I spend a lot of time contemplating the twists and turns in my life. Not to plot the what-ifs, but to wonder at the intricacy of events that had to happen to bring me to exactly this point in time. It can be mind boggling, if you let it, or it can create order from an existence that might otherwise be branded as chaos. For me it is the latter. I fashion order from the chaos of life, and it brings me comfort.
Imagine your life as an enormous spider web with never-ending connections to every person and thing in time. Imagine the specific random plucking of each strand sending vibrations throughout the web, setting in motion events we may never even know happen, yet the repercussions affect us, nudging us toward a specific place in time we need to be or an event we need to experience that may change the course of our life.
Sound crazy? Maybe, but we have all experienced it, being in the right place at the right time, or avoiding the wrong place because of a fluke, a random event that altered our schedule, our route, to put us somewhere we don’t normally frequent. I met my husband that way, in a grocery store I didn’t normally go to, because I missed my turn and ended up at a different store. How do we do that? Miss turns we have taken for years, lose time so that one moment the turn is ahead of us and the next it is behind us, sending us off course to somewhere we normally don’t go, to cross paths with someone who will change our lives forever. Is it random or designed?
I think about that event a lot. What if I had railed against the order of things and made my way to my favorite store anyway, forgoing the nudge to an alternate destination? Would Ken and I ever have met? I’d like to think that the universe would have kept trying and found new ways for our paths to cross. It is also possible that day and time were the critical moment when we were both open to meeting (attitude has a lot to do with meeting potential life partners) and after that the window would close. We would pass one another, unmoved and unnoticed, with only a faint smile of polite social acknowledgment each subsequent time our paths crossed.
I’d like to think I’d never pass my husband unmoved and not notice him, but I can’t promise that. I do know that when we met everything changed. Everything suddenly made sense.
I do believe we have a life path we follow, a sort of lesson plan for what we need to accomplish this go-round. That doesn’t mean life events are mapped out, just that we arrive here with a plan, and how we execute that plan is up to us. Imagine life as a long, winding trail through the woods. Staying on the path does not guarantee an easy go of it; even on the path sometimes the way can be difficult. We also have the ability to explore off the trail, to wander, even get lost. We are free, after all, to make our own choices. We also have instincts, some call them gut feelings, about people, events, places, that when listened to help us navigate the pitfalls along the trail. We have tools to use, or not, a path to follow, or not. It’s entirely up to us.
It’s difficult to hear what our instincts have to say over the din of life, but they are there, frantically trying to get our attention. I try to listen to mine, at least give them a voice, so they have a say in what will come next. I especially listen to them when I have important life decisions to make. That little voice inside, when you push aside the chatter of fear and the seven deadly sins, will always point true north. It will always guide you to what is best for you, even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time.
I believe the key to life is to live it, not worry over it. In each and every moment, there are things we perceive as good things happening and things we perceive as not-so-good things happening, but those are just labels. Things just happen. In this wonderfully amazing chaos called “life” that we exist in, we collide with people and events all the time. Many of them have no impact, but some of them change our lives forever. It is up to us to live each and every one of those moments to the fullest, squeeze every bit of joy out of them that we can, and then move on to the next one, hopefully having made a new friend, brightened someone else’s day or met your life partner in the process. The key to a happy life amid the chaos is attitude, my friend. Attitude is, quite simply, everything!