Synchronicities And Unfinished Business

atrotlFlinders (author of At The Root Of This Longing) defines ‘synchronicities’ as a Jungian term ‘for the curious way in which ordinary external reality can suddenly click into alignment with one’s inner, archetypal world.’ (14) Six hundred years ago, in Julian of Norwich’s time, they called them ‘the footprints of God.’ At 30 in 1973, Flinders wrote a major work (her thesis)–so did Julian (‘the short text’, 1373). At 50, she wrote another (Enduring Grace) but found she had some unfinished business from when she was 30 and wrote a record of her experience (At The Root Of This Longing)–so did Julian (‘the long text’, 1393). At 30, I had just finished writing a novel and we had two kids and had just bought a house. Kids, house, love and loss, took over. Like Julian, I suffered a near-mortal blow (but without visions–hallucinations, yes; visions, no) which now, at 50, I seek to make sense of. My disabilities both confine me and liberate me. At 50, I too have some unfinished business. You could say that my external reality doesn’t align with my inner, archetypal world.

laurels-kitchen-illusFlinders writes that ‘it was a joy to feel my scholarly and spiritual lives flow together.’ (24) However, she co-authored a very successful cookbook (1976, Laurel’s Kitchen, reversioned in 1986 as The New Laurel’s Kitchen, how I came to first read her) which had nothing to do with her scholarly and spiritual lives and wrote (1977-1989) a weekly food column. After twelve years she found that ‘my intellectual and political landscape had changed dramatically…. I had come to understand more clearly the relationship between third world poverty and first world consumption patterns and to see that colonialism hadn’t gone away at all, only “morphed” into a form of oppression far more malign for its being so faceless. I’d forged a whole new set of connections…. While I never thought of myself as “silenced,” … I’d begun to break through layers of inhibitions.’ (37) It takes time, patience, dedication, discipline, love, and support to forge connections and break through inhibitions. Perhaps I would never have encountered her had she pursued solitary scholarship and meditation. Perhaps she wouldn’t have made those outward connections and broken through those inward inhibitions. image from laurel’s kitchen.

Flinders references Alice Walker and says that ‘each of us has a small part of the whole story.’ She observes that this ‘whole, immense story, much too long withheld, seemed to be unfolding itself now with the force of a monsoon.’ (46) Flinders finds, on re-examining Julian, that Julian trusted her visions more so than holy scripture and her visions told her that ‘God was all love, and basically we were, too.’ (48) Hardly heard for six hundred years, perhaps now is the time to listen to Julian. Though in geological reckoning, six hundred years is a blip and events separated by such a span seem synchronous, to us deaf-mutes, it seems like unfinished business. image from wikipedia.

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