Talk about choices! I could not even decide which butterfly effect story to write about! While I was considering my options again while running errands this afternoon, my life created yet another possible story.
There is an art exhibit in town that caught my eye. It is closing tomorrow so I decided to visit the gallery on my way home. I could not find a spot close by. I finally found something within walking distance, but it was near a fire hydrant. I pondered whether or not to take my chances and park there. I finally decided it was not worth the risk so I parked at the train station and began to cross the street. An elderly woman was driving very slowly as I made my way across the busy intersection. Her slow speed seemed peculiar because she was still moving at a snail’s pace after I had moved past her vehicle. She called over to me and asked for directions. She looked very frustrated and said she was terribly lost. I knew of the location she was searching for and it was several miles away. I gave her directions and headed into the gallery. Clearly I would have not been there to help her if I had taken the spot by the hydrant. This was not an exciting story, but it does illustrate the point that we are all connected.
We are faced with decision points all the time. We often live as if on autopilot and just react. I am working on living a more intentional existence. This requires contemplation and the ability to listen to that still small voice. If I had posted my original story in my draft folder, I would not have written this one. I think I made the correct choice. The other story was too personal and I am not ready to share it publicly. I knew this was the wrong story so I hesitated. How often do we hesitate when something seems just a wee bit off?
So was there a ripple invoked by my giving this woman directions? Would someone else eventually help her? Probably. Would I have gotten a ticket or worse at the other spot? Not sure as I may have been parked the proper distance from the hydrant.
It is fun to mix it up sometimes. Zig instead of Zag, or Zag when everyone else is Zigging.
My life so far has been filled with plenty of forks in the road, creating agonizing dilemmas. I often imagine the road not taken, like being so incredibly torn between studying writing and psychology while in college. I chose psychology and then went on to build a career in the mental health/ social work profession. Writing is once again my passion and in many ways my temperament is much better suited for this lifestyle. Yet I touched the lives of so many people as a social worker and witnessed so many positive outcomes. I do not regret making a difference and being paid ” just to talk.”
Am I a better writer than a therapist? Sometimes I hit it out of the park. I don’t really know. I used to agonize over this decision, especially during difficult times in my career. Oh was the angst palpable at certain junctures over the years. But my life is not over and I get to make many more choices. Hopefully they will not result in parking tickets, or worse.
16 comments on “To Zig or to Zag”
Your thought-provoking post reminded me somewhat of a series of books by the author James Redfield entitled The Celestine Prophecy, which I read back in ’96. Perhaps you have also read them, or heard of the other titles in the set? I found them a wonderful read, not at all high-brow or overly packaged in beautifully rendered and sumptuously enriched language: they are very easily digested, yet sufficiently powerful to have had influence on both my activities and my approach and actions towards others.
In summary (taken from the opening preamble of the book)…The Celestine Prophecy is: ‘a parable filled with vital truths that read like a gripping adventure-tale […] It begins with the disappearance of an ancient Peruvian manuscript […] containing an important secret: the nine insights the human race is predicted to grasp as we enter an era of true spiritual awareness. (In its reading…) you will join a quest that will carry you high in to the Andes mountains, to ancient ruins deep in old-growth forest, and to a startling discovery. You will quickly recognise the truth of the First Insight: in each of our lives occur mysterious-coincidences – sudden synchronistic events that, once interpreted, lead us to our true destiny’. In essence, the first book describes the ‘manner’ in which energy and consciousness are shared and experienced through the interaction with others.
I’d recommend its reading should a copy find its way in to your life as did all 5 titles in the set enter my own…each title ‘mysteriously’ appearing at just the right moment and under the right set of circumstances. They offer a refreshing and lighter alternative to more scholarly thinking but are in themselves no less worthy of praise, nor any less insightful…one needs the same open mindedness and honesty of heart to read them in the same way as one would read any well-regarded or iconic spiritual work. In light of contemporary spiritual (and scientific) enquiry his ideas may seem a little dated but the essence of his work is timeless.
