Coincidence?

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sunflower-featureLast night I bought a sunflower to put on the windshield of someone I’m smitten with. After some consideration I decided not to since we had only been on one date, the night previous. Don’t want to come off too strong, right? Anyway, I grabbed the flower on my way out this morning with the intention to give it to someone on my way to work so it didn’t die alone. What happened next has left me changed in ways I don’t even have words for yet.

While I was sitting and drinking my morning joe at the coffee shop (which I typically take to go), I saw a woman reading something with tears quietly and quickly sliding down her pale face. It was like there was a magnet in the sunflower that was being drawn to her, because I knew in that moment she was who I was going to give the sunflower to; she was who I had to give it to.

When I got to her table I said, ‘hey, pardon me. I have this sunflower that I was hoping to give to someone special and that someone I had in mind didn’t work out, but I can feel that you’re special too, so I want you to have it.’

Before I could even hand her the sunflower, this complete stranger flew into my arms with tears flowing, and gratitude spewing, as if I was someone she once loved, and lost. It’s what she said next that I’m still trying to grip.She was crying because her fiancé had died the week before, just months before they were going to get married. On their first date he brought her a sunflower and from then on, got her sunflowers, never roses, because she was the light of his life.

Today, through me, he was able to show her that she’ll always be the light of his life and how we as humans have a message to carry that goes far beyond words.

I’m shaken, awaken and feeling raw. You never know how much a simple gesture of giving someone a $5 flower will change their life, as well as yours. Life is about giving and being of service to others. I challenge you all to find a way to make someone else’s life just a little bit brighter today and be of service. You never know the impact you could have.   -From Faithit.com

 

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9/11 

(CNN) — Greer Epstein never took breaks.

An executive director at Morgan Stanley, she rarely left her office on the 67th floor because she never had time.

But 20 minutes before 9 a.m., one of her buddies called. “How about getting a cigarette?” He wanted to talk about an upcoming work meeting. It was a calm day with clear blue skies — the most beautiful day she had ever seen from her view from the World Trade Center. Epstein figured why not.

While riding down the elevator, she felt a jolt, but ignored it since the elevators had always acted strangely.

When she stepped outside to light up her Benson & Hedges, she saw people frozen in place, their eyes fixed to the sky. Paper rained down like chaotic confetti. As she stared at the fire and smoke billowing from a hole in the North Tower, she wondered: “How do they fix something like that?”

That’s when a plane flew through her office in the South Tower.

A cigarette break saved her life.

 

elite-daily-titanicThe future of the Titanic: Morgan Robertson, in 1898, wrote “Futility”. It described the maiden voyage of a transatlantic luxury liner named the Titan. Although it was touted as being unsinkable, it strikes an iceberg and sinks with much loss of life. In 1912 the Titanic, a transatlantic luxury liner widely touted as unsinkable strikes an iceberg and sinks with great loss of life on her maiden voyage. In the Book, the Month of the Wreck was April, same as in the real event. There were 3,000 passengers on the book; in reality, 2,207. In the Book, there were 24 Lifeboats; in reality, 20.

“Months after the Titanic sank, a tramp steamer was traveling through the foggy Atlantic with only a young boy on watch. It came into his head that it had been thereabouts that the Titanic had sunk, and he was suddenly terrified by the thought of the name of his ship – the Titanian. Panic-stricken, he sounded the warning. The ship stopped, just in time: a huge iceberg loomed out of the fog directly in their path. The Titanian was saved.”  -From Canyouactually.com

 

arewell-funeral-plannersfuneralsirelandabraham-lincolnjohn-f-kennedyjfkThe Kennedy/Lincoln Link

