It's All in the Bra
A few years ago I was invited by a colleague onto her radio show, titled “It’s All in the BRA.” Wendy Hanson is a business coach that I met through participating in National Speakers Association events, and had been an incredible champion for me as I went through the NSA educational trainings. Her show was targeted toward female entrepreneurs, and the acronym stands for Business, Revenue, Assets.
I was honored to come on the show, and she joked about the name of the show a few times, to the extent that it really sunk into my brain. As someone who is curious about symbolism, I couldn’t help but wonder what significance that phrase might have for me. It was a fun interview, although I think by the time I went on the air she had changed the name. :-(
Around that same time, I was making progress on the model of synchronicity called Meaningful History Selection. I could see that we could track the way personal choices, one by one, interact with the world’s possibilities. The world had a bazillion possible branches to it, and depending on the choice we made in the moment, the most meaningful branches became more likely. But how, exactly? I couldn’t put my finger on the mechanism.
In quantum mechanics, “properties of things” are represented by objects called “kets”. Any object is really a collection of properties that we could measure for it, like for an electron we could measure spin or mass. The word ket was invented by Paul Dirac as part of the word “bracket”. He saw that in quantum mechanics there are two levels to existence—possibilities and actuality—not just one. So to describe the mathematics of measurement he split the word “bracket” in half to obtain “bra” and “ket”. Yep, there’s that word, “bra”, and this is where it fits into the story.
Fourteen months later I had a dream in which I saw a visual of a physics calculation on paper—a ket representing the many possible states of something—and then I saw the other half—the bra—capping onto the other side. This process in physics determines which final outcome is actually measured. My dream was showing me the answer I had been wondering about, the way in which our action, the bra, caps off the branching tree in a particular way and gives us a result. That result, over time, leads to meaningful outcomes or synchronicities. There was a narrator in the dream, who said “it’s all in the bra.”
I woke up from the dream, and the radio show from the year before flooded back into my mind. Yes, of course! In retrospect it was an obvious result.
In my book “Living in Flow”, I describe a process to help get into flow, called the LORRAX process. It involves Listening, Opening, Reflecting, Releasing, Acting, and (X)Repeating the cycle. Sometimes this process unfolds over five minutes, like when someone offers me a spare subway ticket which I don’t think I need, but I take it anyway, then find a moment later as I enter the station that I left my wallet at home. By listening carefully to circumstances in life, opening our mind, reflecting on unexpected circumstances might be useful, releasing any preconceptions that might get in the way, and then making a choice, we can get into relationship with the symbolic nature of life. We can get into flow.
But this process can also unfold over much longer periods of time. For me, it took over a year between first noticing the idea “it’s all in the bra” coming from the external world, to reflecting on and recognizing its significance to my work. I probably could have seen the insight sooner, had I taken time to reflect on the message. But I also think it is valuable to hold symbolism loosely. We can never be sure we know what something symbolizes. Sometimes it becomes clearer in retrospect what the meaning of an event was. By opening our minds—and our hearts—we can be curious about the meaning of events without getting attached to specific interpretations.
When we do this skillfully, the process of meaningful history selection can serve as guidance which helps us get into flow and navigate our life circumstances with grace and delight.