Oxford Languages defines a Whim as “a sudden desire or change of mind, especially one that is unusual or unexplained.” ("she bought it on a whim")
Reading that brings a sense of delight into my whole being and a smile to my face! For some I imagine it might bring a different reaction. However, as I reflect back on my life some of the very best things have happened “on a whim!”
When I first thought about writing about this word for today’s #AtoZChallenge, I had the sense that the word is considered to be light, airy, and maybe fanciful – something not to be taken too seriously or even dismissed. How does “whim” land for you?
I’ll share just a couple of my big life whims (which also land solidly in my “win” column as things that fill me with such joy):
1. Buying my first horse, Sport, a semi-wild 5-year-old, breathtakingly beautiful grey Arab, who was very far from the ideal first horse…and yet, I had to have him. I could feel it to my core – he excited me, he scared me, I had no idea how to work with him,he was too small and too excitable for the dressage showing I wanted to do. And yet… my heart and soul knew we were meant to be together.
At the time I was newly married. When I tried to do the logical thing of figuring out whether we could afford him, it was clear that we could not – there was $16 left before groceries. And yet…
I was 25. I had wanted a horse my entire life. My husband was on board, even though it made no logical sense. Somehow we found a way.
It was one of the best moves of my life, and I have zero regrets, even though this choice certainly contributed significantly to the pile of debt we had to work harder to get out from under over the years. You can see this beautiful creature and read our story in The Beauty of NOT being Logical! Whims are NOT logical!
2. Going alone to Australia for a 2-week writing cruise… I am not an adventurous solo traveler. When I could not find anyone to join me for this trip, I was ready to let it go. And yet (maybe these words are a sign of a whim!)… I could feel the longing, the desire, the need to go. I couldn’t satisfy logical answers about why or what I expected to get. I had never before agreed to share a tiny box-like room with a stranger, and I was scared to death.
And yet… I figured out how to make it happen. New Year’s Eve 2011 sent me off for one of the best adventures of my life. I met people who are still dear to me. I connected with myself and fed my writer dream (though I still have not written the book that was stirring in me at that time). Zero regrets.
I do many things “on a whim.” When I see retreats, programs, teachers, or groups, I often seem to know immediately whether this is a “yes” or a “no.” Often very big decisions happen on a whim, and in retrospect carry zero regret. It was on a whim that I applied for and got my last full-time job at a time when I had no thought of going back to work. Something inside of me knew the time was right to take this leap, even though I was largely unprepared!
I am grateful my husband shares this spontaneity – most of our moves have been out of the blue, on a whim, and sometimes right after we declared we were not moving. Actually, I met him on a whim – on a night I had sworn off men forever.
So, are whims fanciful moves of the airheaded? Or are they divine inspiration or soul guidance? I have no idea what the right answer is, but from my perspective they are most assuredly guidance, intuition, knowing, and they lead me to such beautiful richness!
Often times “what if’s” keep us stuck or paralyzed for fear of what might go wrong. What if it doesn’t work out? What if this was the wrong move? And, don’t get me wrong, these questions live within me even in most of my whims… the bigger the decision the louder the what if!
What if we should wait? What if that other program is better? What if our hearts aren’t big enough to love another child? See how analysis paralysis could set in? Waiting, worrying, looking for the perfect moment, wishing we could have certainty before making a move… we might never do anything!
The closer we get to the thing that’s most important to the soul, the scarier it can be! Some of my strongest anxiety has come in when things felt most right. So strange, but maybe the intensity rouses the part that wants to keep us safe… anything to prevent a big mistake!
And yet, what if we looked at our what if’s another way? What if we could connect with the wonder, awe, possibility? What if this actually works out? What if things are amazing? What if we dared to dream or hope? These what ifs can pull us forward, even into the scary unknown, riding on the wings of hope and desire!
Both sides of the what if are always available to us, because as we looked at in the recent post about Unknown and Uncertainty, no one can know with 100% certainty what the future holds. So, we always have to be willing to weigh the risks, consider the pros and cons, and feel into whether something is a yes or a no for us. With every excitement there is likely anxiety.
When I think about wins, they have nothing to do with material gain, beating someone else out for something, or even necessarily having anything wonderful to show the world. Sometimes I can’t prove a win to anyone. Sometimes the win has nothing to do with the outcome and everything to do with how I showed up along the way.
To me, a win brings a sense of contentment or fulfillment at a deep, deep level. A win is when I feel in integrity, in alignment with my soul’s imperative.
The whims I’ve shared here are all wins. I’m sure there are others that haven’t gone so well, and it’s a win that they’re not coming to mind right now.
How about you? What’s your relationship with whims, what ifs, and wins? Please share.