One of the things I wanted to leave myself open to during my month off was clues about how to live my 2010. I have an almost open book which is both a luxury and a terror. I realise I can choose precisely how I want to spend my time in the coming year.
Actually we all always have this power, we just dont realise it because we are caught up in the things we think we must and should do, usually to do with earning a living and commitments to others, not necessarily in that order.
My best laid plans for 2010 fell apart just before I left the UK which leaves a gaping whole in my schedule and my opportunity is what to fill that with.
And spookily – hooray! – I have received a message three times over since I have been here, just in case I missed it the first time.
The first time was while reading a book by Gavin Esler called A Scandalous Man. I hope Gavin won’t mind if I tell you it was a perfect holiday read? Is that a compliment? I hope so. He talked about Mrs Thatcher seeing the Falklands Crisis as an opportunity. In her case, it was the opportunity was to get re-elected on the back of it. But Esler wrote about something which sounded familiar to me, namely that the Chinese characters in the word Crisis contain both our words for Danger and Opportunity.
I got it. I thought “hmm” as I was reading it and made a rather large mental note to think more about that, I may even have laid down my book, put my head back in the sun and had a bit of a lazy think or feel.
And then next I read Chris Evans’ autobiography It’s Not What You Think. I really, really enjoyed this book. I had no idea that Evans is such an entrepreneur although in hindsight it all makes sense. As well as an excellent broadcaster whose first love is radio, he is rather an excellent businessman too. And he has a fabulous self-deprecating humour. His career has been nothing short of the proverbial rollercoaster, perhaps that defines an entrepreneur in fact… having the energy to pick yourself up again when the best laid plans have gone awry, however exhausting and/or humiliating, especially in Chris’s case to have to learn your lessons so publicly but then he has come back fabulously and then some. He is my favourite on Radio 2 and is now stepping back into the breakfast show again, good for him.
Anyway, Evans makes the same point about the Chinese characters for danger and opportunity being in their word for crisis.
By this time I was curious enough to Google this concept only to discover a fabulous and well-written article which says either this is true or an urban myth in a piece on a blog called The Straight Dope. I especially love his conclusion: “Still, if I were Chinese and a bunch of foreigners wanted to impute timeless insight to my ancestors, I don’t know that I could find it in my heart to object”. Hear, hear!
And then, blow me down, if I dont get the same message a third time, Chinese fortune-cookie stylee, in a little homily on the paper wrapped around a Xmas chocolate where this time the version reads “in chaos there lies opportunity”. I know, I know already! Gavin Esler and Chris Evans DID mention it. But I’m on holiday, there’s nothing I can DO about opportunities from here except think.
I must confess this has given rise to a tad of frustration. I know 2010 is my year of opportunity, got a fabulous message from TUT this morning too to precisely that effect. And there is always that lovely sense of anticipation with a new year/new slate. My frustration is not being able to DO anything about this while on holiday. I cant help but feel, at times, I would rather have been at home cracking on with it.
But I know this R & R has been good and restorative for me and precisely what I needed at this time, right now.
And we mustn’t forget I dont exactly know – yet – what these spooky messages mean! How the crisis translates into opportunity for me and mine?
It reminds me of two Christmasses ago when I was obliged to move, against my will, from Canary Wharf to Streatham and beloved Janet Swift sent me a fridge magnet for Xmas which said, approximately, Only believe, the Universe has it all in her grand plan for you” or sommat like that. Were I at home I could look it up for I have kept it on my fridge and refer to it often, usually in times of terror like these.
The key part of the message was about trust. I am not sure I am very good at trust. Yet.
What’s the opportunity and when will it be revealed to me? Today that’s a good question which I feel calmer about. Last time it took a good 3-6 months for the grand plan to be revealed which has ultimately led me, bizarrely, to this new place of danger/crisis/opportunity but it has been a great two years of learning and I am sure the new direction will be just as special. As long as I can keep the faith.
But for now, Big U, yes I got your messages, thanks. I got the first one, but thankyou for sending three anyway, underlining and double-underlining your point. I plan to spend the first week of January catching up and planning, perhaps there’s something waiting for me on my desk at home which will lead me off in a surprising new direction? I am open to receive, all signposts welcome now.