The mind, once expanded to the dimensions of larger ideas, never returns to its original size. ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

What My Mother DIDN'T Tell Me About Sex

"Let me tell you 'bout the birds and the bees and the flowers and the trees and the moon up above, and a thing called love." ~ Jewel Akens

That was about the extent of my sex education at home. This song.  And my mother didn't even explain that. Love was a walk in the park from the sounds of it.  When I asked where babies come from she told me "the produce aisle of the supermarket".  For years as a kid I thought the announcement,  "Clean-up in aisle 5" meant to was time for someone to change diapers.

But let's back up for a moment.  Curiosity, exploration and even stimulation of one's self begins as toddlers and preschoolers.  This is where parent's can make sure their little ones get off,  to a healthy start that is.  Don't confuse them.  Teach them the proper names for body parts, and don't try to shame them for playing with themselves.  Tell them it's alright to touch, but should be kept private and not pulled out for public performances.  Your reactions, behaviors and responses are extremely important.  If you keep it low key and matter of fact and the message is - this is perfectly natural.  However - respond embarrassed, angry, begin laughing and you might as well start saving up for the psychotherapy they will require one day.

Mothers need to face the fact that curiosity kills not only the cat but your delusions that kids are clueless. Young children always have and always will play "show and tell" or "doctor" with other children.  Thanks to prudish or holier than hell parents, this is how sex education usually begins.  I, for instance,  knew from early on that boys and girls came with different equipment, but it was "how come" I wasn't sure about.   I just figured that if God punished women by making childbirth so horrible, God punished men by making it harder to aim when peeing.

My mother had issues.  Whether it was a part of her Puritanical upbringing, bad parenting or if something happened to her along the way I'll never be sure.  All I know was she felt the human body was something to be ashamed about, disgusted with, and embarrassed by.  Gotta love religion.

When I was molested at age seven by a neighbor's 17 year old son the subject was quickly sweeped under the carpet. No discussion, answers to questions, support - just shame and silence as usual.  I figured it must have been something I did wrong. In essence, I was victimized twice. First by the neighbor, and then through neglect.

Education about the abuse can be approached in a casual, non-threatening, non-fear inducing manner. Let kids know that have the right to say "stop" or "I don't like this".  Let them know that no one, except their doctor in your presence, should be touching them and that they should immediately tell you  if this happens. Simple. If you are still uncomfortable, there are children's books on this topic designed to help you get the message across without too much discomfort.

As I reached my teen years and began dating, still nothing was said. By then I was stealing my brother's girly magazines for answers.  Let's see - open communication with mom or Playboy Forum. I knew darn well the first choice was out so the second had to do. Talk about distorting one's perceptions about sexuality. Too many moms out there figure they'll tip toe around the subject unless they are confronted with questions.  If you wait that long, it's usually already too late.  Someone with far less knowledge has already opened the proverbial can of worms.  You have to ask yourself, will it really kill you to address the subject or would you rather your daughter begin learning from a teenage boy instead.

Avoidance of the topic led to a near death experience. Yes, you heard me - "near death".  I, like any normal teen, had discovered the pleasures of masturbation when I discovered alternative uses for our back massager.  Unfortunately, I ended up with an UTI.  Being the discomfort was "down there",  I wasn't about to discuss this matter with anyone.  Big mistake!  Over the course of a couple of weeks it led to a double kidney infection with permanent damage.  I ended up in the ER in septic shock.  That all could have been easily avoided. All I can say is  - Moms, take note! Your embarrassment over personal matters may have far more serious implications than you think.

My mother finally broached the subject when I was age 16 years old.  I'll never forget it. With a face as red as a lobster she began by asking me if I knew the difference between boys and girls.  I cracked up and told her I had figured that out back at age 4.  She went on to say that sex was a horrible thing that women must endure for the sake of having a baby, and then gave solid advice on how to use the "I've Got a Headache" or pretending to be asleep manuevers.  Well at least I knew she had actually had sex on 4 occasions, having been pregnant four times.  Then there was the story about her honeymoon night.  She wore a floor length flannel nightgown, long underwear and knee socks and not because it was cold.  Then as an added measure, she hid my father's glasses.   I cried hearing this.  I'm not sure who I felt more sorry for - her or Dad. 

