Noticing is a Choice

     When I was in school, many decades ago, I was at an institution attached to the Church of England. I was taught about the history and content of the Bible, and a little bit of specific dogma. We also had a modern science curriculum with lessons on gravity and the chemical composition of the air around us.
     In those days, any depiction of life on Earth was usually portrayed as a pyramid, with a tall European man standing at the peak. This was the model for further topics: the food chain led from the bottom of the sea to the ultimate human atop the heap. Ideas of tools and technologies lauded the accomplishments of humanity, and while I was never told that my job was to subdue or dominate the world, I was told that I had custody of it, and should care for it. I was separate from nature, outside it, able to care about it and for it.
     Years later, I realized that  I was part of nature, not at all detached; quite incapable of surviving without it. More time passed before I saw that there was interconnexion among all the so-called ‘kingdoms’ of taxonomy; historical geology; weather systems; and the water cycle.
     I was in my thirties when I clued in that gravity and electro-magnetism are not the only invisible forces active in daily life.
     The concept that we would probably say today was stalking us -- a recurring idea or repetitive message -- was labelled in the novels of Jane Duncan as a polterghost. When I was reading Duncan’s work I was familiar with the nature of a poltergeist, as presented by popular culture. A polterghost was somehow more benign. It was the philosophy that crossed a path three times in two days; it was the new vocabulary that was suddenly present in every conversation, radio newscast and magazine article for three days after first exposure. It was what I now understand to be synchronicity.    
     Synchronicity is the occurrence of two or more events that appear related, yet they cannot possibly have a direct causal relationship: like finding a newly-learnt word in a newspaper that went to press far away and some time ago.
     Synchronicity highlights the interconnectedness of all things, and it exists whether or not we notice it.
     Since early in 2015 I have been aware of deer in my life; usually does. They have looked through my window; crossed the road in front of me; and peered at me from the undergrowth.
     Earlier this week I stepped outdoors and felt my attention drawn to a fairly distant spot in the woods. In the shadows of trees and shrubbery was an unusual rusty-brown patch. As I shifted to bring it into some sort of focus, I saw it for the body of a young doe, looking directly at me, demanding my attention.     
Doe Eyes
     She was far enough away that I offered no threat whatsoever, and she stood still, locking her gaze with mine. We each waited for the other to make a move.
     The elapsed time was probably quite short, and yet it felt like an eternity. I stood; she stood; we saw each other. I knew that I was being given a gift of her attention, and I wondered what I could do or say to make a difference for her. I was unable.
     Our shared gaze ended when she lowered her head to eat from the plants in front of her. She glanced at me, chewing, and then turned her back and strolled away: she knew I was not dangerous. Her departure felt like an expression of trust, and I thought myself very blessed to be recognized as a benign presence.
     Among practitioners who focus on the energy and symbols related to power animals and totems, the appearance of a doe is imbued with messages about coping gently with obstacles; and connecting to sensitivity and intuition while being in touch with the mysteries of life. To maintain my direction and be patient seems like good advice, whether or not I am visited by wildlife.
     Jo Leath has been supporting clients through change and growth since the 1980s.
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