The occasional lost soul who has stumbled into this blog, or its Mindfulness predecessor, is familiar with my allegiance and affinity for serendipity. So when my favorite writer pointed me to today's (January 28,2013) Writer's Almanac's entry on 'serendipity' I was definitely geeked. I would have copied that segment here, but their copyright rules don't allow me to without permission, and the only permission I received was to link back to their page. But check it out - a great history of the word and its usage!!
Now in my typically unconventional manner I kind of link 'serendipity' with 'magic'. For an understanding of my concept of 'magic' meant here, see Leonard Cohen's "God is Alive, Magic is Afoot". Others who believe in an all powerful deity believe 'serendipity' is 'God's hand' at work. Regardless, of one's orientation toward serendipity, I am believe it can be taught, or at least one can be 'opened up to the possibility' that presents itself everyday in many faces.
This life long interest in serendipity has been deepened in recent years by my occasional (actually now almost religious) choice to peruse the New Book shelves at the MSU library. I enter that space not specifically seeking a particular topic or author, but driven by the moment to examine titles that for some reason or another pull me towards them. Rarely do I leave this now weekly adventure without something new under my arm, and often several new items. last week's haul included an edition of Gandhi's Autobiography with a compelling preface by Sissela Bok and The River's Power by Ghanian author, Annor Nimako, a novel set in Ghana focusing on the need for electricity and the impact of a dam on the community.
Almost every morning I launch my day with some reading, but since I have usually 4-6 books going at a time I'm never sure which one I'll pick up first. Today it was Page Smith's People's History of the United States the volume "Rise of Industrial America" dealing with late 19th Century America. I finished the chapter on Jane Addams and Hull House and started in on the chapter dealing with the farming life (about half way through the 900 page opus volume - I'm hoping to read the entire multi-volume set by the time i turn back to dust). Oh my goodness did it read like a play-by-play of today's current agricultural struggles.
I later picked up the Gandhi Autobiography which I am enjoying so much as he exposes so many of his insecurities and failings. I've just finished Part 1 having completed legal studies in England and returned to India. None of this is remarkable of course, but I do notice somewhere down the trail of the day, that parts of my day have been steered by what I read, and what i read was steered by what I happened into.
So, of course I want to feed by better wolf, by reading and exposing myself to those experiences that will strengthen my ability and desire to live a better life. In doing so, the serendipity of it all adds this wonderful sense of magic to one's life, a kind of elixir for the soul that propels us forward.
Happy Serendipity Day!!