During a sea change in my life several years ago, I bought Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. I cannot recall how I heard of Cameron. But I was intrigued enough to buy a new hardcover. One of her fundamental ideas is synchronicity, which goes like this: we decide to do something, we are transformed, and the world mysteriously furthers that transformation.
For example, you admit to yourself that you want to bake cakes for a living. On the subway the next day, you meet the pastry chef at the finest restaurant in town. Two weeks later, you receive a brochure from a top culinary school. Etc. Cameron believes that such chain reactions are not mere coincidence. Her shorthand for this idea:
Leap, and the net will appear.
Coming from a rational, secular mindset, I try not to read too much into happenstance. Coincidences are common and usually have logical explanations. I often email someone, only to receive an incredulous reply, “I was just writing to you!” Or I might send my sister the exact card she sends me. When my first car was accidentally totaled by my ex, I sadly bade it farewell at the wrecking yard. Soon I suddenly noticed dozens of the same make and model on the road. Synchronicity? Or simply my paying more attention, now that mine was gone?
But fate nevertheless seems uncanny sometimes, from the fortuitous way you met your spouse to a repeated reminder to do tripod headstand, as I described in my last post. Is the world adapting to us? Or are we adapting to the world in a new way, once we reset our minds?
My copy of The Artist’s Way remain in my barrister bookcase, in mint condition. I never actually did the 12-week course. Not even Cameron’s required “morning pages,” a daily, three-page, handwritten, mental dump of whatever’s cluttering your mind. I like the idea of journaling, but with morning yoga and limited time, it’s never managed to usurp a spot in my routine.
But if Cameron is right that affirmative decisions (“I am…” or “I will…”) catalyze transformation, perhaps she’s also right that mental clutter must be cleared first. Clear mind, clearer understanding?