I’d like to wager that
has likely experienced the bone-chill that accompanies the realization that the one thing into which you’ve been diligently pouring your blood, sweat, and tears…has vanished.
Sometimes, all it takes is a single, fateful moment to undo hours, days, weeks, months, or even years of work, to delete precious and irreplaceable memories, or for achingly important items to go missing.
- The near-complete set of report card comments you spend days crafting…poof.
- Your computer crashes and important documents…gone.
- The passport you need to board the plane back home… still sitting on the small round coffee table adjacent to the room service menu.
- The one-of-a-kind baby photos you’ve been meaning to transfer from your phone to your computer…only a distant memory after a clumsy juggling act at your front door.
You get the picture…well, actually not any more.
In moments like those, my breath catches and my chest tightens, skin bristling with kinetic potential fueled by adrenaline. Frozen in time, I can sense the ever-quickening shallowness of my inhalations.
Have you ever mindfully noticed how your body reacts when it’s in panic mode?
It’s fascinatingly similar in likeness to your body being remotely occupied like a desktop computer by some tech assistant from a faraway land, who speaks an unrecognizable language, and keeps instructing you to do things you feel incapable of doing.
In other words, it’s easy to feel completely out of control.
In rapid succession, within the space of one week, three fairly-devastating events took place, delivering me to the very brink of my patience, and if I’m really honest, my sanity.
1. Just yesterday, while in the process of attempting to relocate and move my classroom resources after an extended parenthood leave, it dawned on me that due to a communication error more than 75% of my boxes had completely disappeared. Permanently. (Deep, deep freakin’ breath.)
2. Last week, after having had one of the most incredibly rewarding, gold-mine podcast interviews with a very VIP guest, my computer glitched, the software we were using to stage and record the call crashed unexpectedly and with it went the full hour-and-a-half interview. (Cue panicked hyperventilation.)
3. And, finally, yesterday morning, no sooner had the coffee touched my sleep-deprived lips, did I hear: “Moooooommmmmmyyy!” To my horror, I discovered one of my blessed angels with ball-point-pen in hand and devious grin on face. There, laying face-up on our couch was the defaced page of Daniel Pink’s freshly-minted library-edition book I had meaning to dig into. (ARGH!!! Seriously, people?) The irony was not lost on me when upon closer inspection, the joyous scribbling had been contained to the opening page of the book, a quote:
“Time isn’t the main thing. It’s the only thing.” -Miles Davis
Was it a sign? Perhaps. With the intention of purchasing the book, I ripped the page out with purpose, and taped the quote to my fridge. Thank you, Miles Davis for the timely reminder of what truly matters in this world.
Although I may have lost some really important, seemingly irreplaceable items in short succession, the really important things in life will always remain intact.
These moments provide opportunities for deep practice in patience, letting go of our attachment to things, forgiveness (of self and others), adaptability, or at the very least, resisting the temptation to unleash unrelenting fury on the world.
Nestled within the struggle of ‘opportunities’ is the ability to rebuild a foundation that is even stronger than before.
- Due to the generous nature of my podcast guest (and some reconfiguring of technical equipment), I was able to reschedule and rerecord the interview. I’d like to say that it was even better than the first.
- Those lost boxes enable me to enter a more minimalist approach to teaching, one I had always been meaning to adopt, anyway. No day like the present, I guess.
- In a way, I’m grateful for the quote. It was worth the $30 to be reminded to stay present in the now. It’s all we really ever have.