Saul synchronicities


Noticing synchronicities, and responding to them, is one of the ways my deeper Soul-Self tells me who I am, and who I am longing to be. Today, the synchronicity is found in two Sauls: Richard Wagamese’s protagonist Saul Indian Horse, and writer John Ralston Saul.

Aboriginal books

Last year, I packed up and headed out on a wilderness quest. This year, I went again, as an apprentice guide, deepening into a pattern of being in better relationship with the land, and, more importantly, being in better relationship with myself. Following each experience, I found myself enjoying slow and relaxing time at the family cottage, beside a lake. I also found myself, upon both returns, reading the work of Richard Wagamese. This year, Indian Horse.

Saul Indian Horse is a young man reclaiming himself after the trials of losing family and a way of life, of residential school, and amazing hockey skill that brought him face-to-face with racism and hatred. His will to survive is tremendous, and in doing so he visits his land, and is able to tell his story.

I’d close my eyes and feel it. The land was a presence. It had eyes, and I was being scrutinized. But I never felt out of place.
I couldn’t take it. I couldn’t run the risk of someone knowing me, because I don’t take the risk of knowing myself. I understood then, as fully as I ever understood anything.

Saul tells the story of what it takes to be honest with oneself, to truly know oneself. Wagamese tells a story of the stories my country is telling and hearing, of the betrayals of Aboriginal peoples by non-Aboriginal people in residential schools through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and the inherent racism that surrounds the schools and non-Aboriginal views of Aboriginal people. We are all starting to look the truth in the eye.

Saul’s exchange with his great-grandfather is as insightful for him as it is for my country:

‘The journey you make is good.’
‘What am I to learn here?’
He swept his arm to take in the lake, the shore, and the cliff behind us. ‘You’ve come to learn to carry this place within you. This place of beginnings and endings.’

My country is in transition, and the nature of that transition is articulated by another Saul, John Ralston Saul, in The Comeback. Saul charts the formation of our country, one where newcomers arrived and were treated as guests, with the expectation that hospitality would be returned in some way. Then oral agreements, treaties were signed, full of the notion of reciprocity brought by the First Nations way of being and agreed upon by the Crown and its representatives.

Balance and reciprocity. Much of what works in our society is based on balance and reciprocity. Transfer payments. Health care. The only group not to benefit is the group that actually installed this concept of governance. Again, for each of us as citizens it is a matter of being honest with ourselves. We must act to ensure that balance and reciprocity are applied in indigenous relations, as agreed to in the treaties. 

The notion of balance and reciprocity, a founding pillar of our country, originates not from European ‘founders’ of Canada, but from First Nations. In return, we ensure a lack of balance and reciprocity toward these same people, and even choose to destroy these people. This is a betrayal that has lasted for centuries now.

Saul wonders if the crisis we face in Canada is not in the Aboriginal world, as we think, but in ourselves.

But is the more profound crisis not in the non-Aboriginal world? If not, why would we find it so difficult to listen – to listen seriously – to the points of view coming from the founding pillar of our civilization? Are we so insecure? So frightened to absorb views that after all have been central to Canada’s establishment and survival? Or is it a lack of sensibility? An emotional wall constructed unconsciously to protect ourselves from the reality of this place? Or a simple lack of consciousness? Or all of the above? 

And the words of Grand Chief David Courchene in 1971, as cited by Saul:

We ask you for assistance for the good of all Canada and as a moral obligation resulting from injustice in the past, but such assistance must be based upon this understanding. If this can be done, we shall continue to commit ourselves to a spirit of cooperation. 
Only thus can hope be bright that there might come a tomorrow when you, the descendants of the settlers of our lands, can say to the world, Look, we came and were welcomed, and then we wrought much despair, but we are also men of honour and integrity and we set to work in cooperation, we listened and we learned, we gave our support, and today we live in harmony with the first people of this land who now call us, brothers. 
We hope that tomorrow will come. 

These Saul stories are the stories of my Soul, my desire to draw on the Indigenous nature of me, the land I call home, and the Indigenous people who were here before my descendants. These Saul stories point me to a new place for me and my work as a non-Aboriginal Canadian, to restore the principles of balance and reciprocity that are the foundational pillars of Canada.

I will say it, Grand Chief David Courchene, for myself:

We came and were welcomed, and then we wrought much despair. I am a person of honour and integrity and I set to work in cooperation. I have listened and I have learned and give my support. I desire to wish to live in harmony with the first people of this land, my brothers and sisters. 


I have spoken.



