The Magic of Synchronicity & Four Things That Bring Me Pleasure and Joy

In the past month, I’ve had more than my fair share of Aha moments. These insights led me to make surprising connections. While coincidences can seem like mysterious, unexplainable events that happen out of the blue, it’s also true that we can manifest them and unveil meaningful connections in the world if we follow our curiosity and tune our focus. Something as simple as a colorful painting, a new artist, or a compelling quote that catches our attention can provide new perspectives and insights that enrich our understanding of the world by looking closer.

C and I dreamed of living in Manhattan soon after we’d retire while still young, mobile, and able to tolerate the city’s energy. Walking to theaters, restaurants, museums, parks, and shops is something we’ve come to love since living in Stockholm and London. The pandemic brought us to New York City sooner than we had planned. In our dream version, our lives and situation seemed generally rosy and steady. Instead, as they often do, life astounds, and rent costs rise to our great shock and eternal misery. So, while we can, we are trying to stop and smell the veritable roses, mindful of our innate hedonistic tendency to quickly move on to the next shiny thing.

This happens every time I visit MOMA: I brush past a painting to see the next, never gaining insight beyond the artist’s name and a few details on the title card, which I forget as soon as I approach the next painting. I grew frustrated and embarrassed by my carelessness as I stood before an image I had visited twice before, unable to recall a single detail about the artist or the piece. C was with me that afternoon, and I suggested we pick a painting we both like and learn as much as possible about the artist and the work, preferring to connect with one piece than scanning many and missing their significance.

Here is “The Moon” and a few things that brought me pleasure and joy this month.

  1. This 1928 painting titled “A Lua” (The Moon) by Tarsila de Aguiar do Amaral— considered the Picasso of her native Brazil, where she is simply known by first name—who wanted to be, in her own words, “the painter of her country,” caught my attention for its simplicity and suggestive similarity to the more famous Van Gogh “Starry Night.” I was delighted to see her story covered in CBS Sunday Morning. Reading about Tarsila, I learned she was good friends with Pablo Picasso, whom she met in Paris. This connection painted a lovely image of two talented artists philosophizing and encouraging each other in their work, a reminder of what can happen if we lift each other.
  1. After randomly selecting Patti Smith’s memoir, “M Train,” from the high pile of recommendations on my night table, I was floored to learn she’s the same Patti Smith considered the godmother of punk rock, who sang (and wrote with Bruce Springsteen) “Because the Night.” She is a gifted performer and arguably a more talented writer.

“I consider myself a writer.”  -Patti Smith

Soon after this discovery, serendipity would have Substack notify me about a recent podcast episode of The Active Voice featuring… Patti Smith! about her life of writing, her long friendships, and cancel culture. I loved the interview so much that I went in search of more Patti Smith, immediately regretting having missed her rock a performance in Brooklyn this past December for her 76th birthday.

But it was this moving 2016 performance at the Nobel Prize Award ceremony that made me fall a little more in love with her. If you scan forward to the 1 minute 10-second mark, you will witness a BEAUTIFUL EXCHANGE of vulnerability and grace and how trust can help us do what we think we cannot. Can you hear the impact to her singing? I can’t help but think how a child could benefit from such a response.

  1. Summer was always my preferred season. I favor tropical to bone-chilling, bathing suits to shin-length parkas, and the easy way I stroll through a summer night’s balmy breath. It surprised me when, three years ago in March, at the onset of the pandemic, my perspective of seasons changed. With the world unencumbered by human activity, I witnessed Spring as if for the first time. I was in London, unsure how long we’d be in lockdown when the buds first formed. I thought about the things I’d miss as the days grew warmer and brighter. Spring, I realized, is the precursor to all that blossoms. It leads us into Summer, a canvas upon which we paint our most pleasurable experiences and joyful moments. Fall gives us time to replenish and rest from the flurry of summer activities. Then, not long after, gifts are opened, and a new year begins.
The Enkindled Spring

This spring as it comes bursts up in bonfires green, 

Wild puffing of emerald trees, and flame-filled bushes, 

Thorn-blossom lifting in wreaths of smoke between 

Where the wood fumes up and the watery, flickering rushes.

I am amazed at this spring, this conflagration 

Of green fires lit on the soil of the earth, this blaze 

Of growing, and sparks that puff in wild gyration, 

Faces of people streaming across my gaze.

