Reflecting on some of the highlights of your life, how many did you actually plan? We have a tendency to think it’s up to us to make things happen, but if you sit back and ponder just how you met the love of your life, or just how you came upon that job of your dreams, or how you got into the sport that you most enjoy or whatever those parts of your life are that you value, often you will notice that they found you.
Life happens in a series of small, seemingly inconsequential, moments. You might bump into someone in a line waiting for coffee and start a conversation that gives you an idea, or see a billboard that reminds you to look into something you’d forgotten, or hear from an old acquaintance you’d just been thinking about. It’s like we participate in a treasure hunt of our subconscious making, each clue leading to another, and eventually to those things we really want in life.
Of course, you have to be open to possibilities or you miss the clues entirely. How often are you absorbed, completely focused in your mind on something that just happened, or something you need to do? Think about those times when you are running in to get one or two much needed groceries, or posting a letter or some other errand. How often do you see people totally focused in their devices, or the thoughts in their mind? They may even look at you, you smile, but no one is home.
I try to take a walk on the beach regularly, blow out the cobwebs and reconnect with nature and the world around me. When I get there it amazes me how many people don’t even get out their cars. They sit, device in hand, absorbed, not even looking at the ocean.
Then there’s those on the beach, with stiff posture, in a hurry, not tuned in to the beauty that surrounds them at all. It really stands out when someone looks towards you, open, smiling, nodding “good day”. Open to possibility, to the serendipities in life, to the beauty of the nature around them.
For example, there are a reasonably good selection of shells that get washed up on our shores here, and one day I was thinking how great it would be to find the kind of large shells I imagine you find on more exotic shores. Then as I looked down I saw a coiled shell about the size of my hand.
Excitedly I picked it up, it was in perfect condition but it had an inhabitant, so I threw it back in the ocean. The very next day I found another, this time empty, and was thrilled to share it with the kids when I picked them up from kindergarten. They loved listening to the sound of the ocean.
A small moment, but a powerful one that demonstrates how quickly things can show up for us when we aren’t resisting them. It was, in the scheme of things, relatively unimportant to me that I find a shell like that, and I had no strong beliefs about whether I would or wouldn’t, I just thought it would be a bit of a kick.
If we can remain that unattached to the big things in life we think we want, you can be sure they would show up just as quickly. Often we get too wedded to a specific outcome, person or plan on which we hang our happiness. The more we want it, the more we feel its lack and it continues to elude us.
My partner has been contemplating his future for a while, having worked in the same trade all his life, he’d love to move more broadly into property development. For a long time he got frustrated, waiting for our income to surpass our outgoings, to allow for savings towards a deposit for a house and an additional home loan.
That is one way, but there are others. As time had gone by, we had kids, I’d moved out of the corporate world, he had begun to feel the dream was unattainable. One night we had a “if money wasn’t an object” conversation, something we hadn’t done much of since having the kids, and did some dreaming.
In the last couple of months, a few things have shown up, a retired relative looking for an investment, a customer looking for a property to invest in and someone to do the work, a contractor planning to retire who does renovations. None are currently tangible solutions but they are all moments that have opened his thinking, and hope, about other possible ways forward.
Nothing is impossible, unless you believe it. Everything is possible if you approach life in as open a way as you can as much of the time as you can. Being open to possibilities in your life will bring you the things you want a lot quicker.
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