Friday, March 7, 2008


Warning: Long post ahead. Go make a cup of tea before you sit down to this.

I own a self winding watch that doesn't. Last year I took it to a professional for cleaning and a tune up. He got it up and running again, I took it home, wore it for a day and it stopped. I put it in my purse to take back, and when I pulled it out to show him, it was working again. I put it on and a couple of hours later it stopped again. I took it back and was informed that sometimes self winding watches need actual physical winding.

I was driving with my mother one day when she noticed a knocking sound in the engine of my car. "You should get that checked out", she said. So I take it in to the mechanic and explain about the noise. "When does it make the noise?" he asked. "When my mom's in the car", was my reply. (You should have seen the look he gave me; no sense of humor) He got in the car with me and we took it for a spin. Of course there was no sound.

I have problems with electronic equipment at work. One day I crashed 3 different computers, one just by sitting down next to it. For the longest time I was having anomalous things happen when I was on the screens going dark, sound monitors in the control room turning themselves off, and the channel for the microphone turning itself off (usually while in the middle of speaking). It turns out I seem to have an inordinate amount of static electricity build-up in my body and simply waving my hand over the board that controls everything on air can turn off a channel.

For a while, it seemed that every time an alarm sounded at work (to indicate we were off air), it was my fault somehow. In fact, the head tech guy asked me one day if I had been in Newfoundland over the weekend (another province over where we have a sister station). I said no and asked him why. "Because the transmitter burned down", he said.

Over the years I have collected a number of these stories. Maybe they happen with the same frequency for other people but they don't take note of them. Maybe I just notice them because I see connections everywhere. And that is actually the point of this post, if you're still with me.

I have been contemplating doing a post on the "connectedness" of things. I can take almost any subject and find a way to relate it to myself. That's how I learn. but while researching "coincidence" and "synchronicity" I came across the Pauli Effect:
a tongue-in-cheek reference to the apparently mysterious failure of technical equipment in the presence of certain people, particularly theoretical physicists. It is named after the Austrian theoretical physicist Wolfgang Pauli. The Pauli effect was named after his(Wolfgang Pauli) bizarre ability to break experimental equipment simply by being in the vicinity. Pauli himself was aware of his reputation, and delighted whenever the Pauli effect manifested.(from Wikipedia).

OMG!! There's a name for it! The engine sounds disappearing in the presence of a mechanic or the channels and monitors turning themselves off but never in the presence of a tech guy (until finally one day when one happened to be standing right behind me). It's the Pauli Effect.

How excited was I to learn about this? Over the moon doesn't even come close. It happens to other people, too! I'm not an idiot! I'm not jinxed! I was thrilled to make this discovery for a couple of reasons. First, it meant that this phenomena is not the universe trying to get me. Second, it turns out that this guy Pauli became a patient and then friend of psychotherapist Carl Jung who's best known for his ideas of a collective unconscious and his theory of synchronicity.

Synchronicty! Aha! That's what I was looking for to begin with.

Coincidence is a noteworthy occurrence of two or more events or circumstances that don't have an obvious causal connection. For example, my co-worker Mary's birthday is February 28th. Her older sister Christine was a leap year baby. It would be more of a coincidence if they were both born on February 29th, but throughout their lives they have celebrated their birthdays together.

Synchronicity is also the occurrence of two or more events or circumstances that don't have an obvious causal connection, but they occur in a meaningful manner. My co-worker's sister, Christine, gave birth last week on February 29th! A leap year baby having a leap year baby! It's not unusual for women to give birth on their birthday, but to give birth on a birthday that only happens once every four years is...synchronous.

Over the years I have experienced this type of synchronicity many times. At university during my first year (1980), one of my biology lab partners was Grant, who hailed from Ontario, halfway across the country. I haven't seen him since we graduated in '84, but I met his uncle in 1998. His uncle is my neurologist.

Shortly after I was diagnosed I was at the local office of the MS Society and noticed a picture on the wall of a guy who had just finished his term as Pres of the Atlantic Division of the MS Society (or Chairman or some such). He was the brother of a former boyfriend.

Even the events surrounding my diagnosis were rather synchronous...I've blogged about it before: The Monkey's Paw and Insert Horseshoe Here.

I meet a lot of people in my line of work. Actually, I talk to more people than I meet, but some I do eventually meet face to face. One woman I talked to just before Christmas and I hit it off on the phone, then through e-mail, and finally in person. Kathy just seemed like good people. Turns out, she and I had a person in common, another MSer I knew through MS activities and who Kathy knew through a bible study they both belong to. Kathy and I and our respective significant others (Jane and John[aka Wookie]) got together for dinner a couple of weeks ago. Turns out Jane and a friend of mine from university ( a gazillion years ago) worked together until a few years ago.

I attended a university with a rather significant and recognizable school ring. Almost every social occassion I attend there is someone else there with the same ring. We instantly have a connection (even if it's just the rash that sometimes pops up under it). And even if there's no one else with that ring at the event, someone always comments on it to tell me their son or daughter or dad went there.

Last week I began putting on paper, so to speak, my ideas about coincidence, and doing some research on the subject while Lost was on TV. That is one interconnected show. Everyone is connected to everyone else even before they ended up on the island together. I realized after last night's episode that this is what attracts me to the show in the first place, and what keeps me getting sucked back in every time I aver to never watch it again. I am waiting for the resolution of how and why everyone is connected. I really want to know.

And when discussing this show with a co-worker and my upcoming post about coincidence, he said that with technology moving at the speed it is, it's no wonder the world is getting smaller. More and more connections are being made, even if it is on the internet. Kind of like pen pals, only faster.

So what has all this to do with MS? Simple really. I'm looking for the connections we MSers have with each other. And to do that I blog, I volunteer with the MS Society, and I raise funds for research. I also take part in studies relating to this disease because I have GOT to know HOW this disease works. MS is not a magic trick I can figure out or a mechanical device I can learn about. It is an as yet unsolvable logic puzzle. And everything I read, write, or research leads me a little closer to understanding.

I don't know why I have MS but I know what to do with it. And I promise to only use this power for good.



squiffy said...


I came across your blog via the Carnival Of MS Bloggers, I am Squiffy of Squiffy's House of Fun, on the list ;O)

You may be interested to hear about a new, unique and inclusive Global Multiple Sclerosis Community providing not only up to date MS News and Stories, but a place where those affected by Multiple Sclerosis can communicate with others affected by the disease, and the wider public, by means of Online Blogs, Discussion Forums and Net-based social interaction, which the Multiple Sclerosis Resource Centre launched on Thursday in collaboration with cre8Buzz.

Why not come and have a look, there are already some established MS bloggers signed up, and maybe join in, it is a great way to promote your blogs etc.

squiffs ;O)

Merelyme said...

very cool post! i will definitely have to read more of you...i am totally into synchronicity! keep on writing...

Shauna said...

I love clowns. And will be back to your site for some fun.

Thank you! Very cool things happen if we keep our eyes open.

squiffy said...

Hi Shauna, :O)

Laughter really is the best medicine ;O)

The new gloabl MS communuity is a very exciting project which many Msers are now joining up to, we are hoping that all the major MS organisations from across the workd will join the MSRC in this endeavour to provide an inclusive and truely global community to help all those, anywhere in the world, affected by MS :O)

squiffs :O)

Anonymous said...

Just a quick visit...I don't know why I have MS, Lisa, and quite frankly, I'd happily give it back right now. It is hard to be positive all the time. Thanks for all your good wishes on my blog.

Shauna said...

I'll forgive you calling me Lisa, but that's better than poopy-head.....
Thanks for coming by. Hope the recovery is going well.