The Ponder Effect | Are you open to serendipity?
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Are you open to serendipity?

Serendipity has been knocking me over the head the past week. Here’s the recap: One night I did a meditation and the topic was Serendipity. The next day, I was listening to NPR and the topic was Serendipity. That afternoon, my husband flipped open his notebook to share something he had written. The sentence staring back at me: Be open to serendipity.

Wait…there’s more…a few days later, I ran into a woman I admire greatly but seldom get to see, and what did she do in the course of our conversation but credit serendipity for something powerful that had happened. I hadn’t heard the word in years and there it was yelling for my attention, so here I am, asking that we ponder it collectively.

When I reflect back, I recognize that serendipity has been responsible for powerful unfoldings in my life when I have let it. (No telling how many other openings I missed because I was too closed in.) My first and second book projects were products of serendipity. Meeting my husband was. And when I think about my close friends, meeting many of them seems serendipitous, too.

This gets murky. Is everything serendipitous…and therefore nothing? I don’t think so. I think when we are open to certain unexpected gifts the universe sends us, we are able to tap into an incredibly powerful force for good in our lives. Is this code for God’s plan? It may be tied up in it. Could these instances also be explained statistically and therefore be less expressly inspired by a/the divine? Maybe.

I suppose what role serendipity plays in our lives is directly proportionate to how open we are to it. Now there’s a viable case of logic meets magic. What do you think? Are you open to serendipity? How do we go about being open to serendipity? What role has it played in your life?

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11 Ponderings
  • Varina Willse

    January 28, 2018 at 8:18 pm

    The greatest obstacle to experiencing serendipity has to be our phones. We can’t be open to the universe when we have our face in a screen. And yet, social media spaces have been referred to as “serendipity platforms.” Big, unexpected, happy things happen here on the screens we are reading. I guess good can get to us anywhere.

  • Anonymous

    January 28, 2018 at 10:50 pm

    I think concretely and like to have a plan. Creatively, that can be difficult, because I believe serendipity plays a big role in sparking the things that I’m meant to write about … and sometimes it’s difficult to be open. But in the grander scheme of life, I’ve found that my openness to serendipity has played a big part in the major shifts I and/or our family has undergone. How do we go about being open to serendipity? For me, I think a lot of it is about allowing myself to feel a little uncomfortable – not necessarily taking big risks, but small ones. I’ve also found that being really open with people who are not like me can sometimes bring about serendipitous events. You just never know who or what you might stumble upon that will change your life. With three kids, I find it harder now to be open. Life feels hectic, and there’s not much margin for error. Kind of makes me wonder what I’m missing!

  • Anonymous

    January 28, 2018 at 11:53 pm

    Serendipity, fate, chance, miracles — they happen all of the time and often it’s an issue of gratitude. When something serendipitous occurs, do we stop to recognize it? Or do we write it off? My husband and I are reading C.S.Lewis’ Miracles. It reminds us to stop, to look and to recognize that good things don’t just “happen”, everything falls to disorder unless there has been an intelligent interruption. But once good things happen, it is easy to write them off as normal and natural. For me, I want to recognize these for what they are: gifts. I don’t think that means that I will be more blessed, but I think it means that I will feel and experience these “blessings” more.

  • Anonymous

    January 29, 2018 at 4:07 pm

    “…logic meets magic.” Perfect word choices.

    Definitely open to serendipity. Sometimes driving too hard, too fast and on such a focused mission makes me miss exits off the road that could lead to an even better, bigger and more fitting destination. Serendipity is always there, for all of us, but like you said we have to be aware of, slowed down enough to see (maybe there are other weeks you wouldn’t have noticed the word “serendipity” around you in small ways?), and then open to letting it wash over.

