A Missed Synchronicity at the State Capitol

This week I was recruited at the last minute to accompany my daughter’s class to a visit of the state capitol in Sacramento, California. I didn’t really know what the trip entailed, but I wanted to support my daughter and the trip certainly aligned with my values.

Halfway through the day we were to visit the State Assembly chambers, and it just so happened they were in session. We were told to file into the balcony quietly, and although whispers were OK, they were careful to warn our group of fourth graders not to talk.

As the session got underway, there were a variety of housekeeping issues discussed. The speaker welcomed all the visitors in the balcony, and specifically pointed out “School X is visiting from…” I saw the kids from that school across the room from us wave in response. Then a few minutes went by and one of the Assemblymembers mentioned another group of students from a college in the Bay Area. That group also waved as people clapped.

At this point I had a gut intuition to speak up and say “And a group of fourth graders from (our school).” It felt somewhat appropriate even if it was not sanctioned by our tour guide. My guess was it would be well-received and the kids would feel very proud to be acknowledged.

I didn’t take that opportunity, and the meeting continued uninterrupted. A presentation was made by a man about a bill being debated in the session. Shortly afterwards we left and continued on our tour.

It wasn’t until the end of the tour that one of my daughter’s teachers came up to me and said, “It turns out the man giving that presentation on the bill in the Assembly is a former parent from our school! How unexpected and exciting!” That little piece of information struck me. What if I had spoken up and introduced our class? Would this former parent have smiled and said something nice in response? Would there have been a heartfelt connection between the politicians in that room and the group of fourth graders I was chaperoning?

Of course, in the moment I cannot tell one way or the other. The worry about being disruptive or standing out is quite compelling. Wanting to be appropriate is compelling. But here are the facts we now know: the presenter in that room was part of our school community, and in all likelihood if we had identified ourselves, it would have been a great connection made for everybody in the room. Whether it is appropriate or not to speak up in that moment is trumped by the fact (unknowable in advance) that a personal connection existed.

We can trust our gut

In our lives we often cannot know the details of what is happening when we have to choose whether to raise our hands or not, whether to speak our mind or not. If we rely on our gut, listen to our intuition about what will be of service in each particular moment, we enable the external circumstances to support us in that, as they would have here.

Unfortunately we cannot always catch these opportunities. It is a gentle reminder of the playfulness of Living in Flow and the wonderful opportunities that abound.

Sky Nelson-Isaacs