Tell me things about synchronicity
with Bethany Simons
“The world is full of magic things,” wrote W. B Yeats, “patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”
One such magical thing, I think, is synchronicity: the phenomenon of simultaneous occurrences that bring delight or make us sit up and take notice. Thinking of a friend right before they text us. Receiving a pearl of wisdom and then hearing it repeated over and over. Noticing repetitive symbols, signs and dreams. Spontaneous encounters. Being at the right place at the right time.
We could easily call such encounters coincidences, and from there decide whether they mean nothing or everything. Personally, I lean towards the belief that everything is connected, and moments of synchronicity are like small miracles helping to illuminate the way.
Whether or not we call something a miracle or a coincidence, the opportunity to ask questions, inspect answers and find delight remains.
Such an outlook has been instilled in me through various encounters, and perhaps especially through my friendship with writer, performer, director, and teaching artist Bethany Simons—who also happens to be the most synchronous person I know.
There was the time she was trying to decide if she should take a job, and suddenly a car went past with the name of the employer on it. Or when she arrived in Sydney, not having anywhere to stay, struck up a conversation with someone about how she’s from a small regional Australian town called Dubbo, and that same person was about to move to Dubbo so they did a life swap. Then there was the time she needed acrylic paints, walked by a small newsagency and lo and behold, there was a sign saying FREE TODAY on a box full of paints close to their expiry date. In what world are things just free in a shop—let alone the very thing you desire?
One might say Bethany is magic, but it’s more accurate to say that she knows how to inhabit the world in a way that makes it more magical. As she told me, “A lot of people will say my life is magic, and I love that word, but it is confusing because it's not magic—it's a choice to see it.”
The two of us often talk about our experience reading The Artist’s Way, of which synchronicity is a cornerstone—the idea that once we articulate our dream, the universe will support that dream and show its support through synchronicity. As Julia Cameron writes, “We change and the universe furthers and expands that change. I have an irreverent shorthand for this that I keep taped to my writing desk: Leap, and the net will appear.”
Then of course there is the Jungian theory of synchronicity, whereby synchronistic events are imbued with emotional intensity and often linked to archetypal situations, creating an opening for the unconscious and insight into our lives, our connections with the universe, and our essential purpose in life.
For Bethany, synchronicity serves as a guide. It’s a way to feel in sync with other people or opportunities, and can offer pointers about which direction to take when caught in indecision. It’s a tool for cultivating presence, a carrier of lessons, and a way to remind ourselves to be ready to receive.
Bethany’s view of synchronicity is also strongly connected to her faith and relationship to God. As a very spiritually-curious agnostic myself, the two of us have different entry points when it comes to our experiences of synchronicity. Still, the stories, the magic, and the practices overlap. Whether we view it as a connection to God, the universe, or simply a way to see the magic in the everyday, as Bethany said, “It’s about having your eyes open to something you can’t see, but you believe to be so.”
The examples of synchronicity in Bethany’s life are limitless, but what I’ve learned through our conversations is that they are limitless for all of us if we learn to pay attention.
And that’s why I’m delighted to share Bethany’s experience of synchronicity and her thoughts on how each of us can learn to open our eyes to its magic. I hope you enjoy hearing from Bethany as much as I love to, and cherish the advice on how to invite more of synchronicity into your daily lives.