Tuesday, February 7, 2017
I'm thinking now of two dear friends who headed to the airport Sunday afternoon to fly out for a vacation in Australia -- celebrating his 60th birthday, her newly-minted PhD, and (presumably) Valentines Day.
After a series of delays for de-icing, they were finally deplaned and sent to a hotel for Sunday night. Attempting to take the same flight again on Monday, they were delayed again and missed their connection to Sydney, but at least made it to a hotel in San Francisco Monday night. They're hoping to catch a flight to Sydney today, but flash flood warnings are keeping them tied to the hotel -- and all of this without luggage. Oy!
It was as I was reading the latest in their series of misadventures that I pulled into the parking lot for my weekly meditation group and saw smoke pouring out of the hood of my friend's car. She called her husband but his truck was stuck in the snow. Fortunately when she saw flames she called 911: the firemen arrived very quickly, but the car is now totaled.
As John Lennon once said, "Life happens when you're making other plans." But what do we do with that? Those of us who like to think of ourselves as "spiritual" know all too well how quickly those "rise above it" thoughts go out the window when difficulties hit -- or at least that's true for me. I think I'm pretty chill, but something will come along to set me off and I'm just as distraught, or angry, or irrational as the most nauseating politician. Will I ever grow up?
It's easy to beat ourselves up over our reactions to life's troubles -- especially when we pride ourselves on being calm, cool, and collected. All that reading and meditating and you're right back where you started: ugh! The good news, I think, is now -- when I realize that's what's going on -- I'm a little better at stepping back from the fray; a little better at listening to my heart; to my fears and my anger (or, in some cases, my inappropriate exultations). I can catch myself in mid-eruption and scale it back, even if only a little.
And though the first thought in my head is almost always "You're an idiot!" I'm following that quickly with "No. You're not an idiot. You're still learning." If nothing else, I'm getting better at understanding what triggers me and why; tracing back the self-perceptions that get shaken in the storms; bringing them out to air and dissipate -- it's all good.
Yup. No matter what you've been planning, life has a way of happening anyway; of pulling the rug out from under us. I'm trying to learn to think of that rug as a magic carpet, and just hang on for the ride.
Posted by Diane Walker at 1:05 PM