time in my life.

In January 2017 I talked about a new chapter opening in my life.

In January 2018 I talked about the terrorist attacks again, about wishes, resolutions and hopes for the future . My hopes were –

  • Peace being declared among the fighting factions.
  • Safe housing for the homeless
  • Sufficient food for everyone and a
  • Happy and joyous year to you all.

    Well in 2021, we are still waiting for most of those wishes to be granted.

January 2019 saw me invite you to my Ramblings of an Octogenarian and in 2020 I mused on palindromes.

Do you know AIBOHPHOBIA? It is a fear of palindromes. Yes, really!

So now having come full circle in my blogging life – I started on March 1, 2011, so there was no January musings in that year- all that is left is for me to wish you a very peaceful and joyous New Year. Hoping of course that this pandemic raging in our already troubled world, will be stopped in its tracks. There is hope for that in the vaccines being developed and used around the world. Lets also hope there is sufficient for the Third World countries. They are always at the bottom of the list.

Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. “Pooh?” he whispered.
“Yes, Piglet?”
“Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh’s hand. “I just wanted to be sure of you.”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh