by Gary Swick
We are all connected on many levels and in many ways; as family, community, culturally, professionally and as members of our watershed’s ecosystems. I’m going to suggest that you may also have a spiritual connection to the Friends of the Fox River.
The origin of our species, DNA, and Ancestry.com give us a map of genetic lineage. The internet offers us access to limitless information (factual, or not so much) to people, places, and things that connect us. As a divining rod searches out sources of water, our hearts seem to direct us toward others that bring us a deeper connection and feeling of joy. A kind of inner-net (not misspelled) gets formed, and the newborn nephew, childhood friend, neighbor, colleague, or a butterfly in our yard may offer a feeling of kinship.
Connect for a Cause
Humans have demonstrated that we are community-minded, though we are capable of thriving in a solo partnership (formerly known as single) just fine. However, all organisms are biologically designed to reproduce and colonize their habitat. To perform this humans have preferred the family unit, often extending it into a tribe. To go beyond simple sustenance toward achieving common goals, or thriving, requires communication, partnership, and collaboration. We are social creatures and connect accordingly. The internet has expanded our ability to connect with others and has vaulted humans into a new realm of possibilities
Nature’s Internet Connection
The largest (and most successful by biologic standards) organism on Earth, is a fungus in Eastern Oregon. A mat of “honey fungus” Armillaria ostoyae has been growing for over 2000 years and its mycelium covers over 2000 acres. Though its role in decimating forests seems a negative, it is acting as a soil builder which is increasing the biodiversity of its community. Our technological 30-year-old world wide web mimics this mass of mycelium which communicates and shares information and resources throughout its system. Nature has many forms of communication using visual cues and pheromones that we understand. However, trees seem to have the ability to communicate notices of incoming insect or viral infestations that humans cannot yet measure.
Serendipity or Synchronicity?
A deeper human connection may come through the phenomena of synchronicity. A trendy fiction book from 1993, The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield played off this concept. It begins with the question, “Have you ever been thinking about a distant person when the phone rings and they are on the other end?” Is this just a serendipitous event or another form of connection? This type of spiritual thinking lends another level to human connection. I am suggesting that we may have a power to attract certain circumstances. Synchronicity is a concept, first introduced by analytical psychologist Carl Jung, which holds that events are “meaningful coincidences” if they occur with no causal relationship yet seem to be meaningfully related.
Feeling the Connection
If you are open to synchronistic events you may recognize them. I have had many experiences where I could actually feel this energy. It manifests itself in chills down my spine and arm hairs standing on end. On one occasion, I was nervously pacing before a presentation at the University of Whitewater. I passed a physics professor’s open office and noticed a Celestine Prophecy poster, listing the ten insights that are a central theme in the book. The professor and I engaged in a conversation about it and when the chills showed up, I shared what I was experiencing. She noted that it has been documented that when that occurs, an elevated level of energy is present in the room. I sometimes joke that it is my mother acting as an angel to guide me, but usually it is that I feel something or someone is magically connected with me.
Searching for Synchronicity with the Friends of the Fox River
To me, these synchronistic experiences are more than a coincidence; they seem to strategically be creating a path. Friends of the Fox River recently revisited and evaluated our strategic plan. We know that we have aggressive goals, and are pleased that we are making significant progress with them. Our vision and our dedication are strong and generating a lot of energy. Many of our initiatives are waiting for the right pieces to emerge. Some of these resources are financial but most are human. I am hoping that many of you will be drawn by this synchronistic energy.
Our members, partners, and followers have been attracted to the Friends of the Fox River for various reasons. I believe that many of you are the crucial players that will drive us forward. It may be your consistent and generous financial support, your dedication to the Schweitzer Environmental Center, a desire to assist as a volunteer with education programs, your attendance at organizational events, organizing family meetups, watch-dogging at city council meetings, coordinating a local “It’s Our Fox River Day” event, finding yourself in our network as a committee or board member, or being a writer or editor for our newsletter.
Reflect upon what has drawn you to Friends of the Fox River. Consider that we are growing and generating our own synchronicity. You have
a unique set of interests, experiences, skills, and energy that can be significantly beneficial to the goals of Friends of the Fox River.
In this season of caring, sharing, and giving, please consider what can you contribute. Give the gift of yourself. Review the calendar on our website and resolve to plug into a deeper connection with those of us who are the Friends. Call us (815-356-6605) or contact us (https://friendsofthefoxriver.org/contact-us/) to arrange a meeting where we can together explore our relationship. Hey, who knows? You might get the chills from the connection too.