“Anything can happen if you let it.”

There are a few different ways you could interpret that. One is as a cautionary warning, a reminder to set firm limits and boundaries, and to stay disciplined, focused, and attentive. Because if you’re not, if you loosen up a bit or get a little careless, you never know what awful things might occur.

I prefer to take it in the other direction, however – the one in which you wander and explore. Having an idea, certainly, of where you’re going and how you intend to get there, but staying open to new ideas, new routes, and new possibilities along the way. Embracing and welcoming the surprises you discover. And there WILL be surprises for you to discover – because anything can happen if you let it.

That line, by the way, was a running theme – as well as the title of one of the delightful songs – in Mary Poppins, which I saw with some friends at the Chanhassen Dinner Theatres one evening last week.

If hearing the name of “Mary Poppins” makes you think only of the 1964 Disney movie – which you saw ages ago as a kid, or more recently with your own kids – don’t bother trying to remember the song. It’s one of several in the stage play that weren’t in the original movie. And it held its own in the magical world of Mary Poppins, even among the classics like “A Spoonful of Sugar,” “Chim Chim Cher-ee,” and the irreplaceable – and nearly unspellable – “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.”

Both the song and the show put me in a whimsical mood, transporting me to a place where toys and statues come to life, where chimney sweeps dance on rooftops, and where an open umbrella is a legitimate mode of transportation. But it also reminded me of the things that can happen when we take ourselves too seriously, when we get too caught up in our jobs, our roles, and our day-to-day lives.

When that happens, we can easily forget – or simply not take the time – to notice and appreciate all the wonder that surrounds us. We ignore or take for granted the people who are closest to us. We get caught up in everything we have to do, and slip away from things we would love to do. And we let the world close in around us, instead of seeing the world of possibilities waiting for us right outside our front door.

Because of the coaching work I do to help people achieve their dreams and goals, I see over and over again what can happen when we take the time to explore, when we let go of rigid beliefs and preconceived notions, and when we’re willing to try something new, even if we have no idea how it’s going to turn out. When we loosen our grip, step out of our comfort zone, and trust that we can take a flying leap into the unknown and still land on our feet, we discover courage, confidence, and power that we never knew we possessed.

And we realize how true it is that anything can happen if you let it.

The column “Find Your Buried Treasure” appears weekly in the Chanhassen (MN) Villager. This column was published on June 25, 2015. ©Betty Liedtke, 2015

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