Have you ever had a nostalgic moment in which you think of an old love from another era of your life and then, out of the blue, you see them on the street? How about a feeling that you shouldn’t take a job opportunity in New Jersey, but then encounter a symbol that changes your mind, and your life, completely? Have you ever needed some type of answer to a question about Greek literature, and then opened The Economist magazine to an article that, oddly, provides the very answer about Greek literature you sought? These experiences, all part of The Extraordinary Project, are more than intuition at work to author Suzanne Clores. They are examples of extraordinary knowing, and they now have a place to exist on the web.
Clores has started The Extraordinary Project, an online story collection of the odd and improbable incidents that happen to all of us and affect our lives. The idea was born out of her own experience of frequent coincidences, and when she set out to find more information, she realized a community did not exist. Her goal is to capture 100,000 true stories about unusual, extraordinary moments of insight, and to create a portal for people to share and acknowledge their own experiences, and perhaps gain an enriched, and multi-dimensional view of how life may work.
“One of the common denominators in so many spiritual practices is the act of allowing information to come to you in unusual or illogical ways. Regardless of your background or belief, there is a universal understanding of extraordinary moments of insight. We all acknowledge revelation, even if we disagree about it comes from.”
Psychologists have names like synchronicity and serendipity for random, chance occurrences, but Clores notes the accompanying extraordinary stories are often overlooked or written off as fantasy. The result is people miss the opportunity to acknowledge their own role in human interconnectivity.
“We create our own narratives based on our experiences, and if we can’t recognize, resolve, and share our experiences, our personal narratives stagnate.”
The Extraordinary Project looks for stories about human connections we experience but can’t entirely see. These experiences are hard to explain, yet are commonly understood, especially among those with New Year’s Resolutions to live a more open, authentic life. One user writes, “I love this idea; it is consistent with one of my core beliefs from my favorite quote “you cannot avoid paradise, you can only avoid seeing it.”
The storytellers on the site are not without conflict regarding their own experiences. Neuroscientist Julia Mossbridge tells a story about awakening to the sound of a “voice” in the middle of the night that offers to heal her congenital heart problem. Chicago Playwright Vincent Truman discusses writing a play about a dissolving marriage that comes to pass in his own life–exactly how he wrote it– three years later.
But Clores, the author of Memoirs of a Spiritual Outsider, a memoir about the modern spiritual journey riddled with irony and disenchantment, sees conflict as a necessary part of the Extraordinary Project. “Life is is not black and white or two dimensional. We are complex beings. We have shadow sides. The power of the extraordinary anecdote is the inclusion of the complexity.”
The Extraordinary Project has an open kickstarter campaign to facsiliate story collection around the US. The Extraordinary Parties, which have already been produced in Chicago, New York, and Madison Wisconsin, are Clores’s main vehicle for story-capturing. She encourages users to visit her website, www.suzanneclores.com , to submit their own videos and learn more about the Extraordinary Project’s goals.