I may have been painfully innocent, but I wasn't dumb.  I knew sex was a beautiful expression of love and intimacy between a man and woman.  Even though I was a certified "virgin" (unlike most my peers), I had managed to run the bases and perhaps even explored the outfield.  But this girl was not ready to go for the grand slam with just anyone.  Fortunately my boyfriend at the time (a puppy love with a guy who would eventually dump me to become a priest) was empathetic to my situation and supplied me with the book his father gave him, "Everything You Wanted to Know About Sex But was Afraid To Ask" by David Rubin.  Finally!  The real deal.  Although the coming attractions looked tantalizing, I was willing to postpone the game for the right moment and the right person.

Mom might have thought (in her own warped way) that she was protecting me from evil, but it had the complete opposite effect on me.  Therefore, when it came to raising my own kids, I was open and honest (in an age appropriate fashion), letting them know that sex and everything related to it, is a natural part of the human body's functioning.  I taught them that, just as with every other aspect of our health, we need to be responsible and respectful for it's maintenance and care.  Keeping an open dialogue, my son and daughter felt comfortable asking me anything and telling me more than I really needed to know.  But, for this I was grateful.  Today, they are both grown adults and well adjusted.  We never had any unexpected issues or problems in this area.

Parent's need to realize it's not what they know that hurts them - it's what they don't know that will. Withholding information, breeds fascination. That forbidden apple will always attract trouble. 

I know my case was an extreme example, however, I hope it serves to enlighten those who rather avoid the subject or want to believe that simply demanding abstinence is fool proof.  Religion is not a substitute for birth control nor does it guarantee moral behavior.  Just look at statistics -  the state with the highest use of on-line pornography subscriptions is Utah.  The state that represses sex education most fervently is Texas.  It also has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy. All in all - pornography is most prevalent among among Conservatives and the red states. Tells you something.  Doesn't it.  

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Signs - Intuitive & Helpful IF You Listen

I wrote an article recently about "signs" - the intuitive sort.  As I said they are all around us all the time if you just pay attention. The ones we tend to take for granted and overlook are the most important of all. You know, the mysterious ones, nagging at us to warn us of things to come. 

I'll admit, we were not much different than the next person, thinking that you have to be careful not to get too bent out of shape over such silly happenstance. However, when they come at you hard and fast in unfortunate but humorous ways (at least now, looking back) it left us asking ourselves - WHY THE HELL DIDN'T WE LISTEN?

For instance, when my husband and I first married he was invited for an interview at a company down in  North Carolina.  Mind you this was 25 years ago. Things were a bit different back then.  The area was not as highly developed as it is these days.  Being young, with an opportunity to go off on our own, buy our first home and establish ourselves in a new place was very enticing.  So without further ado, we flew down to check the opportunity out.


The first sign occurred during the flight down there. It had been smooth sailing until we reached the Tarheel State. That's when the turbulence began. The plane felt as if it was a toy being tossed around in midair.  Looking out the window the sky turned black, with lightening flashing all around us.  We finally reached our destination without a moment to spare. The airport was shut down and on high alert as a tornado passed through the area. Not exactly the welcoming party we were hoping for.  I had a bad feeling about this.

That night after a successful and promising interview, his possible future boss took us out to dinner accompanied by his wife.  I knew the moment I saw his cold, steely eyes that there was something about this guy I really didn't like, but my husband was excited about the prospects so I put on my best smile and went along for the ride. But I couldn't help but think - this is a MISTAKE!


All throughout dinner this bastard verbally abused his wife, drinking like a sieve and becoming more obnoxious with each passing moment.  It didn't take a psychic to detect that this was a real bad sign.  If he's this way in public with his wife, chances were he would be an outright  *#!$*  to work for.  Later that night, I told my husband that this was more than just a case of me getting bad vibes. THE MAN WAS A SOCOIOPATH!  He, however, wrote it off as personal marital issues that would not necessarily influence his professionalism on the job. After all, he had quite a reputation within the company. Yeah? For what?

That night I had nightmare.  This guy was creeping through the hallways of the company with an ax in hand, calling my husband's name and saying "Here's Johnny!" (Jack Nicholson - "The Shining")  No kidding, this was another unquestionable red flag that this would be a BIG MISTAKE.

