It's been a week filled with the unexplainable.
Interestingly, just last week, I had a long discussion with some students about all things noetic, spiritual, and ineffable. We talked about how, in this material world, we sometimes have extraordinary experiences for which there is little or no scientific data to understand the how or why something happened. And why it is so important, as aspiring mindful clinicians, to accept those experiences as real for people. Because.they.are.real.
You know those little things, right? Seeing a butterfly at just the right moment or some kind of sign or symbol of your Beloved?
I've experienced many of these, and I usually, scientist-wanna-ninja that I am, try to explain them away empirically.
This time, like several other times, I couldn't.
I've sat with it now for more than 24 hours, and I am still in awe of the experience.
It all started here with a client of the MISS Foundation whose little boy died almost 1-1/2 years ago. She has two surviving sons and is currently in her second trimester of a subsequent pregnancy. I haven't actually seen her in person for several weeks because she's been traveling.
Here is the email I sent her, and I'd like to note the time:
From: Joanne Cacciatore
Date: October 18, 2012 6:45:09 AM MST
To: Dr. Jo's client who will remain unnamed
At 10:30 am, just a few hours later, I got a phone call from this beautiful mama, and she was crying. Really crying. She had received my email.
"I'm having a girl, I'm having a girl!" she said sobbingly.
"Wait, what?" I said in disbelief.
"I'm having a baby girl!" she repeated.
What I did not know when I awoke from that strangely-placed dream was that she was getting ready, at that very moment, for an appointment with her doctor and within an hour or so, would find out that she was having a baby girl.
We were both... well, frankly, speechless. I sat with it all day.
Late last night I sent another email:
"At any point, did you tell me about the doctor's appointment today? I mean, did you mention it and maybe it was in my unconscious?"
Her immediate reply:
"I didn't tell you about the doctor's appointment. I just made it last minute..."
I don't know how to explain this but I know it happened.
What is the nature of reality? Why do these things happen? What does it mean about non-materiality?
I have no idea.
But for centuries, mystics have understood the meaningful power of synchronicity. From near death experiences to to meaningful coincidences to just plain unexplainable phenomena, scientists and theologians have grappled to understand how and why these things happen.
I'm remembering the night Elisabeth, my best friend and mentor, died in 2004. Just before her death, she told me when she died, she'd send me a sign that she was "dancing in the stars".
This is an excerpt I wrote from the book about her, Tea with Elisabeth:
On July 24, 2004, exactly one month before her death, I had a dream that Elisabeth died. In my dream, I was sobbing and mourning, feeling desperate to have my friend back. She appeared to me, surprised by my sadness. She told me to stop crying and assured me that she was fine. Then she told me not to worry, well-aware of my enduring tug-of-war with faith- she said reassuringly, “I’ll see you again one day”...
I came home the night of Elisabeth’s funeral services exhausted and aching. I already missed her so much and felt grief’s grip around my chest. Around 11 p.m., I went onto my front patio and sat in my rocking chair. I leaned my head back and began to sob, talking to Elisabeth in my mind. With tears rolling down my cheeks, I asked her for a sign- for a very clear sign- I asked her for something like a shooting star, not really expecting anything miraculous. A few minutes later, I opened my eyes with my head leaned back and immediately saw a bright shooting star traveling from the east to the west sky... I realized that Elisabeth is, indeed, doing what she said she would be doing... dancing in the stars.
I still don't understand that experience either.
The connections we have with whatever is beyond this world may not be comprehensible within the context of our present minds. That's okay with me.
But what I do know is that I don't have to understand these experiences. All I need to do is accept them for the beautifully mysterious.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
And, I can't wait to meet this special little sister. She is already adored and loved by all three of her brothers. And, I feel like, in some unexplainable way, I already know and love her.