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Anyone Other Than Me


In my last article for Don't Burn The Pig, I talked about certain synchronistic events related to Dave Matthews Band. As I was pondering what to write about this week, I got the distinct feeling that I was not finished with that topic. I started to think about synchronicity and how it affects the creative process. Like many true fans, I am ever curious about Dave's tricks of the trade. How does he decide what to write about? Does he have certain rituals that he relies on for inspiration? Are there things that have spontaneously happened in his life, which ended up being the basis for some of our favorite tracks?

Sadly, I don't have access to Dave to ask him these questions. All I have are his works, the finished product of his visionary genius. But as any honest artist knows, what we end up with rarely resembles anything like where we started. Unless we hear it from Dave himself, it's a verifiable guessing game to listen to one of his tunes hoping to discern the emotions and events that went into the mix. Sometimes, though, his words bring up feelings that we can all relate to, like in the beginning of “Dancing Nancies,” where he wonders, “Could I have been anyone other than me?” Who hasn't wondered what other course their lives may have taken had they chosen a different path? This morning, as I was thinking about that very lyric, synchronicity played her part in making this an interesting story to tell.

So here's what happened. I was walking with my daughter Stella, (of course), in her stroller, and reflecting on the implications of being a parking lot attendant or a millionaire in Bel Air, when a neighbor stopped his car to say hello. He was very friendly and asked how the baby was doing. I noticed that he seemed to recognize me while I had no idea who he was. Chalking this up to my less than perfect memory, I kept up my end of the conversation. Just before he drove away he said, “Hi Sophie!” to the stroller, at which point I realized that he was confusing me with another new mom in the area. First, I was thrilled to be mistaken for Jill, who is quite slender! But also, I was struck by the pronounced synchronicity of this occurrence. As I said last week, it's not that one event caused the other. But isn't it interesting when something inside of you coincides with an outside matter? It's just more evidence that we are all connected at a level invisible to the human eye.

I've often wondered why we wake up with particular songs in our heads. Does being in a certain mood lead us to hear these melodies, or is it the other way around? Now I'll also consider which meaningful coincidences happen during the rest of the day. I don't expect any life changing events to occur because of which Live Trax I choose to listen to, but wouldn't it be cool to consider that somehow the music is helping to connect us to the outside world? Go ahead. Look up at the sky, with your mouth, and hopefully your mind, open wide.

Hayley Bauman, Psy.D.

Author of Serendipity and the Search for True Self