Life is full of surprises.
The struggle with life results from trying to control conditions beyond your capacity. We feel we are in control because it gives us command over our lives. Yet, unseen forces are at work in the background which include: karma, conscious and unconscious thoughts and free will.
Struggling is pointless because it doesn’t change outside circumstances, it makes matters worse. You get caught up in negative emotions instead of cooperating with life.
“When we look deeply into our fears, we see that, at base, every fear is a fear of not having control,” writes author and psychotherapist David Richo in The Five Things We Cannot Change: And the Happiness We Find by Embracing Them.
It’s no secret; life is full of surprises when you least expect it. Some thrive in these conditions, yet others need to maintain control since they cannot cope with what life throws up.
Think back to a time when something unexpected left an indelible mark on your life.
Perhaps it was chance meeting with someone who later became a romantic interest or landing your dream job through a series of unforeseen circumstances.
Whatever the case, as the late John Lennon sang in Beautiful Boy: “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”
I worked in the fashion industry over a decade ago, having graduated with a degree in fashion design. Three years prior to that, my ambitions were to work for a fashion house in my city.
I recall sending countless letters enquiring about work opportunities. I was happy to volunteer my time to be amongst the people and products the company was known for. They were the Google of the time for whom everyone wanted to work. Regrettably, I received numerous replies stating there were no available positions, thanking me for my interest.
Years later, following my graduation, a letter from the marketing manager arrived asking if I was still interested in working there.
An assistant position had been created, and she felt I was perfect for it. I jumped at the opportunity and was offered the job at once. This transpired following my degree, just when I was looking for employment.
I did not expect the circumstances to develop as they did and it was a wonderful surprise.
I remained at the company for six years. In that time, the marketing manager resigned following the birth of her daughter and I was offered her position since I knew the job well.
Create Space for Wonder
I enjoy this passage by authors Charlene Belitz and Meg Lundstrom in their book: The Power of Flow: Practical Ways to Transform Your Life with Meaningful Coincidence, “Flow is effortless because when we learn to swim with it, its currents move us easily, smoothly and gently through life. Our stress, struggle, and uncertainty drop away, and our joy, peace, satisfaction, happiness, and effectiveness increase.”
Life will surprise you if are open to possibilities, without knowing how things will occur.
Whilst expectations are good to have, don’t be bound by them since something better could unfold in the background. Struggle ensues when you expect life to develop in a particular way. Suffering results from your resistance to what “IS” happening.
“I like the serendipitous surprises of reality.”— Lawrence Wright
That doesn’t mean you are ambivalent or do not care. Rather you are less attached to outcomes, given your passive state of anticipation.
Here’s something illuminating. No one knows what they’re doing. We’re all making it up as we go along. There’s no roadmap revealing the future. All we can do is make informed choices based on our level of awareness and hope it lays the foundations for what will unfold.
“Wanting life to be other than it is seems to be the most basic form of resistance,” states author Ezra Bayda in: The Authentic Life: Zen Wisdom for Living Free from Complacency and Fear.
Many complain of being stuck in a dead-end job or an unfulfilled relationship. Yet, the moment life brings a surprise, they are unhappy because it was not what they expected.
What I’m proposing is to create space for wonder. Don’t be attached to how it will occur but consider it as a possibility.
The Obstacle is the Way
As long as you are making informed choices, you are guided by universal intelligence and your greater self. So, you needn’t run away from your life and day-to-day living. There are surprises in every moment that will transform your life if you dare to peak behind them.
“Saying yes to reality — to the things we cannot change — is like choosing to turn around and sit in the saddle in the direction the horse is going,” avows author David Richo.
It took an unfortunate illness long ago and losing my father to wake up to life’s hidden wonders. Up til then, I was holding on to unrealistic expectations of how life should be and those events proved to be shattering and life affirming.
Don’t wait until tragedy strikes before you realise there’s more to life. Many glimpse at the beautiful moments only to be overshadowed by pain and suffering. Such moments unravel from your hands because you devote your attention to what is looming next.
I’m often asked, what were my greatest lessons since those two tragedies?
My reply: I awoke from my sleep and became intimate with life as though she were a romantic partner, instead of a friend I call on every once in a while. So stop bemoaning your present conditions. The obstacle of your fear is leading you to your greatest triumph if you drop your resistance to how life should be.
“When the mind isn’t clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best moment of your life,” states Ezra Bayda.
Untangle yourself from expectations, since this delays what is likely to evolve. Stop judging conditions as good or bad, and simply allow the pieces of the puzzle to emerge.
Be patient above all else.
It is only then you will realise life has been supporting you, though you’ve been pushing her away like a jealous lover.
Be open to what comes your way and use it to lay the foundations for each chapter of your life.
Soon enough, you will appreciate life is one big surprise and you’ve been covering your eyes all this time, unable to appreciate what has been given to you.