Yesterday I said that probably no one was interested in my philosophy of life and art. Lisa left a comment and said some of us are. So I'll share one of my philosophies. That is, some of the best things in life (and art) happen by accident. It behooves us to pay attention or we miss out.
Small happy accident: I put those glass pebbles into the candle cups with my little solar lights (see here) for the purpose of holding the lights in place. What I didn't anticipate was how lovely they would look at night with those little lights shining through them.
Bigger happy accidents have shaped my life. A chance encounter in an airport with an old friend of my mother sent me to inquire about a job she knew about. I got the job, which meant I moved to a new city where I met my future husband, and my future life. Marriage, children, grandchildren, good life, wonderful friends—all the result of a chance encounter. I'm thankful that I paid attention.
An old friend from high school and college, with political ambitions when I first knew him, is now, not a powerful politician, but a powerful force for good. The birth of a daughter with a disability led him to a career, using his education and intelligence and heart, advocating and innovating for the rights of disabled people. I'm sure he never planned that he would have a disabled child, but he was surely paying attention to what it meant when he did.
We once knew a guy who had his whole life planned out. On paper. In writing. Go to this college. Graduate with honors, Marry a specific kind of person. Have these children. Start in this kind of a job. Advance in this many years to this kind of job, and so on. We were all young at the time and I was impressed by his long-term plan, but it didn't include any happy accidents—or unhappy accidents. We've lost track of him, but last we heard he was divorced and a little off-course from the master plan.
So, this is it. A little of my philosophy. Embrace the happy accidents, the chance encounters the unexpected, inadvertent consequences. Pay attention. For me it has made all the difference.
"To pay attention, this is our endless
and proper work."
and proper work."
~ Mary Oliver ~