I was all set to attend a meditation retreat today, yet as I drove to the center where the session was to occur, I encountered road construction. The freeway that was supposed to take me to my desired location was closed – and I had no idea how to get to the meditation hall any other way. Umm…what to do?
The first order of business was to exit the freeway before it came to an abrupt end – which I did successfully. 🙂 I then pulled into the nearest parking lot I could find, and extracted my smart phone from my purse. I Googled the name of the retreat center to find the address, then Mapquested from my current location to get driving directions from where I was to where I wanted to be. This seemed like a great plan – except that I ran into another problem. The mapping app couldn’t find my current location, so it couldn’t offer me directions. I was on my own with this one.
I calmly responded to this turn of events by opening the compass feature on my phone and literally getting my bearings. I knew the general direction the center was relative to where I was, so I simply pointed my car in that direction, and off I went.
The meditation hall is near the Mississippi River, so the roads in the area are anything but direct. I encountered many streets that started heading east but then abruptly turned south, and/or roads that went along for several blocks but then unexpectedly hit a dead end. Whenever I found myself suddenly on a course that no longer suited my needs, I simply found the next nearest available road that looked semi-promising, pointed my car in that direction, and off I went. I trusted my intuition, and figured I would either find my desired end goal, find something close enough to my goal that I could confidently make it the rest of the way there (based on my past travels in the area), or get hopelessly lost and have to abandon the workshop and head home. Surprisingly, I was totally okay with any of these options.
So I calmly drove a while, taking in the cool new scenery (artful graffiti, gorgeous red fall leaves, creative political signs in yards), moving and turning as my gut told me to. Ten minutes later, I surprised myself by turning right and literally pulling into the center’s parking lot. I was four minutes early for the meditation workshop.
As I sat down on a cushion in the hall, I reflected on how completely unexpected and unpredictable the past 20 minutes were for me; and how I handled the situation with surprising ease and genuine peace. If I had faced the same situation a few months ago, I likely would have panicked, got frustrated (even angry), cried – or some combination of all those ‘options’. Yet today, for whatever reason, I simply said, “Hm. Well. This is an unexpected development,” – and I took it all in stride. For those few moments, I was able to stay with a peaceful acceptance of life exactly as it was – and living this experience totally made me smile. These moments of grace still represent a minority share of my total life experiences – but these little gifts are growing in number and increasing in duration. As I absolutely love it. Onward!