I drove up to the Peace Village yoga retreat listening to the rest of my most recent audiobook "How to Be a Stoic" by Massimo Piglicci and periodically checking-in with myself mentally, physically and emotionally/spiritually (as is one of the mindful practices I have adopted into daily life over the past year).
About an hour and a half or so into the journey, I hit traffic. The ETA suddenly jumped far beyond the check-in window listed out I read in the email confirmation. I noticed the familiar twinge of embarrassment and admonishment just beginning to show up inside me.
I noticed the familiar twinges of embarrassment and admonishment start to show up inside...
...recognizing what it was about, I checked in with my intentions and subsequently decided "asked Siri" to call the retreat center so that I could focus on what was in my control: my attitude and my actions.
I chose words as concisely as I could to briefly provide clarity: identify who I was, why I was calling and which would best resonate my intent. I indicated that I was still en route and that the GPS provided an updated forecast that showed I would arrive late; and asked if it was still okay for me to come.
The woman on the phone responded with a calm, matter-of-fact "Yes. It's okay. Keep on coming up. See you when you get here." The voice inside me dialed down momentarily into silent disapproval as I thanked her and our conversation ended.
A moment later, the voice began again in protest... Was she irritated? Was she bored? Did she even care?
Without judging the voice's concerns, I redirected my awareness to recount the known facts:
1. Circumstances & Control: I left home when I left. Many other people got onto the highway when they did. Those collective were decisions that have put me in the circumstances of the here and now. Only one of those decisions was under my control.
2. Actions & Intentions: I called to express respect (for the time, effort and space Peace Village was holding for me) and to inquire whether this turn of events changed their willingness to receive me. I made my inquiry with understanding and intention to unconditionally accept whatever the outcome was. What others feel, or choose to think, say and do is outside of what I can control.
3. Orientation & Current Conditions: I received a confirmation that all was well with continuing on my way. The reception appeared welcoming at face value. My decision to call, the spirit with which I chose to focus on were in my control.
The nagging discomfort inside faded into nothingness shortly thereafter. This stuff is like practical magic!
It took just minute or two (if that!) to do to restore my peace and emotional stability in that instance...
Months of regular practice is continually cultivating my courage and more regular peace of mind which is encouraging me to stay disciplined. My peace returned and I continued on my way, having maneuvered through discomfort again.
I was able to return to my enjoyment of learning more secular ways to support this healing path. Oh, Epictetus... You make so much sense the way that Massimo shares his experience with you! It sounds like much of Stoicism, Buddhism, Psychology, Logotherapy and other philosophies (including ADJUST of course!) share common themes, which somehow we've forgotten and need to be reminded of... primarily that we have some responsibility in controlling--better yet: cultivating / shaping our life's experiences.
Self-re-discovery is such an amazing journey.
Although I arrived with quickened steps through the door, I wore an open heart and smile to greet the experience...
As the rest of me caught up from the sprint between the car and the front desk, I was beginning to realize that my comfort zone too was catching up--expanding 145 miles north from home, and although incrementally on the surface, growing leaps and bounds on the inside.
The reception I received was warm as the woman stepped out from behind the desk, pausing momentarily from juggling others who appeared to be late arrivals as well, so that she could show me where I could set my bags for the moment and where I could go for the dinner then the evening's next talk.
I am continually delighted and so grateful for the opportunities and means to integrate what resonates into practices to actively co-author my happily EVEN after.
I can't wait to see what happens the rest of the weekend!