Expect nothing. Live frugally on surprise. - Alice Walker

Surprise is the shock we experience when an unpredictable moment in life breaks in to move us beyond the comfort zones of our everyday certainties and the patterns of consistent normalcy. It can often simultaneously conjure up both positive and negative emotions due to the unexpected nature of its overwhelming eventfulness.

We all love the surprises that generate the positive emotion of excitement and inquisitive interest in us but are somewhat suspicious and sometimes terrified of the negative emotion that emerges in times of traumatic or discordant upheaval. A surprise gift or treat can make us feel elated and valued especially when it arrives without any premeditated awareness, whereas a surprise that comes in the form of crisis can be devastating, and require a whole new paradigm of skills, strength and energy to endure.

Surprise is the greatest gift which life can grant us. - Boris Pasternak

Our love hate relationship with surprise is due to the fact that we are uncomfortable with the transrational constructs that work outside of our cause and affect logic. Surprise is somehow mysteriously partnering with existence itself as it seeks to dictate our formation and maturation. The otherness component of life reminds us that our consciousness is formed and fuelled by unnerving coincidences and the unexplainable moments that are linked to our intrinsic dependency on the spiritual and unseen realms.

Mystery is at the heart of creativity. That, and surprise. -Julia Cameron


Our creative development is also subsidised by the mystery of surprise as it seeks to keep our imagination animated and enlightened. At the heart of all creativity is this innovative energy that arrives when it is least expected to colour and contour our lives. The essence of destiny is that she thrives on the transcendent-immanent collusion of surprise that remains committed to helping us let go of old ways of being in order to embrace the new ways of our becoming…easier said than done.

If I am going to trust in a divine power at work in my life then I have to find the grace to embrace the surprises that appear on my doorstep regardless of what they look like, those strange occurrences that knock on the door of my life to help me consider how interruption as supernatural intrusion needs to be discerned, processed, and sometimes welcomed in. Not all surprises are necessarily going to reshape our lives but they will ambush our attention long enough to help us consider the possibility of change. The discomfort I often feel is reminiscent of my ongoing struggle with what it means to accept the guiding hand of an outside force or muse that is somehow involved in my best interest.

If surprise is linked to our transformation then it may well be that we need to see it as a metaphor for the divine, that which regularly presents itself before us as a guiding light that reveals the way forward. And while there is a part of us all that prefers to have a much more certain and predictable continuity to life, surprise asks us to trust in the great unknown and be brave in the of the light of the fear and anxiety that uncertainty brings.

Remember…just like we welcome every new day as a gift of the universe, regardless of how it is going to turn out, embrace surprise in the same spirit of gratefulness.