Archive | Universal serendipity RSS feed for this section

Pressed: 52 Weeks Begin Now: Week Thirty-Nine: Creating the Grand Adventure

6 Aug

52 Weeks Begin Now: Week Thirty-Nine: Creating the Grand Adventure.

IMG_7181

Getting on the Train: My recent move to the Comox Valley to live on my own in a new culture, and in a paradise setting, has taught me three things. I can do it. Secondly, that it is not exactly where I want to be at this time in my life, and thirdly, I am not living out my true potential in my major career (although I appreciate my good fortune in having such a good job in the Comox Valley, and I enjoy some of this work very much). I am at a critical turning point. Pender Island, the cottage that I bought in tandem with moving to BC to work as an administrator, was clearly the right decision. This has become a place where I will set down some roots and return to it time and again, as my little sanctuary for as long as I can afford to do so.

My friend, who recently visited my cottage, left me with an interesting quote that she found from watching the movie The Lunchbox: “Sometimes the wrong train takes you to the right station.” To some degree I feel similarly to the lead character in the movie. I have gotten on a train, and am confident that this was a good step towards getting towards where I need to be (although I am not exactly sure of my destination). At least I got on a train, as many of us talk ourselves out of doing that because we want guarantees that we are safe in whatever we do. Whereas, life is really a journey. It is about taking a series of steps that head in the direction of our souls, and hopefully, allow us to do what we are called to do along the way so that we live authentic and rich life experiences.

What is the Grand Adventure? It is difficult to describe to someone what a grand adventure actually means. So many of us get into relationships to achieve the outcome of having a relationship. We work at jobs for the satisfaction of achieving our career goals. We have children to raise and launch them into adulthood. In many ways, we go through a series of developmental tasks that help us to experience key personal and professional goals through to fruition in very componential and linear ways.

Whatever the goal, the Grand Adventure is something big, important, meaningful and memorable. It is deemed an adventure because it requires preparation, courage, and possibly, training, to carry it through to fruition. It is something that we will be proud to tell our friends and family, and to look back on with happiness and pride. We will be able to reminisce in the glow of accomplishment, and say, “We did this together!” Or, “We built this!” This memorable lived legacy can be something either internal, external or both.

I believe that a Grand Adventure is something bigger than any one developmental task in our lifetimes. It affords us to have a relationship within a bigger life trajectory. It allows us to consider our career within a larger overarching plan or series of plans. We can then bring our children into a bigger conceptual space about their purpose for being. Rather than simply raising them within some established structures and formative milestones that are typically accepted as “growing up” in our cultures in safe and acceptable ways, we broaden their life experiences through a bigger life vision that often involves building strength, confidence, and helping ourselves and others to be better people.

Vision-Making: The Grand Adventure is something that we can do ourselves, or with others. I believe living out this type of big dream would be most satisfying, albeit, most challenging, to do with a partner. I also think that this is the type of thing that relationships benefit from to help us align our spirits. Living on a shared Grand Adventure requires a kind of vision-making of each partner so that we can first find meaning in our own independent plans, and then in our shared visions. I believe that it is important that both people in partnership own part of the dream so that we feel some shared passion and motivation in fulfilling it. We are co-pilots and rely on each other flying towards our connected dreams.

Essentially, when striking out towards this vision, we each sit side-by-side at our easels considering what colours we will throw onto it, or how we might delicately paint over our blank canvasses. Everyone has a different visioning style. There are no paint by numbers. There are no rules that make one painting right and the other wrong. It is dreaming aloud without any preconceived notions. Writers refer to this as “free writing”. As we create, ideas come into shape, rather than what is typically accepted which is that all things need to have an outline, or clearly measured blue prints.

From time to time, we will peek over at our partner’s painting, and see what is emerging. We give each other space to dream and grow, trusting that we are both committed to building something together and in some synchronicity and on a similar timeline. And then together, we compare our creations. It might be a cacophony of colour, or a clearly rendered painting from a picture held in our minds, perhaps from childhood. Then we consider how the ideas align. What brainstorming needs to occur to make each one independently as beautiful as possible. And then, what happens when we bring them together and merge them? What are even more possibilities when both dreams are combined? The logistics are not the point at this part of the adventure. All that is required is hope, enthusiasm, inspiration and raw courage.

