When life throws you a curve ball
I flew to Denmark last year to moderate a Europe-wide conference. You know, the kind of deal where you're standing on stage in front of a few hundred people and you introduce the topic - attempting to make it sound as interesting as possible -warm up the audience, then facilitate the discussion that follows between audience and panel speakers? Well, preparing for this task - and performing it - turned out to be one of the greatest exercises in reading and following the flow of my life so far. I'll see if I can explain what I mean.In the final run-up to the conference, for example, all manner of speakers were calling up the programme coordinator and unexpectedly cancelling; for all kinds of reasons, from the health minister visiting to having to focus on a new job.This meant that in one of the sessions that I was facilitating, we had only two speakers! And then one of those two speakers then announced that he was not going to attend the conference in person, but hoped to be able to dial in participate by videoconference - from Singapore! Quite interesting cosmic humour, this - one of the first international conferences I'd ever facilitated (you would have thought this was challenging enough) - and a few days before the conference itself, I was being faced with all these challenges! I checked inside and everything felt to be right where it was meant to be. The 'invitation' in the situation seemed to be simply to find a deeper level of surrender and to 'follow the flow'.So, that's just what I did. And later that day, with no fixed outcome in mind, I found myself dropping a line to a medical futurist I'd interviewed about a year before. And this man offered, quite out of the blue, to speak in the session.The conference organisers were impressed - to land this speaker was quite a coup, but a couple of days before the conference, as well! But it was rather last-minute and the pressure was on to get things organised. And then, guess what? Our new speaker told us that he wanted to dial in by video-conference, too!The cosmic humour was magnificent (at least the way I saw it)! Not only was the session about virtual reality, but two of our three speakers were going to be dialling in virtually too. For me, it felt like an exercise in 'reading the flow', in working through the layers - an exercise in truly multidimensional living! And I just didn't know if the technology was going to work - it was all being put together last minute. I had to just let go and trust that I would be given what I needed in the moment - and that what needed to unfold would unfold!And so in the session hall, as you might expect, there was this wonderful moment, half way through the session, when the lines dropped out - we lost one of the speakers and couldn't properly hear the other one. And I just tuned into the moment, felt out what I was being invited to do (inwardly) and just kind of let go. I laughed. And then the audience laughed. And then out of that wonderful moment of surrender came an idea. I changed my tack, involved the speaker who was there in person - and wonderful synchronicity started to happen. I just surrendered all agenda and surfed the wave. And then, as if by magic, the technology started working again.The cameraman who was filming the event told me afterwards that, far from exposing my lack of professionalism or not being 'in charge' of the situation, the session had shown off my qualities as a moderator - given me a chance to shine! A curve ball had become a home run.And it was all demonstrated rather synchronistically in a story that my lovely mother told me later that day. She had met this young family while shopping at a local market - and had been captivated by this little six year old girl, who'd taken to juggling balls. When the girl had been given a strange shaped ball by a family friend as a birthday present, however, she looked at it and thought, 'That's no use - how can I juggle with that?'But she'd looked at this strange new ball for a while, and its peculiar curvy edges, and she got a sense to start juggling with it. She's now taken it into her routine and the ball fits in perfectly with all the other, perfectly symmetrical, balls.When we're thrown a curve ball by life, it's a question, in my eyes, of learning to surrender all agenda and read the invitation in the situation... where the flow wants to go. And being ready to jump when invited. It's about letting go of any attachment to outcome, no matter what we may stand to lose on the surface - and simply following the flow.In my way of seeing things, living like this is what makes life truly exciting. It's the juice in life! And my hunch is that learning to read and honour and follow the flow like this, on an individual basis, is the only way we will, as a race, learn to navigate the challenges that many of us feel are ahead. Learning to read the inner compass rather than being dictated to from outside. What do you think?Need some help reading your inner compass? Maybe some one-to-one coaching would help - either on skype or in person.