Tag Archives: Synchronicity

Quick Thoughts on Amanda Palmer, The Art of Asking, Vulnerability, and Trust

Yesterday, TED posted the TEDTalk of Amanda Palmer. The name sounded vaguely familiar, but because I kept seeing tweets saying that “Palmer Wins TED,” I thought, I’ve gotta watch this talk. So, before I get into some of my thoughts it, I’ll let you watch it.

Apparently, there’s been a big hullabaloo over Palmer accepting $1,000,000 through Kickstarter, but continuing to ask musicians to work for “free.” I’d rather not get into that discussion, but I think it’s important to mention before moving on.

Amanda Palmer: A big congratulations! This TEDTalk certainly created news yesterday. For some, it’s because she didn’t answer questions that some had asked regarding the Kickstarter funds, for others, because she raised some important ideas about the music business. It’s certainly not easy to challenge mainstream ideas and even harder to do so with so many people who think you’re wrong (and are shouting that at you).

The Art of Asking: For some, there is nothing harder than asking for help. Asking for what you’re worth. People who are just starting their own business often have lots of problems trying to figure out just how much they should charge. Much of this has to do with psychology and our ideas of self-worth, but there’s also the cultural stereotype that it’s not okay to ask. It’s so great that Amanda could demonstrate how asking is not something to be afraid of.

Vulnerability: On the topic of asking… I remember reading about people who pose as beggars — not for the money, but to gain the experience of what it’s like to beg or ask for money. It’s not something that I’ve done, but after watching this TEDTalk, it’s an experience that I think is certainly worth considering. It might shatter stereotypes of what it’s like to ask for help and would certainly foster a greater sense of empathy.

Trust: Without getting too much into a philosophical discussion, it’s great to see a tangible example of someone who “trusts the flow of life,” and is rewarded for it.

Sometimes, You Really Never Know What the Day Will Bring

Tonight was a bit unexpected. One event (the apartment across the hall having its floors finished) led to a series of events that caused me to end up at a place I probably wouldn’t have foreseen going to, at the start of the day. Since the smell in my apartment was unbearable, after class, I ended up on a roundabout walk looking for a place to eat.

My original plan was just to grab something quick nearby and then head to the Starbucks to catch up on things. Well, that didn’t happen. After walking for about 2 miles, I ate dinner at a local Chili’s, but not before finding a rather artsy place. From the outside, the artsy place looked like it was more a café than it was a place to eat, so that’s why I walked to the Chili’s.

After scarfing down some Shrimp tacos, I headed back to the artsy place, where it also happened to be Open Mic night! (So much for catching up on things, right?) I had a fantastic time. Sure, my plan was to catch up on things, but sometimes, you have to roll with things and let life take you where you’ve got to be. Not only did I have a great time, I’ve found a local artsy place that I can walk to whenever I’m in the mood for that kind of vibe.

Two more things I want to say:

1. The place I went to Epicure Cafe. Fantastic place. I highly recommend it. It’s not the kind of place you’d expect to find in a strip mall, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised. They are highly rated on Yelp! and were feature in Northern Virginia Magazine!

2. I had never seen someone “be” a one-man band. It was captivating and I have a lot of respect for someone who can keep track of all the different things you’d have to keep track of in order to play a one-man band — and play it well! If you’ve never seen a one-man band, here’s a great example:


It’s Amazing How Quickly Things Change

I was in the backyard playing with when I started to think about how things have changed for me over the last 5 years (or since I graduated with my bachelors degree). As I walked across the stage with diploma in hand, I was saying goodbye to a place where so much had already changed in my life.

I pursued post-secondary education mainly to pursue my boyhood dream of becoming a major league baseball player. I to the varsity team and remained my first year. During that time, I started to realize just how much practicing with the team felt like “work.” There’s nothing inherently wrong with work, but baseball was my passion. I loved playing the sport, through and through. I spent most of my childhood on baseball diamonds and virtually all of my teenage years driving across Ontario and up and down the eastern states of the US to play baseball. I was dedicated.

As my passion for playing faded, I found a new interest — student life. I became heavily involved in the campus community at SVSU, which was a stark contrast from high school. Although in high school, I was more focused on baseball, so who knows if I would have gotten involved with student groups in high school had there not been baseball in my life.

I started out my student life ‘career,’ in part, because the hall director of the building I lived in asked me to do so. My first position was as the vice-president of the residence hall’s council. It turns out that was just the springboard I needed to dive headfirst into extracurricular activities. I spent time as a resident assistant (2 years), went to state/regional/national conferences (8 in total, 4 in my first year), volunteered often (in 3 different countries), participated in university committees/boards, and was even my senior year. On top of all this, I still had time do well academically such that I was accepted into the international honor society in psychology () and be part of a at an .