Following my reading of his work, and after careful thought and deliberation, I arrived at a very over-simplified definition of the ‘types’ of people that we might meet on a day-to-day basis…and I must stress the words ‘over-simplified’, for it is only a rule of thumb and by no means a firm basis on which to understand meeting with another: there is far more going on between people than my following generality. But my thoughts are these (and Sue Dreamwalker has touched on the first in her insightful comment above): that in life we meet 3 types of people in our day-to-day associations with others. The first I classify as X-people…representing a soul whose path, different from our own, crosses our path for the briefest time before moving on to continue their own passage forwards. During that brief encounter there is an exchange of energy that satisfies an immediate ‘need’ in each other in some way shape or form. And by need I mean either spiritual, emotional or physical, which may be something as simple and as seemingly innocent as a smile or a ‘Good morning’ (as Sindy suggests above). That one action may start a chain reaction of events as would the Butterfly Effect you highlight. The second type we might encounter are Y-type people representing a more established and slightly longer exchange with someone, but where again energies and thoughts are freely given and freely received and which together provide a platform for further effect to take place. For example, this may be a chance meeting with someone on a long bus-ride across country for several hours where time is available for deeper conversation to take place. Or it may be an immediate spontaneous ‘friendship’ that occurs over the short-term and lasts only days. But again there will be a reason and a purpose to why the encounter takes place and requires a longer engagement to be significant in each of the parties life. And lastly there are O-types…representing those occasions when we meet someone who ‘appear’ in some to be more ‘wholesome’ and more ‘complete’, more ‘balanced’, and ‘closer’ to Source than ourselves, and whose message, energy and compassion have the most profound effect upon us, and whose influence in our lives is incredibly far-reaching and very long-term – perhaps even totally life-changing for us – but whose physical presence in our life may not be as permanent as their ‘teaching’.
I am a firm believer that all ‘significant’ encounters within the material world are deliberate and intended by Divine will. There are many examples I could provide, yet their significance is only really pertinent to me. Your story is perhaps an example of an X-type encounter…and from it’s occurrence came resolution for the lady who’d lost her way, and the opportunity for you to pause long-enough to consider the ‘forking-road’ dimension of your own life. One wonders if your thinking would have insisted so urgently that you ask yourself the question that you have posed without this occurrence taking place? In addition, and to exaggerate the phenomenal aspect of all encounters, I challenge you to trace a path from that one meeting in time and space in the present day all the way back to the very beginning of our Solar System! To consider the infinite number of events, chance happenings and occurrences that have had to take place to bring you and the lost driver together is mind-blowing…and all that before one even considers the fragility of life and the necessary conditions to allow it to come into being and flourish.
I think it significant that you have been led, or have chosen (or had choice made for you) or now find yourself (whichever is the case) returning to a moment similar to that which you experienced when entering college: where once again you contemplate the road ahead by acknowledging both the role you chose in Mental Health and the passion you have with writing. As a reader of your Blog, I am left with the distinct impression of a circular form attaching itself to your immediate circumstance, and see the current moment as an opportunity to significantly address the way forward. Why not consider combining both your passions…it seems a highly practical solution to your dilemma and one which would utilise the experience and knowledge you have gained from Mental Health work and marry it beautifully to your love of writing and your knowledge of Spirit and Spiritual practice. Why not write the new Celestine Prophecy! As an aside, James Redfield has a B.A in Sociology, an M.Ed. in Counselling, and worked for 15 years as a therapist with emotionally disturbed adolescents. Within a few months of publishing The Celestine Prophecy, his book had sold over one hundred thousand copies, which to my mind is not a bad way at all to earn a living and all whilst providing many others with one possible pathway upon which to walk in to a new and far better future 🙂
DN – 27/10/2014
P.S: Regards the Butterfly Effect. An O-person once told me a very simple method of changing the course of the day. They told me to change the leg that I first insert into my trousers when dressing in the morning, and to do so consciously and deliberately and in the process believe that from that one change will spring forth a multitude of new possibilities which would otherwise never have taken place. It may sound like the smallest and most insignificant of activities, but you’ll not be thinking of anything else when you do it, and that in itself clears the way forward for new thoughts to emerge. Try it for yourself, it’s quite amusing 🙂
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Why is it that your comments are so intense that I sometimes forget they are replies to my post? They take on a life of their own I guess!
In addition, and to exaggerate the phenomenal aspect of all encounters, I challenge you to trace a path from that one meeting in time and space in the present day all the way back to the very beginning of our Solar System! To consider the infinite number of events, chance happenings and occurrences that have had to take place to bring you and the lost driver together is mind-blowing…and all that before one even considers the fragility of life and the necessary conditions to allow it to come into being and flourish.
I am not going to take this challenge as it could require years of research, but it is a fascination proposition. I actually did not find my encounter to be that dramatic, but it so accurately demonstrated the butterfly effect and provided me with a story. That was no accident , but the encounter was more like a vehicle for a broader message, or rather lesson about time and space.