We went house hunting the following day and found the perfect home.  Come on! It had a hot tub on the deck and was on a cul-de-sac no less!  Okay, so I admit - material things can blindside me a little. I quickly forgot about my earlier reservations.  I was excited and already planning on how I would decorate the place.  My husband now admits, he was beginning to have doubts, but I was so excited about the stupid house that he didn't want to let me down.  Sure - now go all generous on me why don't you? He called and accepted the position and we flew home to begin the ordeal of packing up our lives.


One night, a week before the move, we went out to run an errand.  It was a dark, and foggy night. The roads were wet from a light rainfall, reflecting the streetlights. We sat, waiting for the signal to change.  That's when I peeked into the rear view mirror and noticed a car rapidly approaching us. As it drew closer, it became evident that the driver had no intention of stopping.  I let out a scream to warn my husband, but it was too late. It rammed into the tail end of his brand new Honda Accord at 45 miles per hour, pushing us into the middle of a fortunately empty intersection. The trunk of the car was now about six inches shorter and crumbled up in the air. Although drivable, it was totalled.  Luckily we were unharmed except for burns and bruises from the seat belt.

Pulling out of the road and into a parking lot we called the police and waited.  Looking down at the rear end of the other car, my jaw dropped.  This guy was from - where else?  Any guesses? NORTH CAROLINA.  But hell - that's a one in fifty chance - right?  After the cops arrived we also learned he was drunk, uninsured and driving a car he stolen from his ex-girlfriend who was also uninsured. Things were definitely not looking good.   We should have known by now that we were making a VERY BIG MISTAKE, but.... it would take a much bigger sign than the previous ones to be convincing. I've got to learn to be careful about what I ask for.


All packed up and ready to move the following morning we finally went to bed. Actually it was our mattress which was lying on the floor of the basement family room at my parents house, but a place to rest our heads nonetheless. Now realize, my husband can sleep through anything, and I mean anything! So, when the thunderous roar and vibrations began in the middle of the night, I tried to wake him without any success. I felt like we were floating on a raft on a stormy sea. The noise was so loud I thought the furnace was blowing up. Either that, or a train was passing under us, only there weren't any trains out in the burbs.  Immediately I ran upstairs to my parents room to see if they had experienced the same thing, you know, just to make sure I wasn't losing my mind.

They were both awake and listening to the radio and TV.  Hmmm.  Maybe I was sane after all!  "What the hell was that", I asked?  My mother looked at me and said, "We just had an EARTHQUAKE!"  This would have made sense if we were living in California, but Connecticut? You've got to be kidding! This was definately a first! Now I was officially freaking out. Talk about big signs! It doesn't get much bigger than that! The forces were saying, "Man! What does it take to get your freaking attention?!?" I was just waiting for the four horsemen to pull up into the driveway. I was now certain - WE ARE MAKING A HUMONGOUS MISTAKE!

Still my husband wasn't totally convinced. Damn scientists!  Not a lick of sixth sense! That morning the movers finished loading the truck.  We kissed my parents goodbye, hopped into my car and began our decent into the BOWELS OF HELL.

At first things seemed - alright. The house was great, the neighbors nice, and all in all I thought that just maybe, I had been mistaken about this "sign" business.  My husband didn't have to start work for a couple of weeks so we settled in and tried to get familiar with the area.

First day we stopped at the local hardware store to pick up some supplies.  The clerk turned to us and bluntly asked, "So... are ya'll Yankees or DAMNED YANKEES?"  We asked what the difference was. He  looked us in the eye and said, " It all depends on whether ya'll are passing through or planning on sticking around."  That wasn't a sign, that was a bitch slap. So much for Southern Hospitality!

The next day we foolishly took a drive out into the boondocks which were approximately 5 miles away in every direction.  Running low on gas we stopped at a station. It had antique pumps and looked eerily like Gomer Pyle's station in Mayberry on the "Andy Griffith Show". I was just waiting for Opie to walk by with his fishing rod and had the urge to snap my fingers.

Outside was a line of American made pick-up trucks complete with gun racks, confederate flags and hunting hounds.  I don't know why, but I had a real bad feeling about this.  It may have started when we walked inside to pay. The air was thick with cigarette smoke and a bunch of good old boys were playing pool.  This double wide trailer was a multi-functional establishment. It was a gas station, the pool hall, the local watering hole, the barber shop, and the Sheriff's office.  Trust me, all the "signs" were hanging right there - above the door when we entered.

