I’ve experienced intensely focused moments of Synchronicity that I can only explain as natural alignment with life or natural, unconscious magic or supernatural support. I’m non-religious but spiritually inclined. I’ve formally studied chakra meditation, learned to give clairvoyant readings and felt the undeniable connection between all beings during the sessions that gave me amazing peace, clarity and healing. I graduated from a SF Psychic School, it was my nerd’s double wish fantasy, a delightfully visual experience, like lucid dreaming while awake, in psychic trance. If you’re at all visual or like science fiction and fantasy, you would love clairvoyant training…it’s part Harry Potter’s Hogwarts + what Star Wars Jedi Academy (wants to be ;), yes, I’m a Star Wars hater).
I was raised as a Presbyterian Christian whatever that means, I was even forced to teach Sunday School, when I was in college. My mom volunteered me while I was at school. During weekends I visited home and that’s when I found out I was teaching Sunday School. I wasn’t an atheist but I didn’t believe in the Bible anymore, I still liked Jesus as an avatar but no longer believed in the mythology of religion. So I taught the kids Ethics and Empathy and had them memorize a short quote/message from the Bible that was personally meaningful to them and asked them to explain why, what it meant in their own lives (verbal essay). It was like an English Lit class minus the writing assignments. If I was going to be forced to teach, I’d chose my own subject and material. That’s how I was in my twenties, a secret saboteur.
But back to Synchronicity, Carl Jung was the one who pioneered the study of coincidence, which he termed, Synchronicity. In my experience, coincidences are intentional though seemingly random and are unquestionably interconnected in meaning or theme. I’ve always experienced it and I’ve also had a vivid dream life, full of premonitions of significant people/lovers and themes that I’ll experience in reality, (sometimes shortly after the dream and other times, many years later I’ll remember the connection in a long lost hand written journal). It’s very mysterious and beautiful.
Sometimes when I share these stories with friends I feel secretly afraid that they won’t believe me because the synchronicities are often insanely specific! How can one person keep experiencing these events? But I do. So I’ve decided to share some stories here with fellow writers, poets, radicals and artists, who else will believe me?
SF LitCrawl 2016 reading excerpts from my story, Running Away, from the memoir anthology, A Wiggle and a Prayer at Benny Gold in SF Mission, photo by Frances Lefkowitz
In 1998, I worked in San Francisco at a small cafe called, Cafe Americana, owned by my boss at the time, Ramzi. Ramzi was an awesome boss, super mellow and anti-authoritarian. He trusted us to work alone and since the pace was slow, he said we could read books (there was a mini bookstore/library inside) or write while it was slow. What other boss would invite their employees to get paid to leisure read? But that was Ramzi’s genius, he was originally an engineer from Jordan. After he immigrated to the US he couldn’t find work as an engineer so he opened up Cafe Americana was it Americano? My memory is shifting. Ramzi’s brother in law owned Muddy Waters, which was always busy with young hipsters and goth, but I preferred the sweet, bookish quiet of Americana.
I lit rose and frankincense candles which melted in liquid color wax saturated with light refractions floating in tiny glass votives, it added to the sacred church library ambiance. I read metaphysical books, played 80s music there and discussed Nostradamus and astrology with the local neighbors who visited daily and often gave me presents, like courtship tokens I received: sushi, flowers, chocolates, cigarettes and even a racist beaver stuffed animal who said, “me so horny” from my coffee girl fans. I was Coffee Girl, the Barista, Cafe drink maker extraordinaire. I was still in my twenties, in my infamous Saturn’s return, time to pay the bills of the past. So I enrolled in Psychic School of course. The school happened to be next door to the cafe. I also lived a block away in a flat with a dazzling bougevvilla tree which cloaked the balcony on gorgeous, tree-lined Lexington Street. I had everything on a plate. I found the school first, then answered the help wanted sign, then found my apt when the school’s director, Laura Hopper asked if anyone needed a housemate (me) and my future housemate, Sandra answered yes.
It was a haven for me; the school, the work and the home, all within a walkable zone before the first round of gentrification ruined the SF Mission. Valencia Street still had a punky, Wild West, refrigerator/vacuum cleaner repair store, Lost Weekend Video Store and ATA, (I was hypnotized there), non-bourgeois vibe. I wore hippie ethnic shirts and pajama dragon pants to work with wooden studded platform shoes, my hair was waving long, black and shining without a hint of gray, my full lips were always painted red, especially in the day time. I was a beautiful one, perusing the aisles at Dog Earred Used Bookstore in my turtleneck sweater laughing with Scorpios with a ponytail, over a misunderstanding with a clerk between martial arts and metaphysics.
I met my second unofficial husband, Eric at Americana. He came by day and night, I was his Jungian coffee therapist. When he asked me out I didn’t realize it was a date, I went to see his band, Angels Camp play at the bar down the street that is probably closed now. I remember the starlight disco ball against the mandarin orange red and bald Mark eating a bag of peanuts, leaving the shells on the floor like a jerk, Eric is smiling his golden retriever smile, his holy happy handsome good guy smile. He’s the only friend who came to my Memoir groups’ reading. He brought a hand made sign that he glued together on wood, as if the reading was a protest, it said, “Aquarians #1”, he’s my buddy ex-lover, my always friend, who happens to be an aquarian too.
The reading was the capstone event to celebrate our memoir group’s published anthology. For many of us it was our first published work, out of 35 writers, about 5 were chosen to read at LitCrawl which is an extension of LitQuake, an annual SF literary festival. I was one of the nervous readers, even though I knew there would be a small audience, public speaking unnerves me. When I saw the venue’s address all I noted was Valencia Street. I didn’t think about the exact details, just how to not be late for Bart (the subway). The Bart ride was emotional, break dancers danced to Michael Jackson and I felt tears forming. I guess I’d missed San Francisco and I felt welcomed home by the generous dancers. It wasn’t until I saw the venue that I realized it was right next to my old meditation school. The charm of that swept through me.
Then as I waited to read, I saw Eric with his handmade sign, he sat on the floor in the front to the side and smiled at me the whole time! I love Eric. Once an Aquarius loves you it’s pretty much forever and since we’re both Aquarians, that love friendship power is doubled. I read my “father was a destroyer” stories and made the crowd bow in mourning. I felt kind of bad, guilty but powerful with my heavyweight sorrow. Eric electric skateboard escorted me back to 16th bart, the long stroll glide with catch up talk. It was only because of him that I realized the place that I had just read my sad stories at, was not Benny Gold, a men’s clothing store in the Mission…. it was my beloved Cafe Americana renovated as a men’s boutique of all things! Whose motto was Knowledge, and Stay Gold, like Ponyboy’s last phrase in Outsiders, a book I loved when I was a teen. Benny Golds was my old cafe converted but with the podium placed in the same center stage, where I once poured coffee and blended cappuccinos to frothy perfection, lit golden melting candles, debated with and photographed my neighborhood friends: Jon, Alex and Camlo, the magic place where I first met my second unofficial husband, Eric and steamed milk for psychic teachers…
Twenty years later, what are the chances? Great if you live in the SF Bay Area.