Imagine travelling to a foreign country to work with a non-profit charitable organization to help bring water to communities. Consider what it might be like to climb key mountains in the world that are both beautiful and challenging. What if the grand adventure is to co-author a book while travelling and living somewhere that is unfamiliar and new? What if it looks like sailing from one coast to another and learning to live off of the sea? What if it means living in a community of people working towards the goal of saving an animal or ecosystem that is fragile? Perhaps it is living for a year or two discovering different spiritual practices? What if it might be to research a certain thing or situation and publish the findings? It might be simpler, and could involve setting personal goals of physical well-being or building something tangible that has value to both people and is helpful to others who need this support. What if…? is the type of talk that occurs at this stage.

Living the Dream Aloud: Eventually, the time comes to live it aloud. The architect and the carpenter need to work together to carefully craft what the dream might be. The logistics of how the blocks from the quarry are lifted, cut and crafted together, need to be considered. It takes ongoing communication and disciplined planning in order to see it through so that there is a nice sense of possibility and momentum in its creation. Most importantly, both partners need to share in the leadership. The skill set of each partner is respected, but neither is made responsible for motivating the project. Instead, it is agreed that if it matters to both, both must contribute to its launching. Each must relish in the work and joy that it will bring the partnership. Both must appreciate how to open our arms and abandon ourselves openly to the unknown that happens on every adventure. No one person is left holding the bag, as having a trusting and reciprocal commitment is the key element of a shared adventure. At times, this takes discipline, effort and might require education or guidance from external sources where challenges emerge.

Doing It: Finally, the adventure begins to unfold. It can sometimes happen while it is still being planned, and it might continue and branch off into many directions; but most importantly, it happens. It might not happen exactly as planned. It might become too large or too small, and require revisions along the way. There might be some breaks for rest, or modifications so that both people can sustain the journey. However, again, the point is that there is follow-through. The dream comes to life. There will be a wonderful story to tell before, during and after it happens. I like to believe that the partnership will benefit and grow from the experience, and so will others that we encounter along the way, provided that we act from a place of love and integrity. And then, at the end of the adventure, hopefully we will find that it is really only the beginning of our next adventure together.

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt

Advertisements

52 Weeks Begin Now: Week Thirty-Nine: Creating the Grand Adventure

5 Aug

IMG_7181

Getting on the Train: My recent move to the Comox Valley to live on my own in a new culture, and in a paradise setting, has taught me three things. I can do it. Secondly, that it is not exactly where I want to be at this time in my life, and thirdly, I am not living out my true potential in my major career (although I appreciate my good fortune in having such a good job in the Comox Valley, and I enjoy some of this work very much). I am at a critical turning point. Pender Island, the cottage that I bought in tandem with moving to BC to work as an administrator, was clearly the right decision. This has become a place where I will set down some roots and return to it time and again, as my little sanctuary for as long as I can afford to do so.

My friend, who recently visited my cottage, left me with an interesting quote that she found from watching the movie The Lunchbox: “Sometimes the wrong train takes you to the right station.” To some degree I feel similarly to the lead character in the movie. I have gotten on a train, and am confident that this was a good step towards getting towards where I need to be (although I am not exactly sure of my destination). At least I got on a train, as many of us talk ourselves out of doing that because we want guarantees that we are safe in whatever we do. Whereas, life is really a journey. It is about taking a series of steps that head in the direction of our souls, and hopefully, allow us to do what we are called to do along the way so that we live authentic and rich life experiences.

What is the Grand Adventure? It is difficult to describe to someone what a grand adventure actually means. So many of us get into relationships to achieve the outcome of having a relationship. We work at jobs for the satisfaction of achieving our career goals. We have children to raise and launch them into adulthood. In many ways, we go through a series of developmental tasks that help us to experience key personal and professional goals through to fruition in very componential and linear ways.

