Life Is Full Of Surprises
“Life is full of challenges and surprises.”— Jil Sander
Struggling with life results from trying to control conditions beyond our capabilities. We believe we are in control because it gives us command over our lives. Yet, there are many 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. We get caught up in negative emotions instead of learning to cooperate with life. It’s no secret; life is full of surprises when we least expect it. Some thrive in these conditions, yet others need to maintain control since they cannot cope with what life throws up. For example, recall a time when something unexpected left a permanent mark on your life? Perhaps it was a chance meeting with someone who later became a romantic interest or landing your dream job.
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 bachelor’s degree in fashion design. Three years prior, my ambitions were to work for a certain fashion house where I live. I recall sending countless letters enquiring about work opportunities and was happy to work for free. They were the Google of the fashion industry and everyone wanted to work for. Regrettably, I received many replies stating there were no available positions and thanking me for my interest.
Years later, following my graduation, I received a letter from the marketing manager from the same company, asking if I was still interested in working there. An assistant position was created, and she felt I was perfect for it. I jumped at the opportunity and was offered the job at once. This happened after finishing my degree, while I was looking for employment. I didn’t expect the circumstances to develop as they did, and it was a wonderful surprise. I remained at the company for six years and in that time, the marketing manager resigned and they offered me her position, since I knew the job well.
Create Space for Wonder
“I like the serendipitous surprises of reality.”— Lawrence Wright
Life will surprise us if we remain open to endless possibilities. Whilst expectations are good to have, we mustn’t be bound by them, since something better could unfold in the background. Struggle ensues when we expect life to develop in a particular way. Suffering results from our resistance to what we expect should happen. I’m not suggesting we become ambivalent or not care about our goals and plan. Rather, we become less attached to outcomes, given our passive state of anticipation. Here’s something illuminating. No one knows what they’re doing. I mean that in the nicest way. We’re all making it up as we go along and there’s no roadmap showing us what the future holds. All we can do is make informed choices based on our level of awareness and hope it lays the foundations for what will unfold.
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 that we create space for wonder and not be attached to how it will occur. As long as we are making informed choices, we are guided by universal intelligence and our greater self. So, we needn’t run away from our life and day-to-day living. There are surprises in every moment that will transform our life if we dare to peak behind them. I am drawn to the quote by author David Richo who writes: “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.”
It took an unfortunate illness long ago and losing my father to illness, 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 both 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. These moments unravel from our hands because we devote our attention to what is looming next. I’m often asked, what were my greatest lessons since those two tragedies? My reply: I became more conscious of creating my life circumstances, instead of believing life was being imposed upon me.
So, stop bemoaning your present conditions. The obstacles you fear are leading you to your greatest triumph, if you drop your resistance to how life should be. 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.