When I teach I also talk a lot about being intentional. I believe we either set up the motion of our action or we let others' random forces direct our energy. So it was pretty embarrassing after a day of preaching the intention gospel I found my beloved car slammed into the back of a building-size Ford pickup in bumper-to-bumper rush-hour traffic. The impact exploded my air bags filled with a dust that smelled of burning carcinogen. The force fattened my lip and smacked my wrist, leaving a golf ball-size lump in a second. The good news is I was only going 25. The bad news is the cop called by the cheerful witness came long enough to write a report, hand me a $345 ticket for following too close, scold me and leave me waiting for the tow truck in the space between off-ramp and interstate freeway. Bad day.
Let's back up, though. This debacle happened at the end of a long line of misalignments. There was the crud I contracted on Christmas Eve and hobbled away from a month later long enough to travel with my adult children. There was the relapse upon my return, followed closely by an onslaught of allergies, sneezing and blowing until nauseous. There was the slight twist as I opened my office window leaving a pain in my back that whimpered when I breathed and yowled at the end of the day. And me with a heavy teaching load. When I left the classroom the afternoon I totaled my car, all I wanted was to be home on my heating pad in my jammies.
Each time I was knocked down, I would get up. I kept trying to surrender and take care of myself instead of examining my part in the downturn. It wasn't until the accident that I finally said, "What is the lesson here?" Truth be known, all my struggles can be traced to my difficulty assuming the rhythm of things happening around me. I love to make things happen. I struggle to let them happen. The fall had been filled challenges to my own ability to go with the flow.
- All the kids home for an extended time during the holidays (I wanted it to be special).
- One daughter's impending backpack trip to South America (if you are a parent I don't have to say more).
- My anxiety-ridden aging parent with failing memory (if you are the child of an aging parent I don't have to say more).
- My own developing writing voice (I want it to happen faster).
I confessed this abysmal behavior to one of my healer peeps. I told her that I felt like a fraud. She understood the feeling because even as she prescribes therapies and practices to her patients, she's unable to perform them perfectly in her own life. Her optimistic viewpoint is that even though we aren't perfect, we keep trying to learn the lessons and that gives us a slight lead on those who don't. That makes us teachers.
I'm reminded that even when we are smart and really trying, change is hard. Even when we know who we want to be, choosing behavior that matches is life's work. And while today I'm feeling okay about making baby steps of progress, I keep wondering how many times it will take to truly learn the lesson. Maybe I need to change all my passwords to "gowiththeflow1st."