This one is an old story, but worth recounting because it is so unusual. It revolves around an unusual number of coincidences that occurred between Presidents Kennedy and Lincoln in regards to their assassination. For example, both men were elected 100 years apart (Lincoln in 1860, Kennedy in 1960); they were both succeeded by Southerners named Johnson, and the two Johnsons were born 100 years apart (Andrew in 1808, Lyndon in 1908). Both assassins were born 100 years apart (Booth in 1839 and Oswald in 1939) and both died before they could be brought to trial. Lincoln was shot in a theater and his assassin was cornered in a warehouse, while Kennedy was shot from a warehouse and his assassin was captured in a theater. Finally, Lincoln was shot in Ford’s theater, while Kennedy was shot while riding in a Ford Lincoln, and to top it all off, Kennedy had a secretary named Lincoln (Evelyn Lincoln) while Lincoln had a secretary named Kennedy. The list goes on from there and has been the source of considerable debate ever since.

Another Lincoln coincidence: In an interesting coincidence, Edwin Booth saved Abraham Lincoln’s son, Robert, from serious injury or even death. The incident occurred on a train platform in Jersey City, New Jersey. The exact date of the incident is uncertain, but it is believed to have taken place in late 1864 or early 1865, shortly before Edwin’s brother, John Wilkes Booth, assassinated President Lincoln. Lincoln, was waiting on a narrow, crowded platform for a train in Jersey City, New Jersey when he lost his footing and fell beneath the slowly moving carriage of a departing train. Pulled to safety before any harm befell him, he turned to thank his rescuer and was surprised to see it was the well known actor Edwin Booth, the brother of John Wilkes. In what could only be considered one of the most remarkable coincidences in history, the son of a president was rescued by the brother of that president’s assassin!

 

us-original-declaration-1776Though both men turned out to be bitter political rivals later in their careers (Jefferson was Adams Vice-President until he went on to beat his own boss in the election of 1800) the two men did share their love for country. As such, both men were instrumental in drafting the Declaration of Independence which, as everyone knows, was first signed on July 4, 1776. What most people don’t know, however, is that both men were also to die on the same day, July 4, 1826, exactly fifty years to the day the document was first ratified. How’s that for timing?
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Here is a link to people’s personal accounts of their own coincidences if you feel like reading more. Enjoy. http://improbability-principle.com/tales-of-strange-coincidences/
I hope these stories help you see…
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Traditions to bring People Together

After watching Oprah’s BELIEF series I am filled with awe and wonder of the many different places, traditions, religions, beliefs, and the many ways people strive to connect. It was so interesting, fascinating and I walked away from the week more aware, inspired, awe struck and wanting to do more to connect with those around me.

SO, I thought I would put together a list of ideas that could bring families closer together with the upcoming holiday seasons ahead.

I am going to list out celebration ideas (primarily from Belief) and from around the world and then put my own twist on them and how you could do them with your families.

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Holi: *is a Spring festival in india, also knows as the festival of colors or the festival of love. The night before the celebrations there is a Holika bonfire where people gather, sing and dance. The next morning is a free-for-all carnival of colors, where participants play, chase and color each other with dry powder and colored water. This festival typically comes in March or February. The festival signifies the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring, the end of winter and a day to meet others, play, laugh, forget and forgive, and repair broken relationships *taken from wikpedia

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My ideas: For a winter fest you could invite friends and family over while it is light out, invite them to bring food and then have everyone share tubes of food coloring and color the snow around the yard or take it to the mountains. Have everyone write words, make hearts, just color the snow & then when everyone is done turn it into a big, colorful snow ball fight. Then make a big bonfire and have everyone warm up around the fire.

You could also do the same idea in the Spring, but use chalk dust and a picnic setting.