John Ralston Saul, The Comeback (Toronto: Penguin, 2014)

Richard Wagamese, Indian Horse (Madeira Park: Douglas and McIntyre, 2012)




Cascading synchronicity


There is synchronicity in synchronicity.

Three days ago the words wild synchronicity were front and center in my being; today the words are “cascading synchronicity”.  And it all has to do with walks in the wilderness.


Cascade – Noun

  1. A small waterfall, typically one of several that fall in stages down a steep rocky slope
    • A mass of something that falls or hangs in copious quantities
    • A large number or amount of something occurring at the same time
  2. A process whereby something, typically information or knowledge, is successively passed on
    • A succession of devices or stages in a process, each of which triggers or initiates the next

Cascade – Verb

  1. (Of water) pour downwards rapidly and in large quantities
    • Fall or hang in copious quantities
  2. Pass (something) on to a succession of others
  3. Arrange (a number of devices or objects) in a series or sequence


  • Mid 17th century from French, from Italian cascara, from cascare “to fall”, based on Latin casus.

(Note – above from Oxford Dictionary)


Three weeks ago I left Washington’s Cascade Mountains, where I went on a wilderness quest, with the support and guidance of Ann Linnea, Christina Baldwin and Deborah Greene-Jacobi (and apprentice guide LeAnn Blackert).  I walked up the meadow of the Smith Canyon Valley, and up the valley to the right to set up a camp on the flank of the Sacred Mountain for 48 hours of solo time, alone in the wild.

The valley
Photo credit: Ann Linnea

Since my return home, having turned my back on the Sacred Mountian, writing has been one of the ways I listen to myself, to integrate and incorporate the experience of the wilderness quest. Much of the writing has surfaced in blog posts:

  1. I went to rewire the reptilian in me
  2. I found myself face to face with the ways Chronos + Kairos time show up in my life
  3. I realized the quest was also about Earth gazing from Earth
  4. I received an invitation to explore  my soul hungers
  5. I noticed wild synchronicity around me


While sitting in the living room this week, I noticed a map my husband left on the coffee table. “Lake Minnewanka,” just north of Banff jumped out at me, and I recalled a walk along the shores of the lake almost seven years ago. I was in the middle of an intense learning experience and our hosts wisely gave us the gift of time that afternoon to integrate what we were learning, and decompress. We had a few choices, one of which was a guided walk in Canada’s Rocky Mountains with Rosemary.

I have to confess that Rosemary drove me nuts. I was hungry to get moving and do something physical after two and half days of sitting and concentration. I was alive to be outside, on the move. And Rosemary kept stopping. And talking. And we hardly moved at all.

I had a conversation with myself about how to handle my frustration. I could just bolt and do my own thing, but since we were a group, my hosts would get in trouble; to bring a group into Banff National Park, you must have a guide. I could just play along. I chose to surrender, to listen to what she was saying. I didn’t give up – I surrendered to Rosemary and her wisdom.

And what I heard was remarkable.

How nature – the wilderness – works is, of course, very similar to how humans work.

Upon returning to the formal part of learning experience, we were asked to write, in free flow, to let out what was in us. Rosemary’s wise words, as I received them, came through:



eagle nest
beaver dam
broken and whole
self and selfless
ice and snow
grass and green
onion shoots
evidence of animals
not seen
fire and rebirth
not destruction
the flames are on
the lee side
when the wind 
blows strong
amid the firestorm


I recognize this experience with Rosemary at Lake Minnewanka as THE point in my life where I learned to listen.

And then, in my living room, I noticed the name of a river that feeds the lake:



These two wilderness experiences have provided me with space into which I can expand into myself, and in so doing I expand my capacity to listen to the world within and around me, and to listen to me within me, and around me.  One experience was quick, the other longer in duration; both significant.



  1. The simultaneous occurrence of events which appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection.

(Note  – above from Oxford Dictionary)


Noticing synchronicity is an invitation to explore a non-linear world. Noticing synchronicity is noticing a portal into deeper understanding of self, and our relationship with others and our places. It isn’t about explanation, but it is about understanding.

The synchronicity – having the word “cascade” pop into my consciousness as it did – invited me into a conversation with myself about the meaning of the word “cascade” in my life. The result of this conversation with myself is this post. I can see that the wilderness quest naturally flowed from my experience with Rosemary. Even though it was years later, I can see the trajectory; I can see a series of cascading events. The synchronicity is in how I happened upon the word “cascade” on the random map on the coffee table.

I’m betting that these synchronicities, the wild and the cascading, will be foundations for more synchronicities.

What synchronicities are you noticing in your life? How do you explore them?