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Monday, 6 February 2012

Knock Knock, Who's There?

The sun had barely eased its way out of bed. The air was still bitey and damp with last night's dew. I arrived at the gym for yoga practice with enough time to secure a spot and have a nice lie down before the class began, only to be told that it was cancelled. Sorry, you should have noticed the sign we just put up. What about a sauna instead? front desk guy offered cheerfully. Great, only I'd dressed for a yoga class not a semi naked sweat out. What about the gym? Um, well would wearing thongs on the treadmill be okay then? No sorry - against health and safety.

So, abandoning the idea of getting healthy within the gym, I left. What to do for an hour before I needed to be home, I wondered? This was a rare opportunity indeed, an hour of unscheduled time as vacant as the yoga workout room back at the gym. So I snatched it up; dumped my yoga mat back in the car, and went for a walk, which you can do without a towel and just in thongs.


I walked under stately poincianas, alongside artfully landscaped pockets of palms, past sleeping geese and across wet, manicured park lands until I came across a family of black swans, hovering in between the morning sky and its reflection on their miniature lake.

Four fluffy grey cygnets, pipped and whistled at me, perhaps a little astounded to see me in my baggy tee and thongs at that hour of the morning. The family glided swiftly toward me, hopeful for a hand out, but as I had little more in my pockets than my mobile phone, they soon steered their ruffled wings away in disdain.

Still I had gained something. I had seized upon a moment, made the most of an unplanned situation and took the time to explore and make an exquisite discovery: the beauty of nature just after dawn. In short, I had made the most of Opportunity.

Opportunity: a favourable combination of circumstances. Strange how sometimes this can arise from a set of unfavourable circumstances. And so in life and indeed in writing.

The keys to making the most of your Opportunities:

- Recognise them in the first place. Be attentive for chance and good prospects in all their guises. You know those ones that hide in grey clouds, that knock unexpectedly at doors...

- Be flexible. Adaptive behaviour encourages the most out of your opportunity. The twists and turns you take to fulfill a new plan or reach a new goal, may be as rewarding as actually getting there.

- Summons the spontaneity within. Plans and lists and time lines are terrific for sorting out your mind clutter but sometimes it pays to act on whims and impulse.

- Let go. Don't be afraid to step away from your norm even for just a little while. It's exhilarating discovering new things, including, your own untapped strengths and abilities.

- And most importantly, carry a few crusts of bread with you at all times.

From a writer's pov, all this may mean, stepping outside of your comfort zone, net working more, taking chances with submissions, cutting scenes, murdering characters, abandoning story lines, writing in different genres, asking for critique or simply going for a walk and letting nature do its thing.

Of course I could have hopped in my car and headed straight home. Despondency is an easy chair to slump into and difficult to get out of. And what if I had not seen the swans? Would opportunity have been wasted? Certainly not. At least, I got a bit of exercise. I certainly don't want to be stuck in my chair of despondency forever (yes I do have one)...unless I have a good book of course.

What opportunity have you made the most of recently?

4 comments:

Karen Tyrrell said...

Thanks for your sharing your personal story on discovering those gorgeous swans.
Loved your tips on being open minded and seizing every opportunity.
Good luck with your new writing adventures :)

Charmaine Clancy said...

I don't get saunas in gyms in Brisbane. Haven't climatised yet, so I sweat all the time and hopping in one of those when I'm already hot seems weird.

Glad you found the baby swans. Opportunity is great for characters to 'accidentally' discover in stories too :)

Wagging Tales

DimbutNice said...

Charmaine you make me laugh. Agreed. Good way to lose weight in Brizzy is to simply stand out in the mid day humidity and let nature take its course.

And yes, I need a lot more pleasant 'accidents' in my stories at times to enliven them. :-)

DimbutNice said...

My pleasure Karen. Hard to be open minded when it sometimes feels the world is crushing in on you. But without the effort, we may miss out on something extraordinary.

Writing is an adventure isn't it?