Whatever the goal, the Grand Adventure is something big, important, meaningful and memorable. It is deemed an adventure because it requires preparation, courage, and possibly, training, to carry it through to fruition. It is something that we will be proud to tell our friends and family, and to look back on with happiness and pride. We will be able to reminisce in the glow of accomplishment, and say, “We did this together!” Or, “We built this!” This memorable lived legacy can be something either internal, external or both.

I believe that a Grand Adventure is something bigger than any one developmental task in our lifetimes. It affords us to have a relationship within a bigger life trajectory. It allows us to consider our career within a larger overarching plan or series of plans. We can then bring our children into a bigger conceptual space about their purpose for being. Rather than simply raising them within some established structures and formative milestones that are typically accepted as “growing up” in our cultures in safe and acceptable ways, we broaden their life experiences through a bigger life vision that often involves building strength, confidence, and helping ourselves and others to be better people.

Vision-Making: The Grand Adventure is something that we can do ourselves, or with others. I believe living out this type of big dream would be most satisfying, albeit, most challenging, to do with a partner. I also think that this is the type of thing that relationships benefit from to help us align our spirits. Living on a shared Grand Adventure requires a kind of vision-making of each partner so that we can first find meaning in our own independent plans, and then in our shared visions. I believe that it is important that both people in partnership own part of the dream so that we feel some shared passion and motivation in fulfilling it. We are co-pilots and rely on each other flying towards our connected dreams.

Essentially, when striking out towards this vision, we each sit side-by-side at our easels considering what colours we will throw onto it, or how we might delicately paint over our blank canvasses. Everyone has a different visioning style. There are no paint by numbers. There are no rules that make one painting right and the other wrong. It is dreaming aloud without any preconceived notions. Writers refer to this as “free writing”. As we create, ideas come into shape, rather than what is typically accepted which is that all things need to have an outline, or clearly measured blue prints.

From time to time, we will peek over at our partner’s painting, and see what is emerging. We give each other space to dream and grow, trusting that we are both committed to building something together and in some synchronicity and on a similar timeline. And then together, we compare our creations. It might be a cacophony of colour, or a clearly rendered painting from a picture held in our minds, perhaps from childhood. Then we consider how the ideas align. What brainstorming needs to occur to make each one independently as beautiful as possible. And then, what happens when we bring them together and merge them? What are even more possibilities when both dreams are combined? The logistics are not the point at this part of the adventure. All that is required is hope, enthusiasm, inspiration and raw courage.

Imagine travelling to a foreign country to work with a non-profit charitable organization to help bring water to communities. Consider what it might be like to climb key mountains in the world that are both beautiful and challenging. What if the grand adventure is to co-author a book while travelling and living somewhere that is unfamiliar and new? What if it looks like sailing from one coast to another and learning to live off of the sea? What if it means living in a community of people working towards the goal of saving an animal or ecosystem that is fragile? Perhaps it is living for a year or two discovering different spiritual practices? What if it might be to research a certain thing or situation and publish the findings? It might be simpler, and could involve setting personal goals of physical well-being or building something tangible that has value to both people and is helpful to others who need this support. What if…? is the type of talk that occurs at this stage.

Living the Dream Aloud: Eventually, the time comes to live it aloud. The architect and the carpenter need to work together to carefully craft what the dream might be. The logistics of how the blocks from the quarry are lifted, cut and crafted together, need to be considered. It takes ongoing communication and disciplined planning in order to see it through so that there is a nice sense of possibility and momentum in its creation. Most importantly, both partners need to share in the leadership. The skill set of each partner is respected, but neither is made responsible for motivating the project. Instead, it is agreed that if it matters to both, both must contribute to its launching. Each must relish in the work and joy that it will bring the partnership. Both must appreciate how to open our arms and abandon ourselves openly to the unknown that happens on every adventure. No one person is left holding the bag, as having a trusting and reciprocal commitment is the key element of a shared adventure. At times, this takes discipline, effort and might require education or guidance from external sources where challenges emerge.