The guy behind the counter asked how much fuel we had pumped. The moment my husband opened his mouth, all pool sticks simultaneously hit the floor with a loud thud and the joint fell silent. That is all except for the sound of "Dueling Banjos" and a pig squealing in the background. I never saw my husband move so fast. He handed over a fifty dollar bill for our $15.00 purchase, grabbed my hand and didn't wait for change.  We jumped in the car and he tore out of there, leaving behind a cloud of dust.  We decided it was best to stay close to home after that.

His first day of work went well until - Damn! I knew there had to be whipped cream and a cherry on top of this heaping mess. His new boss turned to him and asked, "So, how do you like it down here so far?" My husband replied. "It's quite nice. We're looking forward to being here for a long time." With that his boss let out a maniacal laugh worthy of a low budget horror movie and answered, "Don't count on it!" Baa ha ha ha ha! You know this would be really funny, IF IT WASN'T TRUE!!!!

From there things actually managed to go  - downhill fast. We would have tried to enjoy ourselves more those first couple of weeks had we known what lay ahead of us.

Each day my husband walked into the lab and would say, "Good Morning Ken. How's it going?" A deep shade of red would slowly creep up this guy's neck and face until it hit the top of his head and a train whistle would pop out steaming and yelling, "I'm your f**king boss! I'm a f**king PhD! Don't ask me how it's going! I know how it's f**king going!" (this is not an exaggeration except for the train whistle) My husband had fun with this and couldn't help but start each morning off with this shameless routine. After all, it just didn't seem to f**king matter anymore.

I like to say that by some miracle things improved, but they never did.  We began to get the message when our American Flag was shot to bits on the Fourth of July, or when one neighbor, born and bred in the area, threatened to burn a cross on our lawn if he caught talking to "them other folk" - our neighbors of a different racial background from us and our only true friends.  But when we took our son to day care and saw a decoration on the wall made by the teacher we knew there was no way we were going to remain down there much longer. There were a rainbow of balloons decorating the wall. Beneath it were cut out letters made from construction paper spelling - BALUNES. And no - they were not teaching foreign languages. It was clear that while schooling was mandatory, education was non-existant.  At the time, teachers had a, illiteracy rate of over 40%. Scary!

I guess the final straw came when we found ourselves sitting on the back porch one night, drinking beer and watching the bug zapper light up, scoring the blasts as if it were the Olympics. We were officially becoming red necks.  That and the fact that our son began speaking in a  thick, slow southern drawl calling the thing holding up his pants a "buylt".  It was time to get out of there.  Fortunately, my husband's former company had an opening and was more than happy to rescue us.  We packed up and moved to New York. Alright, it still wasn't New England, but it was a big improvement. We taught our son to say "Hey! Yo Man!"

So after enduring 1 1/2 years of an eye opening experience,  we packed up and moved (almost) home to a place where a Yankee is a Yankee and can be damned proud of it! We learned our lessons and now knew to watch for hints of trouble and to heed the warnings - wherever they come from. It never hurts to obey those signs. They are there for a reason!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Signs at the crossroads of Reality and Faith

Signs.   They surround us all the time.   Billboard ads,  public announcements, traffic signs, yard signs, business signs.   However, the ones I'm more interested in are far more personal in nature;  the vast array of vague perceptions that light when encountered, light up the brain.   They may take us back to a special place, moment or person.   They may contain messages that move or inspire us or answer our questions.   They have the ability to lift us when we are down or motivate us when nothing else in the world seems able to.

Most of us ignore these often subtle cues or even go as far as denying they even exist.  Some, however, are keenly in tune with them and know that in our heart of hearts they have meaning.  The connection is made and your mind and soul respond, flooded with emotion as all senses are momentarily put into high gear. They speak out to you like a commanding and bold leader taking the helm, jolting you to attention, calling you to action.

For instance, I came up with the idea for this post early this morning.  I had asked myself in resigned apathy, "What can I possibly write about?"  After suffering a dry spell of writer's block, I feared yet another day mired with white space and mental exhaustion, when suddenly an unexpected spark ignited a flame.  I sat down in my office and began putting my thoughts together. 

Turning to my husband, I ran ideas by him for some feedback.  With me being more philosophical and intuitive in nature and him scientific and analytical this usually plays out like a Tango between our minds, passionate and resistant at the same time.  I took the lead, fervently arguing my position while he kept me at arms length, dismissing "signs" as nothing more than mindless happenstance.   For a moment I felt as though he had knocked the wind from my sails, leaving yet another idea adrift at sea.  Then it happened. I opened up Twitter and the first Tweet I read said it all.

