The Challenge: Every day, for thirty days, “find” something and incorporate it.
The Big Idea: By being awake to the random treasures, novel ideas, new experiences and provoking thoughts in a day, how might the day continue to dawn? What happens when we integrate intention and serendipity?
The Small Print: All “finds” are eligible: visual, literary, sensual, intellectual, spiritual; stuff, feelings, etc. Incorporation must be accomplished within the same day; documentation may be delayed due to internet access. Incorporation need not be clever, artistic, profound or even remotely interesting. But I bet it will be.
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Here’s a record of my Serendipity exploits. It may make more sense if you read from the bottom up – or just jump to my reflections on A Challenge’s Harvest.
Life Lesson? You bet: Curiosity is its own reward.
Day Thirty, September 21, 2015: What with jury duty, lots of U.Lab lectures and reading up on curiosity, “listening” seemed to be the word of the day. So I made a commemorative card for my desk…
Day Twenty-nine, September 20, 2015: Perfected the art of salting my Kilwin’s caramel.
Day Twenty-eight, September 19, 2015: Finally caught sight of some ghost crabs in their housekeeping mode. Watching the morning unfold, I wondered if we have as many different terms for waves as clouds and did some reading. (We do.)
Day Tweny-seven, September 18, 2015: Taking a conference call outside, I tried to sit on a retaining wall and found myself accosted by biting ants. I stood up and moved to the tall grasses further along the wall. Idly playing as we talked, I wove a bookmark of fine grasses.
Day Twenty-severn, September 17, 2015: U.Lab’s first live lecture. I found kindred spirits and began to help make a community.
Day Twenty-six, September 16, 2015: Argh! Too many days gone by and I have forgotten…another lessons learned.
Day Twenty-five, September 15, 2015: Not so much on the intentional finding; spent the day tending to relationships – familiar, professional and friends new and old.
Day Twenty-four, September 14, 2015: Revisiting a weekend conversation in which I declared I don’t like hotdogs and hadn’t eaten one in years, I wondered what “kind of person” likes hotdogs or not, eats hotdogs or not? So I bought a hotdog, sat in the shade of a sidewalk gazebo, set aside all preconceived notions and ate a hotdog as mindfully as I could. This kind of person or that kind of person aside, I still don’t like hotdogs.
Day Twenty-two, September 12, 2015: My three year old companion didn’t think much of me adding sea shells to the back of the sand turtle for decoration, but his five year old sister did. Pretty soon, every sand animal was bedecked.
Day Twenty-one, September 11, 2015: Today’s assignment for Writing101 was to take inspiration from social media. A MOOC video link counts, right? An insight stopped me short and propelled me forward. Found a quote, wrote a blog.
Day Twenty, September 10, 2015: So busy with writing and posting, I all but forgot about my Challenge! I suppose finding an audience and building community count.
Day Nineteen, September 9, 2015: Blogging101 Assignment #3: meet the neighbors – so off I went to see what other bloggers were up to. And found sources of inspiration (like Ordinary Adventures) and motivation (like Fit is Feminist Issue) and stories of brave transformation (like Mr Tookles). All of whom have somehow come together in my blog.
Day Eighteen, September 8, 2015: As often as not, I am greeted in my yard by a bunny, or three, munching away on my poor defenseless garden. I thought I ought to know more about my little interloping neighbors so I read up – and I reread Beatrix Potter’s classics from my childhood. With a grin I realized those books were where I first heard of chamomile tea and that eating parsley would settle a tummy.
Day Seventeen, September 7, 2015: More with the rocks. In the morning sun, by the lapping lake, I picked up pebbles and laid out a birthday message to my hostess.
Day Sixteen, September 6, 2015: Cairn complete.
Day Fifteen, September 5, 2015: Promisory note: inspired by the cairns in Deep Creek Lake State Park. Time to pile some rocks!
Day Fourteen, Septembe 4, 2015: We visited a lesser-known National Historical Park in Maryland – The Pawpaw Tunnel, 3118′ of tunneling under shale hills of Western Maryland on the C&O Canal….which put us in mind of two songs we’d not sung in a long time. “Picking up pawpaws and puttin’ em in her pocket…” and the tongue-twisting fun around of The Bare Necessities, a family favorite.