Doing It: Finally, the adventure begins to unfold. It can sometimes happen while it is still being planned, and it might continue and branch off into many directions; but most importantly, it happens. It might not happen exactly as planned. It might become too large or too small, and require revisions along the way. There might be some breaks for rest, or modifications so that both people can sustain the journey. However, again, the point is that there is follow-through. The dream comes to life. There will be a wonderful story to tell before, during and after it happens. I like to believe that the partnership will benefit and grow from the experience, and so will others that we encounter along the way, provided that we act from a place of love and integrity. And then, at the end of the adventure, hopefully we will find that it is really only the beginning of our next adventure together.

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt

Pressed: 52 Weeks Begin Now: Week Thirty-Six: Coast to Coast Calling

30 Jul

52 Weeks Begin Now: Week Thirty-Six: Coast to Coast Calling.

IMG_7097

Coast to Coast Calling

Impenetrable darkness

The Pacific bonfire questions the night sky
“How bright am I?”

Aurora’s luminescent spirits
hiss at the stars

Thunderbird’s wings
slash open the skies

Forest’s wild flames
scratch the night awake

Cygnus’ crystals in milky galaxies
flicker and fall

Light wars
Merely distractions

The Atlantic waters
quietly phosphorescent
reply

“I see you”

52 Weeks Begin Now: Week Thirty-Six: Coast to Coast Calling

30 Jul

IMG_7097

Coast to Coast Calling

Impenetrable darkness

The Pacific bonfire questions the night sky
“How bright am I?”

Aurora’s luminescent spirits
hiss at the stars

Thunderbird’s wings
slash open the skies

Forest’s wild flames
scratch the night awake

Cygnus’ crystals in milky galaxies
flicker and fall

Light wars
Merely distractions

The Atlantic waters
quietly phosphorescent
reply

“I see you”

52 Weeks Begin Now: Week 28: Sparking Serendipity

24 May

IMG_6622

Bonfires of the Heart: When listening to the song by James Blunt called “Bonfires of the Heart” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1j1qwQQ8-Q) the other day, I realize that our lives are often very much about laying down the paper, kindling and firewood with the hopes that the fire in our hearts will set ablaze when the right situation, opportunity or person comes along. Too often we are searching for exactly what we think will turn us on–that little spark that ignites the flame. I’ve spent much of my life thinking that there is a certain type of person–an alterego, that fits a profile that would be my perfect match. However, when “Mr. Perfect” happened to come along recently, fitting all of the criteria that I had outlined for myself, it ended up being very ordinary, and not longstanding. I got swept away for a brief time, thinking that I knew what I was talking about, and that I had actually found “it”.

Magic Happens: What I learned is that the Universe prefers “magic” to happen instead. It is not satisfied with the ordinary for any one of us, unless, of course, we insist upon it. If we arm wrestle with the powers that be, we will get what we want, and that is often very average dreams embedded in fear-based outcomes that demand assurances and security. However, when we let the universe call the shots, real change and opportunity come alive. This life altering shift is no ordinary change, but it often involves a quake that results in massive “second order change”. Second order change is not about tweaking what we are already doing, but it can sometimes mean blowing up the house and rebuilding it from the ground up. It means that after the earth quake that can shake up our worlds, we have to look down into the faults that have opened up in the earth around us, and let the spirit rise inside of us.

In other words, we have to let ourselves fall back into the abundance that is being offered to us and trust that the spirit will catch us.

Serendipity can be defined as “look[ing] for something, find[ing] something else, and realiz[ing] that what you found is more suited to your needs than what you were looking for” (Lawrence Block). This requires us to shed the expectations that we held up so highly in our hearts in the first place. When we “accidentally stumble upon something truly wonderful, especially while looking for something entirely unrelated” we have to stop and open our hearts to the possibilities. I am finding that the more I shift my own path to the one of my inner calling (a disconcerting process), that serendipitous moments are opening up all around me. I notice them where I may not have paid attention before. They resonate with me to my core.

