Look for the Signs (Hint: They’re Everywhere!)

June 8, 2023
Reading time: 4 minutes
General, Purpose


In July of 2006, a waitress in Westlake, Ohio, asked a customer who’d ordered a drink to present her ID. But what the server received shocked her: it was her own stolen driver’s license! This waitress’s wallet had been stolen a few weeks earlier in another town. So, instead of bringing drinks to the table, she brought the police, who arrested the thief!

Think about it. What was the likelihood of this series of events playing out? There were so many moving parts: details like Westlake’s sizable population and many restaurants… the fact that the theft occurred elsewhere… the waitress’s work schedule… the probability of her even serving this particular customer who just so happened to order alcohol… or any of hundreds of other factors. The likelihood of this having occurred was close to impossible!

So… was this a coincidence? Or was it just another serendipitous encounter (granted, one that made news headlines) showing us that there may be a more meaningful order to events than we realize or bother to notice?

Because most of us have experienced at least one occurrence–if not many–that seemed highly improbable. Maybe we were thinking of someone, and they called. Perhaps we saw numbers or heard a quote or lyrics that “spoke” directly to our current situation. On that note (pun intended), music has often been a messenger for me. I’ll never forget how a song by John Legend, streamed during a tough workout, delivered a core-level message for me during an especially difficult period. (I’d been caring for my father, who was suffering from dementia.) Let’s just say that was a true “sweat and tears” moment… one that helped me reset my clarity and strength.

Kabbalah teaches that everything and everyone in our lives has the potential to be a teacher. According to the Baal Shem Tov, even a falling leaf has purpose, from its gentle dance with the breeze to its destination. We may not perceive the ways or the whys of things, but they are always there.

Not long ago, Michael and I ordered a new fireplace screen for our home. In the large box that arrived, there were too many parts to count… but somehow, they all fit together. Our lives are much like that box in that every element that comes into our sphere has a place and/or a reason for being there. The Light of the Creator offers us the ultimate instruction manual–we need only tap into it by paying attention!

Some may believe that the Universe is pure chaos and that reading “messages” in arbitrary places is a side effect of our human desire to seek order. And science can back the idea that humans have created–and continue to create–order in various ways to help with our survival and evolution. Austrian Economist Friedrich Hayek spent years exploring the concept of “Spontaneous Order,” or the idea that many of our systems have been organized through the cooperative contributions of many people over time. Things like the market economy, the development of the internet, and even language itself are examples of turning would-be chaos into universally understood systems that serve essential needs. Look at language, for instance. Somewhere in the distant past, a caveperson probably made a sound to signify impending danger. Maybe that warning sounded a little like the word “run,” which later became part of a vast and ever-growing roster of expressions. And at the helm of most every human advancement since is that ever-changing and growing creation we call language.

As for the concept of “coincidence,” research can quantify that, too. In a study published in The Journal of the American Statistical Association, two Harvard mathematicians collected and analyzed thousands of chance experiences submitted by subjects. Professors Diaconis and Mosteller concluded that, due to “the law of truly large numbers,” all you need is a big enough sample, and anything can happen. Say, for instance, there’s only a one-in-a-million chance of a coincidence occurring. If you have a pool of 400 million people, then there’s the potential for 400 amazing coincidences to happen!

Which brings us back to this: Do such noteworthy events–let alone the rest of our experiences–actually carry meaning? Or are they simply byproducts of our own effort at assigning significance where none exists?

The answer is yes, and yes.

We can choose to see the world as random and chaotic and nothing more. OR we can see it as a place where meaning is everywhere, and the Universe is with us every step of the way, in both joyful times and challenging ones.


For Carl Jung, the meaning of synchronistic events could only be determined in the space between the inner and outer worlds. From a Kabbalistic standpoint, this intersection is the consciousness we inhabit that allows us to peer beyond the veil of so-called “ordinary” life to perceive the Light within and behind it all. Karen Berg taught that in order to achieve this state, we must keep our eyes and ears open since the Universe is always speaking to us. That glorious sunrise? It may be telling you something about your own beginnings. That frustrating traffic mishap? It’s teaching you something (that’s for you to decide), perhaps while reminding you to slow down and pay more attention.

So try this: For one day, look at everything as being purposeful.

Because when we look for and begin to understand the message in everything, be it blatant or subtle, our lives take on more richness and meaning. We see that the “coincidences” may not be so coincidental after all. They are simply more grandiose reminders of that ongoing partnership we have in co-creating our lives. And the more we feel in partnership with the Universe, the more synchronicity we will attract into our lives to help us manifest the fullness of our potential!

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