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Searching for signs


Do you have apophenia? This is when numbers and patterns of numbers are considered to be meaningful when they’re not. I think I might have it, which makes me think I should stop consulting Dr. Google. But it also makes me wonder why someone else should have the right to tell us when something isn’t meaningful.

I often see the same number repeated in various forms – a number that frequently shows on my clock when I randomly check it or that I see it repeated on several license plates or street signs in the course of a day. There are entire books written on the significance of these common signs – indicators that you are precisely in the right spot on your path. But I realize there’s a chance twice every day for all of us to glance at our clocks to see precisely 11:11 (my number) or 12:34 (my sister’s number). Maybe it’s more of a decision as to whether you read anything further into these random minutiae. If you are mindful, there is significance everywhere!

People who find meaning in seeing the same animal over and over are much more acceptable. The worldwide web declares, in fact, that it could be good luck – depending on the type of animal and the context, of course. A black cat repeatedly crossing your path on Friday the 13th is a no-go for luck of the good kind. But generally, repeated sightings of the same type of animal is described as ‘the manifestation of synchronicity. By trusting the Universe, paying attention to your intuition, being open to change and taking action, you can attract more meaningful coincidences into your life.’

So there you go, we may be on to something! Of course, there’s a pretty high likelihood of seeing things like repeat rabbits at this time of year. Or, especially in Red Deer, seeing multiple deer!

Just the same, I bet many of us have experienced chance encounters that are downright eerie. I’ve had several, but one of the strangest was when I was plotting out the storyline for a new book I was thinking of writing several years ago. I was agonizing over whether to force myself to make the commitment to a book again, knowing all the sacrifices and discipline that would be required. It wasn’t going to be a long piece and the story in my mind was lighthearted, plus it was going to be set in India which is my mystical ‘never quite made it to’ country.

Alone in my living room with paper and pen, the words were coming easily, but the angst persisted. Should I even bother? There was already so much work to do and so very many other things that needed tending, why on earth would I ever subject myself to this. ‘I need a sign,’ I declared out loud. ‘And it would be nice if it was in writing!’

Just then (not kidding) there was a thunk at the front step. This was back in the days when the Sears catalogue was delivered with each new season, back in the days when there was a Sears! I went to check on the sound and discovered the catalogue staring up at me from there on the step, with a motif of the Taj Mahal on the front! It was a sign AND it was in writing!

Of course, I ripped the cover off the catalogue and kept it as a reminder to let things feel meaningful, even if they might simply be strange coincidences. Despite all that, I’m sorry to report I never did write that book. But with all the extra time retirement is supposed to provide, perhaps I still should. If only there was some sort of sign!

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