  • Anonymous

    January 30, 2018 at 5:40 pm

    I love the quote by Albert Einstein—“ There are only Two ways we can live our lives,
    One is as though nothing is a miracle,
    The other -as though everything is a miracle”!!!
    It just says so much!!! Our lives are full of so many blessings, signs, words, people that are acting as Northern Stars for us – pointing us towards directions we should take in life ! All of it Offering up words of encouragement and hope ! How we are
    Feeling and what we are thinking—- I like to think of some of it as Law of attraction!! What we think about we bring about!! Start to really be aware— just the other day I remember thinking- Gosh, I haven’t seen so and so in so long!! Guess what- she showed up at the restaurant I went to that next day and then at the gas station where I was the next day!!! Accident?? No way!!! And the conversation we got to have – we were so to have meant to see each other!!!
    It makes me so sad to see kids and big kids (adults) running around in mock speed— heads down in screens— missing out on the opportunity to connect with a stranger-
    Or to be aware that certain words or moments hold special meaning —If we are open to seeing it and open to believing it!!
    A favorite thing of mine that became so much fun was being aware of people’s liscense plates and what they said- numerous times I have been in situations where I looked up to see a car stating just what I needed to see and hear!
    It takes letting go of all the planning and organizing of our life that we all do and trusting in moments unfolding in a less controlled space— more room for the magical,serendipitous- God wink moments to unfold right before our eyes!

  • Anonymous

    January 31, 2018 at 1:06 am

    I was lost once. Very very lost. I had a big hole inside that I filled with awful things. Then one day, as I sat in the bath and cried and cried and surrendered, I heard a voice that said “there you are. I’ve been waiting for you.” The next few months were filled with work and more surrendering and even more work. I’ve never worked so hard in my life. I also prayed and loved and cried and lived a life of brutal honesty and introspection. I filled the hole with goodness and breath and stillness. I opened my heart and listened for more messages. When I aligned my heart with my head and began moving forward, I was amazed at what happened. A job appeared in my lap at the right time. A timely retreat allowed me a discount and the healing was intense. I made new friends, just the kind I needed. My kids and husband loved me even fiercer. Awesome little things happened too. All of these things were fortuitous and perhaps serendipitous. But I know they wouldn’t have happened to the drowning girl with the big hole filled with yuck, who wouldn’t have noticed the gifts or even cared. Openness, alignment, stillness, honesty, gratitude. These are the goodies, that when honored, allow serendipity to show up. Sometimes it is grit or grief that precede the manifestation of gifts. In my experience, those are the best kind. ❤️

  • Anonymous

    January 31, 2018 at 11:09 pm

    Isn’t it serendipitous that the topic is serendipity? My internal musings these past two weeks have been of the power of saying yes to life and noticing that when I open and allow life rather than resist, synchronous events start happening. Running into an old friend in a coffee shop and making business collaborations, stumbling across the exact website I needed, telephone calls the moment I am thinking of someone. All of these serendipitous events are what to me make life magical. They also give me a clue as to how present I am. How authentically I am living. So like you I choose to believe that by being open we are able to tap into an incredibly powerful force. As always thank you for this pondering.

  • Anonymous

    February 1, 2018 at 6:37 am

    Serendipity is being on a visit to the west coast at the exact time of the lunar eclipse of a super blue moon, just six months after being in the exact right spot to see the solar eclipse. And having eyesight to marvel at both. Two things to remind us what an incredible universe ours is. And that in all that vastness we have an amazing number of moments of serendipity that bind us together and that set us on course.
    Serendipity is a wonderful word. The way it sounds and what it brings. Full of surprise and magic and unexpected happiness.

  • Anonymous

    February 2, 2018 at 12:49 pm

    The concept and perhaps practice of serendipity reminds me of a saying that a former colleague once shared with me…”You have to play in the street if you want to get hit by the lucky bus.” Life, luck, serendipity, and love all demand action and risk on our part. They come along with variable frequency and from unpredictable directions. Be ready.

  • Anonymous

    February 2, 2018 at 9:12 pm

    Serendipity is a word I barely know. I should probably think on that.

  • Anonymous

    February 4, 2018 at 1:47 am

    A good movie, Serendipity! Love John Cusack searching for Kate Beckinsale back in a time when cell phones and “find a friend” apps didn’t exist. All he had was a book and hope.