A new year arrives. The adventure continues into a new decade. Anything could happen.
Need a reminder? In 2010, the last year of an eventful decade, scientists questioned the basic theory of how planets formed.
Atronomers at Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network, in Goleta, California, discovered nine new planets orbiting far-off stars in the wrong direction. Star gazers at giant telescopes around the world soon confirmed.
According to the prevailing theory of how planets are created, they are supposed to orbit in the same direction as their star spins. The discovery of the wrong-way stars brought that all in to question.
We’re not even sure how planets form! That’s awesome, in classic sense of the word: the universe is huge, we are small and in awe.
The English word “adventure” evolved from the Latin world adventura. The flavor of the word as we use it today – a spicy mix of risk, danger, novelty and excitement – dates back to somewhere between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries.
But the Latin word simply stems from ad – “to” – and venire – “come”. To come.
Remembering this is powerful medicine. Moment to moment, life keeps coming, arrives fresh.
Something new is always on the horizon, part of it we control – we set the rudder, trim our sails – much of it we don’t. In the doldrums we’re bored silly. We watch kittens on YouTube or wonder – just wonder – about Snooki, from Jersey Shore. During the storms, we brace ourselves and pray to our gods for survival.
To anyone reading this, may the next decade bring you much adventure. May you find some risk and danger, plenty of novelty and excitement, not too much Snooki or desperate moments of praying for your life. Chart a course and take what comes as gift, with grace.
To help with the grace part, a poem from the Persian mystic Jelaluddin Rumi:
The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.