Monday, April 5, 2010

An Element of Coincidence

*description: Ricky Nelson plays a concert in ...

I love coincidence and Saturday evening's dance class -- my second -- cooperated nicely. After practicing the previous week's Salsa steps, we began a nameless something you'd see on syndicated reruns of The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet or American Bandstand. It was probably a variant of Swing, and to do it properly, one ought to be dressed in jeans with the cuffs turned up or saddle shoes and bobby socks. The only thing missing was Ricky Nelson singing, Hello Mary Lou. If I can get this one down, I'm either going to be very popular with the younger women at my friend's wedding whose boyfriends think it's outdated -- or their grandmothers, I'm not sure which.

An element of coincidence enters in when you recall that I was dreaming this past Friday morning about Elvis Presley, and the next night, learning to dance to his music. This has happened to me on other occasions. I'll dream about someone or a particular situation and within a day or two, the theme reappears in an unrelated, real life encounter. It's almost as if the universe is determined to reinforce a message it wants me to receive, loudly and clearly.

Carl Jung called the overlap of seemingly random and unrelated events, synchronicity. He wasn't suggesting that a mystical force engineered the circumstances of our lives, but rather our interpretation of these events can reveal unconscious material in the psyche. It's the same process that motivated his fascination with the I Ching. As with dreams, the one who is in a position to determine the true significance of apparent coincidence, is the person involved, because it's their unconscious at work. Still, I'm open to suggestions.

Reading back over Saturday morning's post, two things from my dream stand out. First, appearances can be deceiving, and second, it pays to be patient and observant. While it looked like I'd been cheated out of my opportunity to meet Elvis, in fact, by waiting rather than arguing for that which was mine by right, I gained far more. I got to make contact on a genuine human level.

Dancing can be a fairly intimate thing. While I still know comparatively little about my student-partners as persons, I'm finding out such things as how they carry themselves and who is more comfortable matching my long stride. Learning a step from Elvis' time ties the message of the dream with music and movement, making it deeply personal. Apparently, the "lessons" of this dream are ones my unconscious fully intends me to take to heart. And since I don't know when the final exam is scheduled, I'd better be diligent about studying.

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