I’m paying attention to coincidence right now, to synchronicity, to moments when two actions happen at precisely the same time.
One of these moments came at 5:05 pm ET on April 20, as I listened for the Chauvin verdict through my cell phone speaker. Just as the judge read the jurors’ decision, a pharmacist jammed a needle into my arm for my final COVID vaccination. There in the back room at Rite Aid, the South Asian pharmacist and I listened to the counts, then glanced at each other above our masks, nodding our heads in silent connection.
In that moment I was pierced by two intertwined pandemics, felt waves of relief and grief, gnawing rage at violent structures finally being revealed, and the flow of so many people, past and present, who move with courage and purpose toward something more.
A few weeks earlier I broke my at-home COVID routine and drove to a river for my morning tai chi practice. Standing alone by the water, I practiced the first move, then began the second, reaching my curved arm back behind my head, bringing my open palm forward and down in the shape of a wave. In that instant, a bird flew into my peripheral vision, landing on the water at precisely the same time, in precisely the same arc, as the motion of my hand. In a tai chi move that draws past forward through us to present, a surprising moment happened, with an image I won't forget: A bird touching down with graceful balance in currents beyond her control, her feet first, her heart open and exposed.
In this new moon I’m aware of life and death, of land and water, of hand and bird.
The day before the Chauvin verdict, a small band of humans got wind of a $630M private prison bond deal about to happen, a deal that would have vastly expanded and entrenched the Alabama arm of the prison industrial complex. “Hell no!” they said, and in less than a week they moved a giant bank to cancel its investment, dissolving that deal, complicating the possibility of Alabama's prison expansion, and putting other banks on alert that the public will no longer tolerate their profit from private prisons. For one historic moment, divestment won.
“When we started, we didn’t know that this had never been done before,” said Christina Hollenback of Justice Capital, during a zoom gathering of leaders stewarding ecosystems of community solutions. Christina helped lead the surprise prison victory, when the flow of years of slow and deep collective organizing synched up with a burst of wild-eyed possibility to break one visible link in the chain of brutal and dehumanizing systems that Derek Chauvin was part of.
New moons are not visible to us.
We know the moon is full, somewhere beyond our sight, like the faraway ocean beyond a river.
At this moment for humanity, when our every action matters so much, I wonder what unseen vibration, flow, and possibility could guide us?
What synchronicity could we learn to see?
Gratitude to Resonance Network for creating space that inspired this blog.
Cell phone photo of Long Lake (on Odawa and Ojibwe ancestral land in Northern Michigan), taken by Jan MacKenzie, May 2021.