For he who has perception, a mere sign is enough. For he who does not really heed, a thousand explanations are not enough. ~ Haji Bektash
Alas - a sign.

Signs come to us in an endless array of fashions.  Some may be delicate and elusive, while others can hit us like a ton of bricks.  They bring all sorts of messages, whether it be the good fortune of finding a four leaf clover or lucky penny, a song that brings back a memory, or an inexplicable experience with far deeper meaning, that leaves you wondering where the true line between reality, faith and imagination lies.  While being obsessed with signs may be a sign in itself of a serious condition,  the occasional break from rational thinking opens us up to a world of possibilities and keeps us in touch with our inner voice and beliefs.

For example:

My father, age 83, was in a nursing home following a rapid decline in his health.  He had been suffering from complications of prostate cancer and radiation treatment and hospitalized several times, but always managed to bounce back, but this time was different.   We all knew the end of his time with us was near.  Standing by his bedside and speaking through my tears, I told him how much he meant to me.  At a loss for other words, I asked him to somehow let me know that he was still there in spirit, and to say hello to Mom and my other brother, Jimmy, who had passed when I was 10 years old.  With that he began to struggle to say something, but the medications to keep him comfortable had left him unable to speak.  Mustering up what little strength he had left, he lifted his arm and pointed to a card sitting on a nearby table.  I picked it up and took a look.

On the front was a drawing of a colorful rainbow.  Inside was a signature of someone I didn't know.  Asking questions, I tried to understand its significance, but this only led to frustration on his part.  Shaking his head "no", he reached for it.  Opening it, he tore off a small piece and handed it to me.   There were three simple words, but within them was a gift that I would treasure forever.  In whimsical blue print it said, "Luv Ya Lots!"  I cried, clutching it to my heart, and giving him a kiss on his cheek.  He managed to smile and held my hand before falling to sleep.  That night he slipped into a coma and passed the following day.

The next two days I worked tirelessly compiling a CD of his favorite music to play at his funeral.  This is what he would have wanted.  Upon completion, I signed off the computer and got up to go to bed.  Quite unexpectedly, however, the the file opened up again the music began to play in it's own curious order.  Just four songs out of dozens, but it touched me in a way, I'll cherish forever.

First was "Daddy's Little Girl" by the Mills Brothers, the song he and I danced to at my wedding reception for the traditional father/bride pairing.  I was very moved by the moment, surrounded by a sensation of warmth in an otherwise damp and chilly room.  I could feel his presence as I closed my eyes and danced to the music.  A flood of  bittersweet tears came to my eyes.  Immediately following, was "Smile" by Jimmy Durante; its message could not have been more appropriately timed.
"Smile, though your heart is achin'.  Smile, even though it's breakin'.  When there are are clouds in the sky you'll get by if you smile through your fear and sorrow.  Smile, and maybe tomorrow,  you'll see the sun come shinin' through, for you..."
By then, I began questioning my sanity.  Could this  really be happening?  That's when "Crazy" by Patsy Cline played, a song that once again hit home with an air of uncanniness, not only because it addressed the thoughts running through my mind, but more so, the circumstances surrounding the last time we had heard it play together.   It was his all time favorite song.   We sat at the nursing home listening to musicians that had come in to entertain the residents.   They played this song.  With that, my father turned to me and said, "You know, if I wasn't in this wheelchair, I'd get up there and dance with you."   I took his hand, leaned against him and gently swayed to the sounds.

That night, alone in my living room, I knew I had just been given the greatest gift of all - one last dance with my father; a loving and healing sign that he would never far away.   Then the last song played, yet another Patsy Cline song,  "You Belong To Me" closing our interlude as the music stopped playing as mysteriously as it began.

A sign from my father perhaps?  I'd like to think so, but the skeptic in me cried out - "Come on Susan, get real!  Sorrow and grief must be messing with your mind. There must be a plausible explanation!" Perhaps.....

The next day, my husband, my brother and I went to the florist to order flowers for Dad's funeral.   As we walked across the parking lot a mini-van came came flying out of nowhere, cutting us off in our tracks.  The driver pulled into a spot right in front of where we were standing, got out and ran into the shop.  My first response was outrage over her rudeness, nearly running us over.  But then something caught me eye.   Looking at the license plate I took a deep breath and began crying, but this was not out of grief, but rather joy.  Even my husband and brother could believe their eyes.  The plate read, "LuvYaLots".