Upon graduating, I was getting ready to begin studies for a clinical psychology PhD. Little did I know that 3 academic quarters into the degree, I would realize that I didn’t want to “save the world one person at a time.” Shortly thereafter, start my own business/practice. And shortly after that, move to New Zealand!

It’s been quite a whirlwind over these last few years. California, New Zealand, British Columbia, Hawaii, and now Washington, DC. Here I am working on an MBA. I have three semesters left until I’m finished. As I try to project into the future where I’ll be (or what I’m doing), I can’t help but chuckle just a little bit. Three years ago, I would never have imagined I’d be living in the DC area, much less in business school. But here I am — on both accounts.

I wouldn’t be surprised if you stopped to reflect on your life and found a similar thread of unanticipated changes in your life. And those changes, (by their very nature [and definition, in this regard]) could not have been predicted prior to their occurrence. They took you by surprise. They’ve certainly taken me by surprise. Sometimes, we fall into the trap of being (or sometimes, lack of changes). I would implore you not to do so. It’s impossible to know how pursuing scenario X, being presented with scenario Y, or being surprised by scenario Z, will eventually lead you to ultimate fulfillment.

Instead, today, simply look back and reflect on the abundance of synchronicities that have conspired to bring you to where you are today. Smile as you think about the unlimited possibilities that await you and the myriad ways they can transpire.

Remembering What’s Important to You: Lessons from Hurricane Irene

With much of the for the potential effects of , I can’t help but think of what an opportunity this could be for many people. I keep hearing the figure being quoted as how many that are potentially affected by this storm. That’s just about 20% of the population of the US (think: 1 in 5 Americans). That’s a lot of people. I would call this an opportunity for some because of the chance these people will be given to reflect on what’s important to them. Let me explain.

Many people go about their daily schedule without much thought for what happens outside of this schedule. This is not to say that there’s anything wrong with this, but just to say that this is common for most people. They get up in the morning, go to work, come home, , go to bed, and repeat. Unless there is something that shakes up this routine, many people will continue on in this way for a long time. Layman’s terms of says that an object in motion tends to remain in motion. In this instance, the object is the person fulfilling the routine. Unless something interferes with this “motion,” the motion will continue.

The prevailing opinions about events like these tend to revolve around words like . While this viewpoint is understandable, I would hasten and suggest reading the wise words of “” My point in raising the idea that an event like Hurricane Irene can be seen as an opportunity for some is that this shake-up, this wrench in their otherwise “object in motion,” could allow someone to see that they aren’t necessarily doing what it is that they want to be doing. Maybe they’re working at a job that they aren’t passionate about. Maybe they don’t know what their passion is. Maybe they aren’t spending enough time with their spouse and kids. Maybe they don’t have a spouse and want one. Maybe they wish they could have travelled to Europe, Asia, South America, or Africa. Maybe they wish they could have travelled to (or within) North America.

There are any number of things that could be realized as a result of an act of nature such as this one. Not everyone has the willpower to take a break (or ) from their routine to see the things that they wish they were including in their lives. Maybe it’s the of an event like Irene that some people need to be able to see the things that they’re missing out on in their life. While it may not seem like it at first, this is wonderful! Remember that there are those of us who, even when the wrench obstructs our object in motion, will condemn the wrench for wrecking our routine rather than take a step back to examine what the wrench’s purpose might be.

Friggatriskaidekaphobia and Other Quirky Calendar Events

Given the , I thought it would be a good time to do a post on the ‘silliness’ of Friday the 13th. The absurdity of Friday the 13th has always puzzled me. It really is just a day and the only reason that it garners “power” over anything is because of Friday the 13th by perpetuating the myth. The title of this post includes the phobia: friggatriskaidekaphobia. One can ‘learn’ from Wikipedia that this is a compound of , the name of the Norse goddess who gave us the name “Friday,” and , fear of the number 13. I happen to like words, but a word like friggatriskaidekaphobia — when, outside of days like today, would you use that? Maybe more importantly, who would use that word? Maybe psychiatrists or psychologists?

Some people like to say that Friday the 13th doesn’t occur very often, so that’s what makes it special. Really? Over the next three years (up to and including 2015), there will be 9 Friday the 13th’s. In fact, of the days of the week that could happen to be the 13th, . Meaning, Friday the 13th happens more than (Monday the 13th, Tuesday the 13th, Wednesday the 13th, etc.)

