As the spinning events of the last week begin to calm down, I finally have found a place to sit down and write this week’s blog post. And what a week it has been! One of throwing the last of my belongings into my compact sedan, braving the snows of Kentucky, and facing lengthy judicial processes after limited sleep. But as things come to a head, I find myself thinking about serendipity.

This is my second move to Nashville in less than a year, and I hope it to be my last. I suppose the whole idea of leaving something or somewhere, and then if it comes back it’s truly yours, isn’t so far from true. Not to
say that Nashville “came back”, but I came back to Nashville, and now I find myself in the same old house, almost as if nothing had happened.

I’m fascinated by the small things that fall into place when I’m really working hard for something. It seems that if I have a goal in mind – moving back to Nashville, for example – and I work really hard to do what is necessary to make that goal a reality, life has a way of opening certain doors.

For example, I knew I had to find a place. So I looked around on Craigslist for about two weeks, looked at some houses, but still found nothing that really suited me. Around the second time I drove into town with the last batch of belongings (right after Monday night’s Taste of 502 gig), an opening had just come up in the Cloverleaf house. Needless to say, I moved back in Tuesday.

In my experience, life offers what we put into it. The funny thing is, the offers are often not what we expect. We hustle, taking action every day, putting in our time, our requests, our applications, and usually we have something in mind, thinking, “If I keep working, then at some point this will happen.” And indeed, something  always happens if we work hard enough, just most of the time, it is the thing that we least imagined!

As creative people, we have to believe that what ends up happening is the best thing that could have happened. We need to take the unexpected in stride and say, “Well, that may not have been what I thought it would, or even what I want, but it must be what I need.” As C.S. Lewis wrote, maybe this is not the best of all possible worlds, but the only possible one.” I remember reading that sentence as a young teenager and still resonate with it today.

The other side of this idea is that we should retain this serendipitous attitude even when things don’t go well. If something goes badly, throws us for a loop, costs us a lot of money, sets us back… still believing that it was “for the best.” With this attitude, we can only learn from the bad stuff. We can also reframe it as good and in some cases use it to our advantage. This can be difficult, but I believe it to be necessary.

In my case, I will soon have a restricted Tennessee license, causing me to not legally be able to drive anywhere other than my job, or where I go to church. (Luckily, one of my “jobs” consists of gigging around town, a profession whose hours are… sporadic, to say the least!) I could say, “Man, this sucks… now I can’t go anywhere unless I ride my bike or take a taxi. And I’ll have to be bumming rides from my friends all the time.” OR, I could reframe my situation, see it as the only possible one and maybe even the best, and say, “This is great. So much more time to stay at home and work on my music!”

For me, a lot of insecurity comes from doubting myself. Doubting decisions, personal or artistic, or just doubting the present situation in my life. But when I look at my decisions or my situation in a different way, from a place of “This is me, this is where I’m at,” a lot of anxiety suddenly goes away. I remind myself that everything will turn out for the best – because there’s no other option, really.

When was the last time you found that an “only possible world” scenario helped to change your attitude?

2 thoughts on ““Only Possible World”

  1. Good thoughts. The “only possible world” option is helpful in many personal situations, but it is not good to just accept certain things, like injustice, be it personal, political, or environmental. We need to distinguish between things we can do something about and those we can’t. (Reminds me of the serenity prayer…) Once we’ve done that, the noble response is always the best one. What that response is depends on the situation.

    1. True, we can’t “let things be” that are wrong or harmful, especially when we have the power to stop them. But we must accept things as they are before we can begin to change them. 🙂

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