Over time, I began to notice all sorts of signs.   Some unusual, some darn right humorous and others hard to explain.  I don't question that several may have been a mere association of an action and thought crossing paths at the same time and colliding,  forming a built in reminder alarm to take time to think about a loved one.

For instance, I grew up hearing the line, "If I had a dime for every time I ..." .  After my father's death, those pesky little coins began popping up in the most unusual places.  Never a penny, nickle or quarter - always a dime, and usually of a year that had special meaning.   There was the day I opened a box that had been sealed for 13 years, cleaning up the basement before moving.   I found a brand new dime inside, lying on the bottom .  Strange. Or the one I came across in the back of the cabinet, hiding under a cup - 1976, the year I graduated.  Or the countless one's I found every time I did the wash, walking down the street, or in my mailbox?  Mere conincidences I'm sure, but one that got my attention and would give me a moment of reflection.  Of course, the one that came rolling down the hallway and landed at my foot while I was alone at home took me by surprise.  Its date - 1958, the year I was born.   However, I've come to accept that strange things that defy common sense are not unheard of.

Signs.  They are right there in front of our eyes.  All we have to do is listen to that gut feeling, that hunch, that feeling that someone is tapping on you shoulder saying, "pay close attention!"

I'll never forget the first day that the lottery began in town.  My father was planning to go into a shop after our lunch at a restaurant across the street to "play the numbers".  He asked of us, "Give me four single digit numbers."  I instinctivly turned over my plate.  On the bottom was "9763" and I yet again strongly felt  - this was another sign.  He said, "Okay. But let's change the last number to "0".  Well, that's how much he won.  Zero dollars. Needless to say "9760" did not come up, however, "9763" did!  He learned that day to listen when I had a feeling about things.


It was the year of the Royal Wedding of Charles and Diane.  Like the rest of the world, I was glued to the TV, but rather than enjoying the moment, I found myself more and more disenchanted.  At the tender age of twenty three I had become completely disillusioned with the dating scene.  I felt like a dog chasing it's own tail.  It was getting me nowhere.  Deep inside I had a feeling that my Prince Charming, my Mister Right was somewhere out there, but how to find him was beyond me.

Then one morning, while getting ready to leave for work,  I heard something that made me stop in my tracks.  A relationship therapist was being interviewed on the morning news show.  The anchorman asked, "So where does one go if they are looking to meet that special someone?"

In reply, she looked at the camera and said, "Girls, if you want to meet Mr. Right quit hanging out at the local pick up joints.  Join a fitness center instead."   I realized that this was nothing more than a strange coincidence, but I figured it wouldn't do any harm if I gave it a try.  So I pulled out a telephone book and looked through the yellow pages.  There were big, glitzy ads boasting of state-of-the-art equipment, saunas, hot tubs, classes, etc...  But one small listing caught my eye.  It was small gym, extremely basic and across town in a industrial park.  But for some reason, I knew that it was the right place.  That night I stopped in, signed up and began working out.

Towards closing hour, I was completing my last set of reps, when a guy walked by me on his way out the door.  I looked up and he smiled at me and said "goodnight".   The following night we sat down and talked until closing.  We went out on our first date a few days later.  It turned out that we had crossed paths time and time again without knowing it, and had so much in common that it was uncanny to say the least.  Our conversations from the start felt more like two friends that were anxiously trying to get caught up with all that had gone on during time spent apart. Since that night, we have not been apart.  He still smiles and says goodnight after being together for 32 years.


It may be a song, or something uttered by a stranger on the subway, a familiar scent or words in a book. Needless to say, there are reasonable explanations for these subtle reminders, those gut feelings, when followed, that lead you to you whatever it is you are looking for.  And believe me, there are plenty of people out there who are analyitically inclined, that will gladly help you find them. 

However, maybe we should just enjoy them for what they mean - to you.   Be it a message from a loved one the other side, an angel looking over your shoulder, a religious revelation, a muse or simple intuition at work - they give us pause to think and throw care into the wind, allowing inspiration to flow from mysterious, hidden places sometimes with in surprising results.  Not everything needs to be explained.  Sometimes it's better just to experience, trust and take heed.