Ruminations of a Red Dirt Hussy

January 17, 2012

Serendipity

Filed under: General — Vadasmaker @ 2:28 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

The thing about serendipity is that you have to pay attention. You also have to accept the idea that discoveries by chance can produce positive changes that thirty years of psychotherapy couldn’t. Not that I’ve had thirty years of therapy. Or know anyone who has. Or have experienced positive changes. Not this week, anyway. The next best thing to actually changing (because change is scary) is thinking about changing (not so scary).

I’ve spent a lot of my life oblivious (mostly when I’m driving, according to some people who just criticize, criticize, criticize), or paying attention to the wrong things. However, reality has intruded often enough that I’ve noticed how much time I’ve spent dithering.  I may not be moving, but my mind is flinging itself around like a bird trying to get out of the garden center at Home Depot. That bird is not going anywhere but by accident, which is exactly how it got there. I said all that to say that without direction I’m pretty useless. Lessons I learn usually have to be come serendipitously.

A couple of days ago I went to—not Sunday School. Little kids do that. I went to a class before church. On Sunday.  With adults.  I have to make a decision every Sunday to get dressed, get in the car and go. Because I have things to do. I’m a very busy person. But I went, and although it was interesting and thought provoking, as always, I’m usually so busy worrying about what I need to get done that I can’t remember what we talked about, even though I was definitely there. Sometimes, though, I get a takeaway, something I apparently needed to hear, or it wouldn’t have stuck. This time, that takeaway was the benefits of taking a few minutes out of the day to be still, to meditate, if that’s the way you want to put it.

I’ve blown that advice off about 37 million times, even when I was paying somebody for to give it to me. This time, something I’d done the day before reinforced the need to slow down—be still, yeah, but also to take note of the people around me.

Saturday I went to my uncle’s funeral. He was 89, married 64 years to my mother’s oldest sister. It was a good funeral, as funerals go. We laughed as much as we cried. There was no last minute plea (threat) for all us heathens (non-fundamentalists) to rush to the altar lest we be carried off to Hell.

Mostly, it was about Uncle Joe, about what a character he was. I’ve known him all my life, but that was just one of the many things I didn’t know about him.

I didn’t know he had an Indian motorcycle when in his teens. I didn’t know he wrote poetry. I didn’t know how he doted on my aunt. I didn’t know about his love of really, really strong coffee, his woodworking skill, his unending hospitality, the way he took his time in everything he did—in short, I didn’t know squat about my Uncle Joe.

I wasn’t close to him as a child, but that ship sailed a really long time ago. I left home at 15, pulled my head out in my thirties, and learned how to move on soon after. I’ve had plenty of time to get to know him, but I didn’t. I didn’t because I’m always running off to do something. I fritter away time because I won’t make lists and I won’t make lists because I lose them and I lose them because I’m always running off to do something.

You know, blithering your way through life takes a lot of time. And we only have so much of that—it’s not a renewable resource. If you’re not making connections with other people, especially people important to you, your time is wasted.

So, I’m not saying I’m changing. But I’m thinking about it.

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6 Comments »

  1. What a terrific message, and you do such an excellent job of saying it. We so often hear what we ought to do–like we have no choice in the matter–until we start shying away from things we might like, but sound to much like those ‘oughts’. I’ve been working several years now on legacy biography type projects, and over and over again as I interview people I hear, “I should have recorded them talking to me when I had the chance, but you hear those stories over and over and think you’ll remember them and you don’t.” or I hear, “I always liked spending time with him/her, but things always got busy, and now I wish I’d done more.” Sounds like you’ve recently gotten a dose of the latter, but don’t feel too bad about it–we all do it–just see it as your own personal epiphany, and see where it leads. I tell my husband, there’s always “woulda, shoulda, couldas” that we can feel guilty over, but we can’t change the past. We can only make the future better.

    Thanks, Carol, really enjoyed this post.

    Joan

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    Comment by Left-Brained Business for Write-Brained People — January 17, 2012 @ 3:14 pm | Reply

  2. Just considering that you might allow for the possibility of maybe slowing down is a good choice. Action often follows consideration, especially when you’ve been made aware twice in two days that the universe is speaking to you.

    I love meditating, That and Tai Chi. Yup, like old people in the park. I need my alpha state fix at least once a day, or my mind flits like yours, not good for myself or other living things. I just had to get over being afraid I’d look like old people in the park. And it’s cheaper than therapy.

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    Comment by Michelle — January 17, 2012 @ 7:53 pm | Reply

  3. In what I do to find the money to pay the bills, we have what I term “negative serendipity” – when something at first seems to fit and make sense and you run with it and make decisions based on the connection only to find out that the supposed connection was just randomness and that the drop of water may just as well run off the other side of the hand the next time. Unlike the positive type, negative serendipity does not need attention to take over – it does that well enough on its own

    So I am jaded. You insights make me smile. Thanks Carol

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    Comment by petriesan — January 17, 2012 @ 10:01 pm | Reply

  4. Carol…the last paragraph is oh so true….that is why…though far away and many years inbetween…I try to stay connected….my time is never wasted sending you a note…I can feel my arms around you in a big hug….Lily

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    Comment by Lily — January 19, 2012 @ 11:29 pm | Reply

  5. I love the way you share your circling thoughts as you come to a conclusion — very human and very nice. And I agree. 🙂

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    Comment by janmorrill — January 23, 2012 @ 8:41 am | Reply


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