Deepak Chopra said that what we call coincidence is a sign of being "on path." If so, this is a story about path.
The Washington DC area has suffered through days and days of rain. We escaped that downpour only to arrive in England to find pelting downpour. Like Eyeore we seem to be living under a cloud. But I had brought along my LLBean raincoat and my wellies.
Feeling hopeful, for days I have kept quoting some English hiker who said "There is no such thing as bad weather; only inappropriate dress." I recalled that quote from a paper written by a student of mine. Years back. Odd how some things stick with us.
The student had written about a chap who walked across England. From some place called St Bees to somewhere else. He didn't say where. The idea of the walk and the quote about weather caught my eye. And I remembered it.
The student, stationed in England and looking for some way to unwind from harsh military experiences that he thought had shaped him into a domineering and overbearing boss, decided to trace the British chap's cross-England walk.
In his paper he wrote about how the walk changed him, mellowed him--he, my student, was different when he returned to work. He said that while he couldn't remember much of anything about his daily commute to work, he could recall almost every day of the 192 miles he walked across the English countryside.
Today we are at a place called Robin Hood's Bay. Looking out on the North Sea. I'd never heard of the place but my husband booked us in here thinking we'd enjoy being by the sea.
By coincidence (?) it turns out that the pub across the street was the end of the English chap's walk. And my student's walk following his path. The man's name was Alfred Wainwright. Our room has the book of pictures of his cross-England walk.
Then friend Heather posted this bit on Facebook as we arrived at Robin Hood's Bay. It reminded me that so much depends on which way we are looking......
My takeaways from this nest of coincidences:
- When we feel a passion for something--as Wainwright did for walking the English countryside--we might explore how to make space for it in our lives. Wainwright came from poverty and was not a man of leisure. He had a day job as an accountant. But his passion was walking the English country side. Like the story of The Man Who Planted Trees, Wainwright's story can be seen as a tale of following and sharing a passion, while doing his day job. Day after day. Over a lifetime.
- Although it is curious what catches our attention--as the student's story caught my attention--it's useful to make note of it. Without knowing why. Often, in ways we can't anticipate it will give us valuable guidance-- if not in the moment, later.
- As with Wainwright, if we are disciplined in our pursuit of our passion (he created books and guidance from his experience) it may open a world of exploration for others.
- And when someone takes the time to tell us a story that in the moment seems "off topic" (the student was writing about leadership and his philosophy of leadership) we may be missing the link. But the link may become clearer over time.
- It's useful to log "coincidences" to consider what path they may be marking for us.