Greg and I made a spontaneous trip to Oklahoma today, to deliver some ornamental grass plants from my garden, to my sister and niece. As we headed out, we had an interesting conversation about life challenges and difficulties. I’ve thought about that exchange all day, and after spending time with family, my thoughts became the text for tonight’s story as I journey home.
What came up in our conversation, that continued to reverberate in my mind and heart, was this: Perhaps we often miss opportunities because we aren’t looking for them.
How thought provoking is that?
And the reason we aren’t looking for opportunities is because our attention is focused on an event, a challenge or a difficult life changing situation that has occurred. So instead of looking ahead, so to speak, we are still looking behind, at what happened. And more than looking at it, we may also be trying to hang on to something, salvage something, out of the smoldering ruins left after the death of a dream or a relationship or a career or an idea. We might as well try to hold onto smoke. In the end it feels like we have nothing.
The first step to being able to see opportunities as they arrive is to release past challenges and move our focus from what has happened to what is ahead. We can’t change what’s in the past. It’s done. We cannot see what’s coming and recognize the gifts being offered, unless we are willing to shift our gaze.
Opportunity rarely arrives with the obviousness of a street sign, or a flashing neon arrow. And yet, if we are open to everything, attached to nothing, we will see it. Opportunity may appear as a door opening as another closes. It may show up in a casual conversation, after a time of learning and growing, or as a fresh idea during solitary quiet time. Opportunity often comes from an unexpected direction and may set us on an unfamiliar path of discovery. Or it may beckon from a revived dream or a former passion. What is important is to be curious and unafraid, for when that door of opportunity swings open it may reveal an extraordinary landscape beyond.
In my life, opportunities have arrived disguised as invitations, as failures, as totally unexpected encounters. A job lost opened a path to a different career. A horrific storm had silver linings. Relationships that ended allowed me to explore deep within myself, where I discovered bold truths. Fear dissipated, revealing creativity. And pain birthed a healing journey. Saying goodbye turned into saying hello and letting go allowed me to travel where I had never gone before.
Life is big. It is mysterious. It is Divinely guided. It is full of incredible, heart pounding, breath taking, jaw dropping opportunities…if we can open our hearts, open our eyes, open our arms and open our minds to the possibilities. Knock, knock, knock. Are you ready to swing wide the door?