There is no clear evidence as to exactly where the myth of Friday the 13th started. Some say it started with the (which happened on Friday the 13th).  Others of a Norse myth of a 13th dinner party guest arriving and causing havoc and a similar event occurring as cited in the Bible. The fact that this myth has no definite traceable history further convinces me that “” in it causes it to continue.

One more note about the 13th comes to us from Spanish-speaking countries who believe that it is that needs to be feared. This all stems from the fact that Martes is the Spanish word for Tuesday and the word Martes is derived from Mars, the Roman God of war.

And war, accordingly, signifies death.

Other Calendar Quirks

In July of 2011, there will be 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays, and 5 Sundays? Bring on the parties during those weekends, right? More importantly, ! Buyer beware, huh?

Did you know that this (2011) December, there will be 5 Thursdays, 5 Fridays, and 5 Saturdays?

Or, how about in 2012, there will be 3 Friday the 13th’s?

This coming Monday (the 16th), is !

and *gasp* the Roman numerals signifying the year will be MMXX.

, Canadians [if they’re still called that] in Toronto [if it’s still called that] will open a time capsule that was buried in 1997.

, unless there is to the religious calendar, Easter will be on March 22 for the first time since 1818. This is also the earliest possible day that Easter can occur.

And my personal favorite: the aptly named Longplayer, that started on January 1st, 2000 and will end on December 31st, 2999. From :

“Longplayer” is based on an existing piece of music, 20 minutes and 20 seconds in length, which is processed by computer using a simple algorithm. This gives a large number of variations, which, when played consecutively, gives a total runtime of 1000 years. It uses Tibetan singing bowls and gongs, , which are able to create a range of sounds by either striking or rolling pieces of wood around the rims. This source music was recorded in December 1999.

Words Are More Important Than You May Have Thought

“Every thought, word, or deed, either purifies or pollutes the body.” –

“Thoughts become things, choose the good ones!” –

“You are not a helpless victim of your own thoughts,but rather a master of your own mind.” –

“Thoughts are boomerangs, returning with precision to their source. Choose wisely which ones you throw.” – Author Unknown

“Keep your thoughts positive, because your thoughts become your words.
Keep your words positive, because your words become your behaviours.
Keep your behaviours positive, because your behaviours become your habits.
Keep your habits positive, because your habits become your values.
Keep your values positive, because your values become your destiny.” –


I could continue repeating quotes that support the idea that our thoughts have an effect on our reality. There are even theories put forth by scientists that explain how this works. I’ve embedded a video at the end of this post of talking about synchronicity and in the context, explains how/why our thoughts affect our reality. While there is much evidence that supports the idea that our thoughts have an influence on the outcome of our lives, there is just as much evidence to the contrary. In fact, a simple Google search for “” returns almost 3,000,000 results. I wonder what it is about this topic that is so polarizing for people?

I wonder why there are those people who feel adamant about our thoughts having an effect on us and there are those that feel, just as strongly, that the idea that our thoughts affect us is hogwash. To be honest, I was initially a skeptic. While I grew up in an environment that fostered the development of the idea that our thoughts have an influence on us, I had never seen any tangible evidence of this. Going through my early schooling, I still held the idea of this as a possibility, but I also learned about the scientific method. In doing so, I wondered if there would ever be a way to scientifically measure whether or not our thoughts can have an effect on our lives.

Well, in 2005, , came out with his first book, . In this book, Lipton takes the reader on his journey as a student, professor, and researcher, until his discovery about the cell. For years and years, biologists thought that the cell was controlled by something inside itself — the nucleus. Lipton, however, discovered that this is not the case.

Lipton learned through his research that the cell was actually governed by processes outside the cell. More accurately put, there are processes inside the cell that respond to things happening in the environment outside of the cell. Meaning, as the environment that the cell is in, changes, so too does the cell. There is a dynamic relationship between the cell and its environment. Lipton has gone on to extrapolate these results to other areas of our life beyond the cell. Namely, thoughts and by extension, actions. You’ll find many videos of Lipton talking about the importance of ‘,’ and even some .

Something that I find fascinating about one of the conclusions that Lipton came to from his work is that when cells are presented with nutrients, the cells move openly and towards it. When cells are presented with toxins, the cell closes and moves away. Lipton found that a cell could not simultaneously be in a state of growth (opening and moving forward towards the nutrients) and in a state of protection (closing and moving away from the toxin). I think that this applies directly to the first quote I have provided for this post: “Every thought, word, or deed, either purifies or pollutes the body.” So, we are either thinking positive, warm, and loving thoughts that help our body grow, or we are thinking negative, degrading, and unnecessary thoughts that our body must defend against. Which kind are you thinking?