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Clover and the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon

My adoration of clover patches goes back to childhood.

Family stories said that my dad use to discreetly drop the change out of his pockets into our postage stamp sized front yard and then claim the yard as magic. Kids up and down the block would be on bended knee looking through the clover and voila – money for bubblegum or sweet tarts appeared. The best kind of magic.

I can’t resist a clover patch. No matter how rushed, I have to take a moment and glance through the ground cover to see if the famed four leafed variety is there.

Always, when I find one, another one or two is close by. Always. Call it the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon (look it up), cognitive research tells us our brain is prejudice to patterns. Once you are introduced to something new, that something is suddenly everywhere.

How lovely it would be if we trained the brain to willingly look for the hidden patterns of beauty in the people around us. Perhaps by being willing to see their divine reason for being, we’d begin seeing it more in others. Grace and compassion would magically ripple out from our expanding world view.

Even though I was too young to have benefitted from his front yard magic show before he died, I like to think he passed on to me that sense of willingness to offer a bit of magic to this global clover patch called our world.

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