Thankful for serendipity

I can be found everywhere, if you're looking...

Back in 2001, there was a delightful RomCom entitled Serendipity, starring John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale. It was a predictable, yet heart-warming tale of love within the context of fate. The idea that something invisible might pull two people together, with such absolute and undeniable force, left me feeling comforted. Something is watching, and masterfully placing pieces of a puzzle together over time, providing me an outcome I can trust is meant for me. It's a nice idea isn't it? Granted, given time and a hearty helping of life, things can seem less shiny. My context of serendipity, or happy accident, casts a wider net than the limited romanticism of my 20's. When living life through the lense of gratitude, I have started to see a more inclusive manifestation of serendipity. It can be found everywhere, if you're looking.

When happy accidents fall in my lap...

I am a believer in something we counselors call intrinsic locus of control. This simply means, that when I wake up in the morning, I believe I have a say in how my day goes. I can stop for coffee (and I will), but if I get stuck in traffic, or spill the coffee on myself, I don't feel that my day is ruined. I believe I have the capacity to turn it around with my will and intention. A good attitude goes a long way. However, someone with extrinsic locus of control may believe that spilling coffee on themselves, is a sign from the gods that it's going to be a horrible day, and every consequent experience will likely support that theory. Now, you're saying....Audrey, if you have intrinsic locus of control, how can you believe in serendipity? Isn't that an outside force, and not internal will propelling you forward in life? I see your point. But like everything, I believe in balance. Yes, I think I have a huge amount of control in my world to create joy, heal others, and deal with the consequences of not putting my clothes in the drier last night (grumble). However, when happy accidents fall in my lap, I delight in them! I recognize the gift that they are, and soak it up with the belief and understanding that this incident is one of many to look forward to in this lifetime. While many people claim atheism, or agnostic belief systems, I'm not among them. There is something extraordinarily reassuring about the belief that I'm not alone, and someone (or something) is invested in my happiness.

Counted as beyond serendipitous...

How did I come to this conclusion you ask? Well, I suspect that these gifts happen frequently enough, that I don't always pause to notice their significance. However, my gratitude practice has allowed me to take inventory through daily mindful reflection of amazing things that happen in my world! Some of these can be counted as beyond serendipitous (such a fun word to use). Let me reflect on some recent jewels that have graced my life. I would challenge you to do the same!

  1. One of my friends went back to school to get her masters degree, and since she has been in school (again), I haven't seen her as often. I have been knee deep in these murky waters. Heavy workload, papers, presentations, and reading textbooks ad nauseum...it's a flurry of craziness without time for simple pleasures like home cooked meals, or leisurely coffee dates. Fortunately for me, in the last two weeks, I have ran into her twice: at the pet store, and the neighborhood coffee shop. One happenstance meeting I could pass off as coincidence, but two in as many weeks? I'm just lucky. I was graced with multiple hugs, encouraging exchanges, and my tank was filled. Bravo!
  2. Just a few weeks ago, I was feeling a hearty helping of burn-out. Work had been crazy busy, and while writing is the love of my life (next to my daughter), I was feeling stretched between the blog and my efforts at concocting the next Great American something-er-other. Just as I thought I would burst with a case of the cranky-coffee-addicted-Gilmore-Girl-binge-watching-blues, a colleague and friend of mine started a support group for counselors. Phew! After our first meeting, I knew I had met a tribe of like-minded spirits that would not only provide peer support for the challenge of maintaining wellness while swallowing people's problems for a living, but a network of women that "get" the difficulty of managing self-care with empathic personas. I felt beyond blessed. It couldn't have come at a better time! Cha-ching!
  3. In my very early 20's, I had a friend, an actor that embodied artistic flair, sensitivity, and a persistent eloquence that leaves one stunned in his wake. Due to moves, schools, and families, we lost touch...as many friends do. In the last couple of months, we have reunited! At one of our many coffee dates, he shared a concept with me that I ate up like candy. He told me I was part of his book. Huh? Well, here's the sitch. Every person that plays a role in your life, can be one of three characters. A note (passing acquaintance), a chapter (someone present for a short season), or a book (a lifer). When he told me I was part of his book, I perked up like a daisy in a rainstorm. Yes. Indeed we are lifetime friends! Further proven by how seamlessly we were able to pick up where we left off, nearly 20 years ago. He is a true gift.

More beauty is on it's way...

I could honestly write excessively on this topic. The fact of the matter is, we aren't alone. Not in the X-Files, tin foil on your head way either. We aren't alone in this plight we call life. It's more than a series of alarm clocks, bills, and passing seasons. There are some serious nuggets gifted us all, in the in between moments. One of the reasons I preach gratitude to my patients, friends, and my daughter, is because of the sheer joy it evokes. When you see the world through a lense of gratitude, you not only appreciate what you have on hand, but anticipate with absolute assurance, that more beauty is on it's way. Today I am thankful for the gift of serendipity, that provides me with a delightful, yet blatant reminder to be grateful for pretty much everything. Happy Gratitude Tuesday. What are you thankful for?

AM