Fortunate happenstance



My friend Laura introduced me to the word “serendipity” during my vacations in Sri Lanka a couple of years ago and I feel in love with it straight away. Although the word has been voted by a British translation company as one of the ten English words hardest to translate, Laura did a very good job: Serendipity could be translated as a “fortunate happenstance”, “pleasant surprise” or “making fortunate discoveries by accident”.

Horace Walpole, an English art historian, coined the word in 1754. He wrote a letter to a friend about some unexpected discoveries he had made. To explain this he referred to a Persian fairy tale, The Three Princes of Serendip ”who were making discoveries, by accident and sagacity, of things which they were not in quest of.”

Serendipity resonates with me in so many ways. For me it’s about staying open and receptive. So that you don’t close yourself and only look for things you expect, but to be open, keep room for the unexpected and embrace it. Magical things are happening then.

It’s about keeping a positive attitude. Not being disappointed because you have been looking for something else and now you end up with this. Instead being happy, humble and appreciate everything. Welcoming everything also one might not get the full meaning straight away.

BYC2011 (349) copyEspecially because I think there is a reason for everything. Serendipity is about trusting that everything is provided for you. The right things and people will find you at the right time. When you are ready for them.

Serendipity is about not wanting to push things further and into a certain direction you might have had in your head. It’s about letting go, accepting that you are not the doer and receiving a lot in return.

Seeing any similarities to Yoga and it’s practices? I guess Yoga helped me to create an environment inside myself that made the receptivity for serendipity possible. On the other hand, the understanding of serendipity helps me to find pleasant surprises in my Yoga practice as well.

Actually this is how I try to approach the Barcelona Yoga Conference. Although I know that there will be many inspiring things provided, great people will gather and the energy is going to be amazing, I try to empty myself in advance of all expectations so that I stay receptive for all the goodness without seeking it. It’s like my teacher Jules Febre said, try to get rid of expectations. Life can never exactly fulfill those and be exactly the way you expected it. By that you don’t give life the change to unfold in its own way and enjoy and appreciate things the way they are.

Oh and by the way – Serendip is the Persian word for Sri Lanka, where I learned about Serendipity. Thanks for this coincidence. Or should I better say fortunate happenstance?

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