Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Little Lessons in Letting Go of What We Think is Going to Happen...

I had planned to get to work early and take care of a couple of things to get a jump start on the week. However, when I arrived, the door was locked, and I realized that the director of the course I was teaching had not given me a key card.

It was a few minutes past 8am, and other people would not start arriving at the building until about 8:40am. And it was already hot, somewhere in the low 80s.

I stood there, processing all of this, feeling the budding sensations of irritation settling in...

...then I looked around me. Alongside the building where I am teaching for this week is a garden courtyard, offset at the entrance with a pond lined with topiaries for this weekend's upcoming Festival of Flowers, a major event for our town.

I knew I had a stand there and allow grumpiness to settle in about a situation I really could do nothing about, or take advantage of the unexpected change in plans - not getting into my classroom early, but rather being stranded outside until 8:40 - by enjoying a morning stroll through the courtyard garden. Of course, I chose the latter.

The bursts of colors were breathtaking. I've walked past this courtyard garden many times while being uptown, but never stopped to truly take it in. To focus on an individual flower...

...or the care and attention to detail shown by those who tend this garden. 

I watched a bee feed...

...and a robin take flight.

 I was able to forget about the change in plans and be in the moment there in that small little oasis of nature right in the heart of downtown.

No matter whether we make big plans that require much foresight and preparation, or just small plan like getting to work a half hour early to be better prepared, they can fall apart with moment's notice. What else can we do but accept that things aren't going to happen the way we'd thought and simply keep moving forward? If I'd chosen to be angry, stand at the door and think miserable thoughts, that 30+ minutes of time still would have passed by, but I'd not have enjoyed it very much. Instead I chose to find a way to enjoy the time, be in the moment, notice what was around me and take joy in it rather than focus on what wasn't going to happen.

I had to let go of what I wanted, which in this case was something small, and relatively easy to release. Sometimes it's harder to do, but letting go is a skill that takes practice and the only choice we have (other than frustration and unhappiness) in many situations. Instead of being in a classroom for extra 30 minutes, I got to spend beautiful time in nature in a garden so lovely it took my breath away. A garden I may  not have gotten to explore otherwise! And learn a little more what being in the moment really means.

Read more about this subject in upcoming post on unexpected change of summer plans. :-)

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