Surrendering to Serendipity

It has long fascinated me that there are actually two types of time. Chronos is the Greek word from which we get the English word chronology. It specifically refers to the type of time that can be measured by a clock. Kairos also is a Greek word and it stands for purposeful time, the type that is filled with meaning and cannot be conveniently measured.
Whether we use Daytimers or Palm Pilots to schedule our “chronos” time, it is helpful for us to allow sufficient space for some “kairos” time, or in other words, surrender to serendipity. Webster defines serendipity as “the faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for.”
The word serendipity was originally coined by the eighteenth-century British writer Horace Walpole, who defined it as “that quality of mind which, through awareness, sagacity, and good fortune, allows one to frequently discover something good while seeking something else.”
Serendipity can enhance our lives by enabling us to balance spontaneity and structure and allow us to leverage time, not simply log it. If our relationship to time is always one of racing the clock, then perhaps we need to unplug ourselves from manmade chronometers and practice living according to the rhythm of life for a change.

We enhance the quality of our life when we properly discern its times and tides, its ebbs and flows, its rhymes and rhythms. It was Henry David Thoreau who wisely noted: “I love a broad margin to my life.” And lifestyle maven Alexandra Stoddard echoes the same sentiment: “All of us are orbiting like stars in the universe. We can’t have our dance card filled for the rest of our lives, because we need spaces to allow for serendipity.”