Recently I met someone who is the type of person who I was attracted to when I was younger. He is not the person that my grown-up persona would assume is my right match. He has not followed my ultra-responsible path, nor is he a duplicate of my polished personal and professional resume. He is instead, this charismatic person with sky blue eyes that pierce through to my soul and ask me questions that I haven’t had the courage to ask myself in a long time. Interestingly, he is from Salt Spring Island which I can see from my Pender cottage. Mount Tuam and Mount Maxwell loom in the distance across the Swanson Channel. Unbeknownst to him, he took me on a couple of our “dates” to explore these vantage points where I can see down on my little island. Fortunately, we are both in love with nature and its healing power. We are joyful souls, disparate in our circumstances, but completely aligned in our intense spiritual connection. Together, we flow into each experience we have the opportunity to share, one to the next, side by side in utterly fluid comfort that is fed by the heart and the spirit. It seems to make “sense” as it unfolds, even when I think it isn’t “sensible”. It ends up reminding me that this is exactly what was intended for me in my life at this time.

Ignoring the Road Signs: When someone touches us in ways that soften our edges and allows us to see ourselves with kinder and more loving lenses, we are being warmed by the bonfires of the universe. It will not burn us if we trust it. It is asking us to step up and get closer to warm our bodies and souls next to the fire that we were meant to experience all along.

For example, when I was younger, I naturally and intrinsically knew exactly what turned me on when it came to the opposite sex. I was closer to my essential self at that time. I had not had years to convince myself of who I was supposed to be, and to be led by my overly-responsibly parenting standards, nor an ego that steered me away from the things that are most important to me. In my early years, I gravitated to the type of people where I could truly be myself which has always been a feisty, sassy girl who liked to speak her mind, dance, play sports, debate, race, enjoy cards at night, listen to music (and actually hear the lyrics), swear on occasion, read and write poetry out loud, appreciate being outside in the middle of the woods (lost sometimes), party late, write often, compose music, crack jokes, laugh a lot, and more importantly, have fun.

I am designed to have fun and what a joy it is to remember how to do so when for so many years, reason stepped in and held up the signs that said any one of these things: “you have things to get done…you are too old for this…you have a child to take care of and launch…you need to be safe…other people need your attention…you might get hurt…make money…be responsible!” In following these road signs, I accomplished a lot, and I don’t have many regrets because I made a solid career for myself, and raised a wonderful son. However, what I forgot was my biggest asset (and one that I hope that my dear friends will remember about me), and that is my ability to abandon myself to joyful moments.

Reminders from the Universe on the Fairway of Life: I believe that we know that we are being nurtured by universal serendipity when all of sudden, something wonderful catches our attention. The essence…taste, smell, look, touch, sound…whatever, take our breath away, and we cannot move. It jolts us awake. In my case, I could not breathe. If I tried to walk away and ignore it, I had a visceral response to the pull. I had to turn around and wonder, “What just happened? Who are you? What is this?” I had envisioned something like it, but when it came along, it caught me by surprise.

Life feels just a little bit differently when something or someone comes along that we are supposed to experience. Some people describe it as falling in love, but I baulk at this description because it implies that we are relying on the “other” for our happiness. For me, serendipity is more powerful than simply a chemical reaction between two people that captivates their attention, and draws them together for awhile. Serendipitous experience involve spirit at a profound level, like a falling into self. In my case, I feel like I can rest into it. When I swing, it follows through. The sweet spot connects, and before I know it, I catch myself looking up a fairway that I didn’t even know that I was playing. There is remarkable joy to see my little white ball landing right in the middle of the green. How did that happen? The universe seems to answer: “It has always been there, and where the hell have you been? It is your turn to putt. Everyone is waiting for you.”

The Spirit Moving
Shelley Robinson

Asynchronously around me
The playlist
Bursts everyone open into flame
A free flow frenzy of dance
I lay pressed to the floor
Shallow breathing
Heart flatlining
Tears trickling
The wooded floor vibrates
Their footsteps recalibrate my soul
I stir, and breathe, and wake
Quietly