By Susie Ekberg
Q: Do you believe in luck? Or in other words, do you think four leaf clovers are lucky, and would you ever kiss the Blarney Stone?
A: Sort of, maybe, and I already have. Great – that was a short column! Lucky me!
Okay, seriously though, we make our own luck, through hard work and tenacity and being in the right place at the right time. If we just sit at home, we certainly aren’t going to meet anyone or see anything or DO anything that would move us toward our dreams, unless the doorbell rings and we get presented a check for $10,000,000, but I don’t think that’s going to happen to any of us any time soon, do you?
The theory of luck was created to help us feel some sense of control over our lives, that seem at times uncontrollable. Such as, “if I wear this lucky rabbit’s foot on this journey, no ill will befall me.” (I guess I’m in the Middle Ages now), or “if I don’t let this black cat cross my path, my sick mother will get better.” Most of us like to believe in luck, or magic, because otherwise life is just so… random. Things can’t just happen, can they? Events have to be due to outside circumstances, such as everyone on the Saints team wearing their lucky underwear—THAT’S why the Vikings lost! Then it all can make sense to us.
So we invent things that are lucky, based on past events, usually. In college, a friend of mine on our basketball team used to wear her lucky socks each important game because she was wearing them when we won one time earlier in the year. Each game, yup, out came the increasingly unwashed socks, and we were surrounded with the magic of her Lucky Socks (or maybe just the smell emanating from them). Either way, maybe we made our own magic, as we remained undefeated after Christmas that year, and went on to win the National Championship. Luck? Maybe. Or maybe it was the hundreds of hours of practice and a lot of really talented players and great coaching.
I love four leaf clovers. I’ve been looking for them my whole life, and could never seem to find any, until my eldest son came along. Those darned four leaf clovers just flock to him. I think they even pluck themselves out of the ground and throw themselves into his path, because he finds them everywhere he goes. Is he lucky? Well, yes, now that I think about it, he really IS lucky, having gone through some pretty heavy stuff and come out smelling like, well, a freshly washed athletic sock.
I happen to think that some people are born luckier than others, but maybe that’s just because that’s part of their path to experience that. Why does one whole block get leveled when the tornado passes through, but that one house on the end is left perfectly intact? Luck? I don’t know. Sure seems to look that way. Fate? That gets a little scarier, because we like to think that we can DO something about keeping the bad away from us, and drawing the good to us. Ah, NOW we’re getting somewhere.
I call it attraction, how we view the world, or what we call to us with our energy and mindset. I once had a neighbor that was always complaining about how awful and unfriendly people in Fargo were. I had just come back from Hornbacher’s Express, and had had a lovely exchange with Doris, the checkout clerk there. That same day my neighbor had also gone to Hornbacher’s Express and told me about the rude clerk named Doris. What? I thought, are we talking about the same Doris? Yes, we were, but I believe that since my neighbor and I had such different outlooks on life (I love people and I don’t think my neighbor does), we got the experiences we were looking for, expecting, and seeing.
I’ve always been lucky in some ways, like when the Oprah Show called me and my whole family appeared on the last three minutes of one of their shows. Or the time I ran into Phil Collins down in Arizona. Lucky? Well, if I hadn’t gone to Debbie Ford’s workshop out in California, she never would’ve recommended me to Oprah, and if I hadn’t gone down to Arizona I never would’ve run into Phil. I also seem to win contests a lot, but come to think of it again, my oldest son wins a lot of scratch tickets and contests. Maybe he IS just lucky!
I don’t go out of my way to avoid black cats (I love all cats), I don’t NOT walk under ladders (unless they look rickety and I think they might fall on me), I don’t throw salt over my shoulder if I spill some, or worry if I break a mirror (I’m so clumsy I’ve probably accumulated three lifetimes of bad luck by now if that superstition were true)...
But the Blarney Stone? Been there, done that, and experienced a creepy old man grabbing me a little too high on my waist to lower me backwards over the edge of this crumbling castle wall, out in the middle of nowhere, only to look upside down at the ground 100 feet below me, trying to avoid the pink lipstick marks, to kiss a plain brown brick. Whoopee. Did it bring me luck? Well, it probably was pretty fun for that creepy guy, but not very impressive to me, so no, I wouldn’t recommend kissing the Blarney Stone. I personally think it’s just a bunch of blarney.
But hey, if you have your little rituals, and they make you happy, I don’t think there’s any harm in it, as long as you don’t go overboard.
Sometimes those routines can paralyze you. If you NEED on any of those “lucky” things to get you through your day, such as “I can’t find my stuffed armadillo so I can’t go to my business meeting,” then you may be in trouble.
Create your own luck, have fun with lucky rituals you adopt from others, or make up your own. The world IS full of magic and unexplainable things, and yes, ‘bad’ things DO happen, and if they’re meant to happen, it doesn’t seem like there’s anything we can do to prevent them, but for me, that’s a comfort. Then I know that I’m not responsible for everything that happens. Some things just HAPPEN. But in the midst of all of that, I DO still think there’s a greater Blueprint for our lives, something that keeps us on our Paths, doing what we need to do, and that brings me the most comfort of all. It’s not all up to me OR my lucky little blue binky.
Happy St. Paddy’s Day, everybody, and be sure to drink your green beer responsibly.
Susie’s note: Today would have been my mom’s 88th birthday – Happy Birthday, Mom—I love you. I’ll drink a toast down here for you, and you drink one out there for the rest of us, okay?
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