Day Thirteen, September 3, 2015: Somewhere I came upon this, attributed to Maria Edgeworth: If you take care of the moments, the years will take care of themselves. I’ve been meditating on it ever since.
Day Twelve, September 2, 2015: On my way to the library, I passed a clump of honeysuckle in bloom. I pinched off a flower and breathed in its heady aroma. Inspired, I pinched off other tiny blossoms along my route, trying to be respectful and unobstrusive in my picking. Some smelled spicy, some grassy, some fruity, some surprisingly pungent, and some had no discernible smell at all (crepe myrtle – who knew?!). Two miles and thirty minutes later, though wilted, the honeysuckle was still sweet.
Day Eleven, September 1, 2015: As if to make up for yesterday’s lapse, I’ve invested hours in today’s find, J.D.Biersdorfer’s iPad: the missing manual. A fateful combination of emails hacks (again!?!) and an Apple Genius Bar wipe of my operating system left me scrambling, cranky, and desperate to learn. The missing manual is my new best friend.
Day Ten, August 31, 2015: Nothing to report. Some days are more skitter than snag.
Day Nine, August 30, 2015: Taken by the previous day’s Zentangle and reminded of the beautiful “blackwork” embroidery my grandmother used to do, I thought I had come upon a new and wonderful art form. Google tells me I am far from the first to think of this, but I spent a wonderful hour brainstorming and drawing designs inspired by my time in Rehoboth. Perhaps it will be stitched, someday.
Day Eight, August 29, 2015: Dangerously close to the end of the day, I “found” some old Zentangle cards upstairs and spent the next 40 minutes utterly absorbed in meditative doodle.
Day Seven, August 28, 2015: Sitting along the Thompson Island trail, I noticed a doe noticing me. I hastily tried to draw her (twice!) as she contemplated me and her options and slowly made her way across the open wetlands.
Day Six, August 27, 2015: Another shell, another pendant. What I hoped for was a passing beach comber to whom I could pass the shell along, making…a connection.
Day Five, August 26, 2015: I’ve always loved the sky lanterns that float by from Dewey Beach. I thought I would figure out where I could buy one and join in the ritual. But then I came across news that Dewey’s mayor was trying to have the lanterns outlawed because they contribute to sea pollution and are a fire risk. Hmm: right. And that led me to the 29th annual Delaware Coastal Cleanup. So I’m signing up. If you’ve seen Plastic Paradise, you’ll understand why.
Day Four, August 25, 2015: On my way to the farmers’ market, a woman exited her home and walked ahead of me. Moving with great purpose, she turned down what I thought was a dead end road. On my return from the market, I followed “her” route and discovered a hidden neighborhood and canal path I didn’t know were there.
Day Three, August 24, 2015: Planning for trip to Vietnam –> thought we might visit Cambodia as well –> knew there is an Impact Hub in Phnom Penh that might be fun to visit –> looked at their web site and calendar of events –> saw “U.Lab” class listed –> curious what that was, I looked up U.Lab –> turns out it is an MIT class “Transforming Business, Society and Self” to “connect with and actualize [one’s] highest future possibility” –> which sounded a lot like something I needed for “my plan is to get a plan” –> so I signed up for class via edX.org –> then I read a blog post from a previous participant reflecting on how the class had influenced her work…in Vietnam. Circle unbroken.
Day Two, August 23, 2015: Another early morning beach stroll offered up the beguiling tracks of ghost crabs (Ocypodinae). Come too late and wind or people will have obscured their passage until another night’s marauding. At home, I found this and this and this and revisited Jennifer Ackerman’s lovely Notes from the Shore. Fun fact: the ghost crab has a quarter mile range, so if you’re on the boardwalk at night…they’re coming for you!
Day One, August 22, 2015: Taking an early morning walk along the beach, I picked up some shells that caught my eye, grateful that the town’s nightly beach cleaning hadn’t completely denuded the sands. I tumbled the shells gently in my hand, like so many worry beads. My crafting urges surged. I felt a primal need to create. And then it hit me: I wanted to make something from anything, daily, and see what would come of it.