Serendipity is the occurrence and/or development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way. Not things we actively search for but things which come to us when we do not expect them.
I have come to believe that things happen in our lives which can be of great benefit to us at the time when we need them AND if we are wise enough, as a good friend once told me, to be open to possibility and to say ‘Yes’.
It wasn’t until just about two years ago that the presence of serendipity in my life became apparent to me.
I finally had the courage to take part in a Fall Watercolour workshop – only 3 years after a friend first invited me to come. I had believed that I was not artistic, that I could not draw or paint, that I had not made it past stickmen. (This was thanks to my grade 9 Art teacher.) I remember how sick I felt the night before the workshop began. I even spoke to the instructor about my fear. In being in that course, I learned that the old stories I had believed about my lack of artistic ability were not true. I could create. The serendipity was that my friend did not stop asking me to consider being part of the weekend workshop. Her first invitation arrived without prompting from me and she continued to invite me and, finally, I was willing to try.
About 16 months ago, I was not happy with the direction my life was taking. I felt I was floundering. The things I had hoped to do once I retired had not come to pass – not through any lack of action on my part but because the opportunity to put them into action had not developed. Openings were not available; the immoveable philosophy of others blocked the creation of programmes I wanted to create for students. And I felt as if my life had no direction – I was not moving forward or backward. I was not moving at all. I felt stuck AND I was angry. AND I was physically sick and emotionally numb. And then, my niece talked to me and suggested that I consider stepping into a programme called ‘Decloaking and Living Authentically™’. (One of my sisters had made the same suggestion about two years before but I was not ready to hear or say ‘Yes’ then.) And when my niece talked to me, it was time and I was open to the suggestion and I stepped into the programme. And my life has changed dramatically since then. My confusion and anger have been replaced by creativity and openness.
I stepped into the Wel-Systems® programmes and found myself – the me I ALWAYS knew was there but whom I had never been able to find. The me I had looked for in therapy and journaling and courses and self-help books. The me that none of those searches had revealed. It strikes me that, through all of the Wel-Systems® programmes, I have finally stopped playing Hide and Seek. I may not have been the first one found (thus being ‘it’) but I know I am definitely NOT the last. To use another metaphor, no more Lost and Found for me. I have definitely not lost mySelf. I have found ME.
And in saying ‘yes’ to that first invitation to take part in the Wel-Systems® programmes, I also had the great joy of becoming part of a dynamic collective of women who feel called to create culture and change their world. I’ve made wonderful friends who will be part of my life always – women who are my sisters irrespective of any biological connection. AND, the best gift of all, is that I have found one of my sisters as I’ve found mySelf. I found my sister whom I had never really had a connection with, whom I did not know, whom I had not understood, and to whom I had never felt I could reveal my true self. Serendipity working its magic.
One Sunday as I was driving home from church, I heard an interview with Breneé Brown on CBC Radio. She was speaking of her research and her book, I Thought It Was Just Me, about women and shame issues. I listened intently to the interview. I knew I had to read that book. Reading it and working through my own shame issues has also helped me jettison so much old emotional baggage. Thanks to Breneé Brown’s books and the programmes I had the wisdom to step into about 16 months ago, I no longer feel weighted down by old story and beliefs. And the lightness of being is joyfully wonderful.
These are the most recent and profound examples of serendipity working in my life. Yet, as I reflect on many of the people who have come into my life or back into my life and the choices I have made, I know that serendipity has been there working behind the scenes all the time. Reconnecting with my best friend 34 years ago after we had not had much contact with each other for about 8 years; seeing the opportunity to work in a different department in the school in which I taught and asking for a change in assignment at the opportune moment; finding a voice teacher by finding her name on the RCMT faculty list and calling her; finding my current teacher by asking another singer who her teacher was and then calling to arrange for lessons; becoming a church choir director because I was in a community choir and found the call for a choir director in the ‘News for Singers’; having the opportunity to investigate founding a private school; having the opportunity to be involved in the founding of a gymnastics club.
I know that there have been many more examples of serendipity working in my life. I am, after all, 62. All of them have been events which I did not seek or which I did not apply effort to cause to come to pass. They have all been things which have happened seemingly by chance but which have impacted my life for the better. My life has changed and been fuller because of these.
As we move through our lives, I believe it is really important to be open to possibility and opportunity. Let the potential for serendipity to happen in our lives be present to us. What we can gain from being aware, open, and saying ‘yes’ is immeasurable.