Surprise Me

Surprise Me…

We were at a dinner the other night with some new people, and when the hostess asked what one gentleman wished to drink as an aperatif, he replied saucily, “Oh I don’t know...surprise me….” His tone was neutral, but his manner a little weary. I found myself wondering what possible drink might be the perfect one for him, and felt glad not to be the hostess who was in the kitchen mixing up something for him to taste and critique.

It occurred to me that we often ask the universe/God/lifeforce to respond to our needs this way. Instead of declaring this is what I want and this is when I’d like it please, we mope around, feeling vaguely unhappy. We ask the universe to bring change or blessings or something — God! anything!, but offer no guidance or parameters for what we wish to experience. “Surprise me,” we say unconsciously. “Choose for me.”

Maybe the thought of being responsible for all our choices is too daunting. I know that there have certainly been times I’ve chosen things that appeared to bring me more challenges than joy in the long run. I’ve chosen experiences that brought me pain or disappointment or frustration (rather than the delight, status, and comfort that I imagined). Maybe we get a couple of these in a row and start feeling like our judgment is off, that we should “leave the driving” to somebody else. And so we do. And we become reactive to our lives instead of active, passive and sleepy as we go through the motions of a life we’re living but somehow never really decided on.

What the upside of asking the universe to “surprise me…”? Well, you might get something more fabulous than you can even imagine, right? What if our hostess knows of an elixir more lovely than any you’ve ever tasted, and now you’re drinking it! There’s that, although I suspect that happens much less often than the “hmm, this is okay, but not really satisfying” response. There’s also the ability to place blame for your unthrilled state of affairs on someone else….so it’s not your fault when everything, well, sucks. And then there’s the big upside: it seems easier. There’s no effort, just a passive drifting along, without intention or direction. No need to examine our course, no need to create tension to help steer us in a firm direction. We get to just drift, which is sometimes all we feel capable of doing. Which is okay — it happens — except when it’s such a habit that our muscles become slack and weak, uncapable of supporting us when we decide we’re ready to start striding purposefully again.

I don’t do it perfectly myself. I try to plan and use intention and action to demonstrate what I wish to bring into (and send out of) my life, but I still struggle, stumble from time to time. But if I’ve learned one thing about the process so far through personal experience, it’s to USE YOUR DESIRE. I explore the concept in my song “Circle of Desire” in the bridge: “So much to do/ so much to find/ but with each choice, so many left behind/ what is desire but a guide….to where we’re supposed to be.” What if desire is our greatest gift? What if it’s the indicator of where we’re to direct ourselves in order to learn what we wish to learn in this life, to find the delights of this earth, to find the blessings that will balance out the challenges of a given experience? Isn’t this evidenced by how tenacious our desires are…? We sometimes bury them, deny them, redirect them, delay them, and dance around them for decades, but the big ones stay with us until we engage with them and give them some loving attention.

Today I ask for the strength of conviction and courage, so that I might do better than to ask the universe to Surprise Me.


5 Things I’m Thankful For Today:
1. The amazing and generous opportunities that have come to me this month (opening for Etta James, playing for M.F.’s event)
2. The amazing and generous women in my life, especially Steph, Pam, and Nancy the other night, and Susan so very often.
3. The amazing and generous care of my honey, Mark, who supports and loves me so beautifully
4. The amazing and generous enthusiasm of Utahns for my music…I am so thankful for the smiles, applause, cd purchases, and kind words.
5. The amazing and generous ability of the body to do what it does — to heal, to manage itself, to wisely do things we barely understand…I’m thankful for good health, energy, and the ability of my body to do what I ask of it.

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