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Mandala: In the movie Belief there was a beautiful part of the series where a group of Monks created a gorgeous mandala out of sand. They took hours to perfect every detail and it was a beautiful work of art. But, to them the piece was not complete until it was swept into an urn and dumped into a river to complete its circle. *Both Navajo Indians and Tibetan monks create sand mandalas to demonstrate the impermanence of life.  The word “mandala” is from the classical Indian language of Sanskrit. Loosely translated to mean “circle,” a mandala is far more than a simple shape. It represents wholeness, and can be seen as a model for the organizational structure of life itself–a cosmic diagram that reminds us of our relation to the infinite, the world that extends both beyond and within our bodies and minds. Describing both material and non-material realities, the mandala appears in all aspects of life: the celestial circles we call earth, sun, and moon, as well as conceptual circles of friends, family, and community.*taken from mandalaproject

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My ideas: You could gather family or friends together and create a group mandala project—One year I had my family at a beach and we gathered up a huge number of rocks and made a giant heart on the beach. It was a very fun and unifying experience. I have also gathered family around and handed out coloring pages of various mandala drawings. We all sat for hours chatting and coloring like little children. It is very calming to the mind.  *Carl Jung said that a mandala symbolizes “a safe refuge of inner reconciliation and wholeness.”

You could also take fall or winter items (pine cones, leaves, needles, grasses, etc) and make your own natural pattern with the items from a forest floor.

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A Pilgrimage: In the movie Belief there were many different people from different religions who would do personal pilgrimages—some were to holy lands, others were 500 miles walks, while another was a personal 3 day quest of fast and faith.  I was moved by all the stories, but one stands out in my mind–the 65 year old man who did not love himself, was broken hearted and seeking peace on a 500 mile personal pilgrimage. I thought to myself, “could I do that? How could I do something like that closer to home?”

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My ideas: Maybe you pick a mountain near your home you could climb together as a family or alone to find some meaning. Maybe you find a walking trail that goes for miles and miles and commit to a distance that will bring you closer to…God, your family, yourself. I do think walking is one of the best types of meditation, so why not take a day, a week, a week end to get quiet, to go within or to experience with those closest to you.     I remember one of my only memories of going to the mountains with my family as a child, we arrived at the base of a small mountain. My Dad told all of us kids that we were going to climb to the top. As kids, we whined and looked at this mountain as the toughest challenge we had ever faced. We walked and walked and finally all made it up the mountain together. When we were at the top, we each found a special rock and we made our own family, rock monument. We were so proud that we made it to the top together. It will be a forever memory.

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History: There was an Aboriginal man in the Australian outback that was leaving his grandson with ancient songs and a trek that told stories about their ancestors. The stories and songs were part of the oldest religion in the world, so the grandfather felt a huge responsibility to pass these along to his grandson, so the stories will continue to live on.

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My ideas: We each have stories that we are told, lullabies that are sung, pieces that have been woven from years and years of history, people, family, places…In such a digital age, we have abundant resources to find stories from the past, to write our own stories down, to encourage our children to write their stories for those who follow.  For my daughter’s 12 year Thanksgiving gift, I have created pages for her to write her own story, to share her own feelings of where she is at, to share her future dreams, to connect with who she is and wants to become. I gave my daughter a journal when she was 8 filled with questions. I am giving my husband a journal to write down his story that is filled with prompts and questions so that his daughter and generations after will hear his stories.   I write a letter to my daughter every 6 months & will give them all to her when she is 18.  Every year at Thanksgiving I make a photo book and gift it to our daughter with a special letter and images from the previous year—Giving Thanks that she was part of our life.

Just last night my husbands mother had laid out a small shrine of items that were her fathers. She had them neatly organized with special belt buckles that were treasured, a tin of matches, old pictures, a soap dish, a coin purse, a shaving bowl, bolo tie…treasures that she had been keeping to pass on to her children. Items that reminded everyone of this man who had passed on, but seemed to bring up a treasured past of memories. My husband was like a little kid remembering his beloved grandpa. He slowly looked at each item being taken back to a different time. The things that live on are truly the memories, the stories, the songs, the little details.

Well, Stay tuned. I think I am going to continue this week with more traditions and ideas inspired from the movie, Belief. I have done previous posts on traditions, so check them out too.  I will do another post later this week with more ideas.

Have a beautiful day. -H