Time has taken on a new meaning for me this past year. There I was, sailing along at the gentle pace my life and work have taken for the past few years, when suddenly I had to waken up to the news that I needed urgent surgery. I am writing more about this in my next book, so it’s not my intention to go into much detail with it here.
The message I do want to explore here is that life takes unexpected turns. It’s really made me think about what we control (or don’t have control over).
I’ve never been one for making lots of detailed plans. One of my favourite quotes is John O’Donohue’s poem FLUENT:
“I would love to live
like a river flows,
carried by the surprise
of its own unfolding.”
I met John once. It was in Ireland on a retreat and I was magnetised by his presence and his laughter. He was larger than life. He tells the story of the above poem with humour. The lines above came to him and he wrote them down, waiting for the rest of the poem to reveal itself. It never did. So he split the words he already had into four short lines and sent the poem out into the world complete as it was. The poem held the control. Not John. I love that he could let it go as it was.
I returned to this quote often as I navigated the journey of being diagnosed, coming to terms with, and undergoing surgery and the months-long recuperation I was to face. This is what being carried by the surprise of life’s own unfolding had brought me. John’s words brought me comfort. I had committed to living by those words. I could trust in what was unfolding.
SPARK A CONVERSATION: When has life taken you by surprise with an unexpected twist or turn? How did you respond to it? What did you learn about yourself? If you looked back one year, what insights do you have? #LIVE FULLY.