I have read many of the Celestine Prophecy books and saw the film on TV?many years ago. I really liked them because they were simple but kept me invested in the adventurous pursuit of the truth. I am flattered by your suggestion that I follow James Redfield’s career path. I was not aware of his psychology background. It is important for me to grasp the value that synchronicity has in one’s journey, because while I experience them regularly, the events in themselves are typically mundane. But their is a much bigger picture forming and we often are permitted to view minuscule pieces of the cosmic puzzle at one time.
Now I have a challenge for you: do some writing of your own. i am certain that many of us would enjoy seeing more of your thoughts and imagination at play in the form or an article, poem, etc
Linda we are indeed as you say.. ALL connected.. And our paths I have often thought are mapped out and we cross over each others at specific points… Like you say that was no chance meeting.. And I feel more and more of us are becoming aware our lives are mapped out.. The end destination always in view.. We just choose different routes of getting there 🙂
Loved the story Linda.
Do you really think we are led by fate? Or do you think is a blend of free will and fate intertwined? I keep changing my mind on this one.
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Free will determines are life’s path.. But I believe Linda that we come with a Blue-print to kind of follow.. We meet and greet the people along the way that helps us along our designated pathway.. But its up to us to ‘See the Signs’ so to speak and follow our gut.. The trouble within today’s world we have got far too many distractions.. We are so easily led off our paths via the ego of Want!.. Desire and Greed..
Once we allow ourselves to get intune within our selves ‘Listening’ to our intuition/gut, feelings then we become aligned with our purpose.. Trusting in the unseen energies is sometimes Hard.. But manifesting is at least for me these days happening quicker..
I will give you an example..
Last week I spend a few minutes thinking about my last and next to the last jobs I had.. both in support.. I was thinking about the clients and wondering how they all were.. Two in particular who in my next to last job were in their late 60’s who had learning difficulties and a mental age of around that of a 7 yr old..
Yesterday low and behold I saw all 3 in town.. 🙂 Now that is what I call the Universe at work… 🙂
You said you keep changing your mind on this one.. Maybe that is why nothing at the moment is manifesting quickly for you Linda.. You perhaps are not focused entirely on what it is you DO want.. When you are and you focus your intent with feeling! then keep on focusing and trusting its already there.. You will then see how the Universe responds.. xxx 🙂 ❤
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Great article Linda. We affect people everyday even by smiling, but I love your story of helping the lady. I have recently written on a discussion board about school about writing. We can write no matter what profession we chose, or choose. I am a writer. You are a writer!. We are writers and I think we can make something from it. I plan too. Keep shinning sistar!
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We are shining stars, woohoo! Shining starwriters, I like this moniker. Thanks Sindy, I want to smile more and grimace less. I do not know why I stayed so stuck in that dilemma for soooo long. Life is about timing and how we interact with the energies each moment, Sometimes one choice will lead us back to another one..
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It is all good. Just gives us more to write about! 😀
I agree, the opportunity to help someone can remind us that we were needed without planning. More recently, I remind myself when I am needed an extra few minutes at work, that there is probably a reason that I may never know for the delay.
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It was so strange! I spent most of the day wracking my brain what to write about for this challenge and then this falls into my lap. I was happy to help her and was very present while doing so. You have a great work attitude Deb.
Ha ha Linda, I have had to work on my attitude, I am pretty selfish about leaving work on time.
Something happened two years ago this week that really horrified me. I missed being part of a fatal car accident because I stayed a little late. Wow! It was heartbreaking because the fatality was one of the seminarians from the monastery where I work. Very sad, and it made me think a lot about being in a hurry.
wow! that is profoundly powerful and also very sad. I wonder if you would blog on it for this weekly challenge? It is on until Tuesday. That is a butterfly event for sure. Makes you think about how we are protected when it isn’t our time.
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K. I’ll consider it Linda. It’s world series weekend. 🙂 My not so guilty pleasure. I hope to write Sunday, we’ll see…
I agree though, very powerful. It would be a great exercise to collect the times in our lives when we are touched by the intersection of tragedy and unusual circumstance.
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this discussion makes me curious about something you shared on FB. I’ll email you about it later.. I am not a sports person but do understand that many are very passionate about their games 🙂
I love how you mention that still, small voice, thanks for sharing!
you are welcome and thank you so much for the follow!
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