Last week I had an invitation that sounded fabulous.
Head down to the event in Millersylvania State Park campground south of Olympia, Washington (about 75 miles from my house) and join the group for the afternoon who were gathering to do The Work.
Several facilitators of The Work organized this and planned well.
Knowing I couldn’t be there, I hadn’t been closely involved….
….but learned I’d be not only welcome, but much appreciated, even if I came only for Friday afternoon.
I switched around my schedule, moved some things to Thursday, and hit the road before noon thinking I had plenty of time to arrive for their afternoon meeting.
And I waited in traffic.
And inched forward at 5 miles per hour.
Then waited some more.
It took almost an hour to leave the boundaries of Seattle, the place I was traveling FROM.
But then, the freeway opened up, I looked at my watch, and thought OK then! Here we go!
No problem, I’ll still make it!
Until I hit the next large city.
And waited in traffic.
And read overhead signs that said “thick congestion for the next ten miles”.
I called my husband and had him look at the traffic report on his computer and the guess-timated time of arrival.
It put me arriving one hour later than originally planned.
So as I sat, and sat (I was also very hot, my car has no AC) here came the idea….
….turn around and go back home.
I felt hot, slow, tired, and late.
The next exit, I got off the freeway (at 2 miles per hour mind you), crawled across the overpass, and got back on the freeway, going the opposite direction……back home.
Now, this is a little stressful. It’s not fun for me telling people who are expecting me “nevermind, I’m not coming.”
But the real kicker stressful thought actually entered into my mind upon arrival back home.
After more sluggish traffic all the way back.
The voice sounded like this…..
“Why didn’t you just press on? What’s the big deal with a little traffic in your life once in awhile? Really? Your entire afternoon is cleared, it wouldn’t have been that bad being an hour late, you could have still stayed for dinner. What’s your freakin’ problem?”
Wow. I call it Decision Remorse.
It’s not unfamiliar, but honestly, I hadn’t had the experience in quite awhile.
I felt sad to be missing out! And self-critical!
The next morning, I awoke early.
“I can try again today. Even though I’m facilitating a dance class this morning, and I think my daughter needs me to buy some boots with her for our upcoming trip…..Yes, there’s still a chance. I can do it!”
But, I couldn’t really.
I would have had to clear my calendar all over again, including bumping my daughter AGAIN to the following day (which it turned out wouldn’t work, I soon discovered).
The stressy part was the feeling of being pulled in several directions at once.
All in my own mind.
Fear of Missing Out (FOMO). Fear of Disappointing Others (FODO).
Later, I knew what to do.
Question these concepts.
I’m missing out on something, is it true?
Yes. It’s absolutely true.
I’m missing out on a TON of things on planet earth right now, including the gathering of beautiful people in Millersylvania.
But who would I be without the belief this is a bad thing?
Whew. Way lighter.
Open to the present moment, no matter how mundane it looks (traffic on a freeway vs sitting in a group doing The Work, doesn’t matter).
Who would I also be without the belief it’s bad to disappoint someone?
Just following the simple directions, without over-analyzing them. Taking care of myself like a kind, dedicated, peaceful decision-maker.
Not thinking into someone else’s business (what will other people feel)? Not worrying that I’m doing something wrong.
Noticing, yes, it might have been not-so-hard to press on, during the heavy traffic moment….
….but for some reason, the next exit beckoned and said “turn around”.
Nothing terrible about that.
And even if I could have done The Work in that moment on traffic and lateness and COULD have found it didn’t matter and I COULD have continued on my merry way….
….NOW is what was happening, which was woman returned home, drank water, cooled off, lay down to rest, imagined her friends in Millersylvania State Park amongst the pine trees, while ready to do the next thing in front of her.
“You may find that you don’t need to navigate a future at all–that what appears now is all you’ve got, and even this is always immediately gone. And when you’ve stopped making war with reality, you ARE what changes, totally without control. That state of constant change is creation without limits–efficient, free, and beautiful beyond description.” ~ Byron Katie in 1000 Names For Joy
Much love, Grace