Serendipity has always been one of my favorite words. It makes me think of Sri Lanka because Serendip was the former name for Sri Lanka. It came from English author Horace Walpole, who formed it upon the title of the fairy-tale The Three Princes of Serendip. As the Princes traveled they were always discovering some of life’s unexpected pleasantries and good fortune by accident.
French scientist Louis Pasteur said, In the fields of observation chance favors only the prepared mind. Our minds must be open to finding serendipity. I think it was serendipity that American physicist, Joseph Henry, read Pasteur’s quote because he then said, The seeds of great discoveries are constantly floating around us, but they only take root in minds well prepared to receive them.
The meaning of this delightful word is: unexpected discovery and extremely pleasant surprises.
Imagine the sounds of summer: ceiling fans, ice cream trucks, waves at the beach, splashes at the pool, sizzle of the grill, the ding of a bicycle bell, the music of cicadas…What would happened if you followed or searched for these sounds? You might find your own serendipity. Summer is the perfect time to search for unexpected treasures because there is more time to wonder. The days are longer, there is more of a relaxed state of mind and a slower pace to explore.
If you are ready for something good just around the corner, chances are you will find it! As a middle of the road personality (half type-A/half free-spirited) I think this makes me a good traveler because I have a plan but sometimes the plan is to have no plan! You know the saying, All roads lead to Rome? To me it just means, even if you’re bad at directions (which I am), you will still find where it is you’re meant to be.
The best example of serendipity I have happens to be in Rome! My husband Derek and I realized we left our camera in the car at the airport on the way to Rome. We were both so bummed out! Our first night in Rome, we took a walk not knowing where we were going, had an amazing meal and on the walk back to the hotel in a random corner of the street where no one was around was a photo booth. It’s one of our favorite memories because it was one-hundred percent serendipity!
I don’t think you can plan real serendipity but its fun to imagine what you might find. If you’ve ever been geocaching (an outside game of searching for hidden objects using a GPS), this is similar (exept you know you’re looking for something). Geocaching can be a bit serendipitous because you are seeking to discover something that remains a mystery until you’re at the correct coordinates and unbury the treasure.
Two people meeting by chance after a long time in an unusual place could be serendipitous. Have you ever run into someone you know on a vacation? That’s serendipity!
Sometimes you have those days when your light inside is shining brighter than usual and there is a certain energy that attracts others to you, kind of like magnetism; either you have that energy or you don’t!
When you look at a bride, her light is definitely on; a bride has that radiance and energy that draws you near her.
I believe serendipity leads to more serendipity. I took my children to an unplanned trip to my favorite grocery store this past week, Central Market (a place filled with the most unique and delicious foods), where we were just browsing and looking to see what appealed to us. Sometimes those are the best shopping trips, when you don’t have a list and you just shop with your senses. I wasn’t sure what we would make with our random items but that’s when my friend Margot came in helpful. I showed her my ingredients and the light inside her turned on bright; in her kitchen she created serendipity!
I think if you are too busy and wrapped up; you might not find your serendipity. Part of the magic is being open-minded and allowing yourself to wonder.
Hopefully, we can all remain ready, willing and able to enjoy serendipitous eureka moments. Good luck finding yours! Like a sailor, set out in good faith and find your summer serendipity.
Photo: Pino’s painting titled, Serendipity.