I love surprises, and I really enjoy surprising others, too. It’s one of those treasures in life that should never be abandoned. To really catch someone unexpectedly, you need to be awake and sensitive to what they say and do when they’re with you. “Waking up” is a continuous process. There’s no limit to your awareness, but it takes practice. How many of us have lived or worked with someone for years who has to keep asking us how we like our coffee. You wonder if they would remember your name if they had to take you to the emergency room. The poet Kabir expresses this idea very well: “If you are in a deep sleep, why waste time smoothing the bed and arranging the pillows?” It takes the ability to listen and be fully present in conversation so you’re able to recall the things that please others. It doesn’t have to be extravagant or complicated; in fact, it’s the insignificant details that truly delight people. To remember how a certain individuals take their coffee or what their favorite colors are means that you care and you’ve paid attention—you’re awake! Similarly, you need to remain open to the surprises that occur in your life. They can be lovely gestures from others, and sometimes they’ll be nothing more than a sudden appreciation of something new and wonderful. There’s a profound side to living a life full of surprise: It can spur your ability to be grateful. To act as if each day has wonderful unknown opportunities opens the door to being thankful and feeling happiness. I’ve watched many children clap their hands gleefully at a butterfly, flower, or rainbow—it’s the merry delight in the unexpected that they’re experiencing. What’s really great about kids is that they are surprised repeatedly over the same thing, however, our culture is making it more and more difficult for this to continue, since anything new becomes old very quickly. I have grown to greatly appreciate the surprise of finding my mate has emptied the dishwasher, cleaned the countertops and vacuumed the crumbs off the kitchen floor. I am totally surprised and delighted when I sleep through the night and when I can still fit in some of the clothes. It makes for a really good day. Try to fill your life with surprise and don’t allow cynicism to become your ally, for it will only age you quickly…then the only surprise you’ll get is an early death
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