And I, what fountain of fire am I among 

This leaping combustion of spring? My spirit is tossed

About like a shadow buffeted in the throng

Of flames, a shadow that’s gone astray, and is lost.
–D.H. Lawrence (1885-1930)

Photo by Markus Spiske on
  1. “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt, You Learn by Living: Eleven Keys for a More Fulfilling Life

My biggest fear in life was public speaking. I did everything to avoid it, even finding a way to graduate college without taking the required course. Eventually, I needed to stand in front of an audience if I wanted people to know about Together for Latinas and the work we were doing to improve the lives of Latina youth of all gender expressions. This quote gave me the strength to set aside my ego and personal angst and do what I dreaded most.

And I come back to it every time I feel like giving up on my writing. As long as my values and intentions align, I know I can push through any doubt and fear.

What about you? Have you experienced synchronicity? What meaningful connections were revealed to you?

Thank you for taking the time to connect with me here. It brings me both pleasure and joy to be on this planet with you at the same time.

With love, 



Lost in Repatriation: Where Have the Writers Gone?

It’s been three months since my husband, C, and I settled in Manhattan. While I understood it would be a challenge and take time to make meaningful connections here – everyone seems to scurry from one place to the next in hurried determination – I didn’t expect it to be this harrowing.

After all, I had no trouble making friends when living abroad in two foreign countries. I had built-in opportunities through the boys’ schools and sports clubs, my workout groups, and neighbors. It’s true that we are new empty nesters, and our sons are now grown and live in different cities; we can no longer count on the ease of meeting other parents through them. But why am I surprised that I haven’t made a single connection on an island of 23 square miles and 1.63 million residents?

I partially blame myself. 

Since our return from Europe, living in Stockholm and London for over eight years, we have been focused on work and reconnecting with friends and family in neighboring states, gathering for celebrations we would otherwise miss if we still lived across an ocean and a six-hour time difference.

I’ve also been spending too much time inside our apartment. I didn’t set out to pass my days sitting at a small desk in the guest room, but I needed a private space, a room of my own if you will allow, to establish a routine as a new writer. Writing a memoir is a soul-searching endeavor that requires you to revisit and examine significant moments in the past, some of which can shake and bring you to tears. Until I was more comfortable with the process, I wouldn’t consider venturing out, although I fantasized about living a writer’s life in the city. (There’s also the fact that I often talk aloud. Something about speaking the words makes them real and helps with editing. Not sure the public would appreciate my practice, but then again, this is New York City 🤓.)

My online writing community and work as a property manager and board Co-Chair for a national nonprofit kept me from noticing that I hadn’t yet made a friend IRL. I had grown accustomed to my routine and wondered if I had unknowingly become an introvert. (The answer is brilliantly clear for those who know me well.) I even retook the 16 personalities test to see if my source of inspiration and energy has shifted these past years, especially as I spend a good portion of my days in isolation. But, I am a person who needs the energy of others to be at my best.

So, I searched earnestly for fellow writers and ponderers in local cafés. Many coffee shops I visited did not invite lingering, as evidenced by the limited seating and lines of nomophobics edging toward pick-up counters. Admittedly more of a fan of their community outreach than coffee, I imagined spending mornings in the creative buzz of a Starbucks, fueling on their milder Veranda coffee blend and tapping away on my laptop. I wandered to several of their renovated stores near my apartment and saw similar changes where they notably traded their inviting nooks and tables for the digital convenience of preordering and take-out.

I’m wondering what is left now that this beloved Third Place for writers and creatives doesn’t seem to exist in brick-and-mortar. Surely there is something I’m not considering. If London has local pubs, Stockholm cozy cafés and Fika, undoubtedly something similar exists here.

In the meantime, I want to be intentional about making friends I can give my energy to while discerning the kinds of people I want to surround myself with. I’ve thought about this for some time: how we are the average of the five people with whom we spend the most time. In an exciting city like this one, I’ll need to think differently about ways to make connections outside of writing and step out of my comfort zone.

I am deeply grateful for my community beyond state and country lines and virtually, including you. Thanks for taking the time to read and share.

In the spirit of friendship, I am curious if there is a facet of your life that can benefit from contemplating or thinking differently. What would stepping out of your comfort zone look like?

With love,



Morning bite at a London cafe before writing