Last Sunday, just after midday, I had what I consider to have been an amazing experience. I was down at the east end of Coopers Beach with a wheelbarrow collecting seaweed for the garden. A stream of people arrived at the beach near where I was working. Their numbers grew. I noticed one of them was the pastor of one of our local churches. Next a friend of ours left the group to run over to me. I hadn’t seen her for some months. She exclaimed excitedly that her daughter, whom we’ve known since she was primary school age, was about to be baptized.

I dropped everything to join the group of people, many of them familiar faces, as they approached the water’s edge. The tide was low and the surface was choppy. A cool south-westerly buffeted us. Just as the first of three baptism candidates entered the water shivering in a wetsuit, a flock of several hundred petrels, began feeding all around us. According to Te Ara, The New Zealand online encyclopedia, ‘Petrels are remarkable birds. Most spend their lives at sea and come to land only to breed.’

In the eleven years we’ve lived at Coopers Beach, I have never seen petrels anywhere near the beach. I’ve observed them in the distance from Tokerau Beach. That’s all. This time they were so close you could almost touch them. Even more remarkable was that the birds were sitting on the water’s surface, periodically submerging their heads to catch small fish. The motion was exactly that of the people being baptized.

Storm Petrels

Less than a minute after the third person was baptized the birds had left. It was almost as if they had collectively responded to the obvious excitement of the group of baptismal candidates and their supporters. It felt like a blessing to me.

I don’t believe the above incident was a coincidence. I can’t prove this but there are many books covering the scientific phenomenon outlining the interconnectedness of all beings and things, which goes a long way towards explaining such synchronous events. Dr. Bruce Lipton has two books in our little library: The Biology of Belief and Spontaneous Evolution. Joseph Jaworski has penned an inspiring read called Synchronicity: The Inner Path of Leadership. And, of course, anything by Rupert Sheldrake is worth reading.

Radio host, librarian, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See 

 In Search of Simplicity is now available as an eBook here.

“In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit:

“In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

“The author’s experiments and experiences working with nature simply amaze. . . . Beyond the Search is a treasure trove for those who enjoy planting and reaping as it seems nature intended, with respect for each animal and insect as belonging on the planet and therefore deserving of honour.”

Theresa Sjoquist on Suite 101