dealing with the unexpected

Wrenches - what to do when they get thrown in...

Wrenches.  Unexpected events or occurrences that get tossed into the machinery of life.  As in, "Well, that really put a wrench in it!" What do we do when we start our day all ready for productivity and greatness and then find a wrench stuck in the machine?

I think my answer is to watch for distortion.  I was going to write about distortion anyway today, and then the universe provided me with a giant unexpected wrench.  Here's what happened.

My bicycle was stolen.  Yes, that cute one on the right that I just took on a Fourth of July picnic with my honey.  That one.  It was stolen while locked up on an extremely busy street in the French Quarter in broad daylight.  (Oh how I hate to tell you this, because I love my city and I don't want you to think ill of it.)  I haven't given much thought to who did it or how - in fact I'm strangely unable to wish the thief or thieves ill.  I hope somehow that something shifts in a positive way for them- some kind of change or lesson.  But that is not my business. I don't know their story and I never will.

So I ironically asked myself, "What's perfect about this?"  Not a whole heck of a lot. First I just felt disoriented and kind of stupid.  Was I sure that's where I'd parked it? Was that the light post I'd attached it to?  Then I just felt crappy. And I allowed myself to feel crappy - I even shed a brief tear of frustration and general ickiness. A little bit of "poor me." But I stuck with my plans and had a lovely lunch with a friend who was able to pick me up and drive me home too.  I had a bag full of goodies from LUSH that I'll be sharing with my retreat participants. (By the way, there's still room in the retreat if you want to check it out!) I wasn't missing anything except the bike.

I wish this story ended like the wallet story, with me turning the corner and forgetting I'd parked the bike in a completely different place, but alas, that's not the case.  However, when I got home, my sweetheart hugged me and said, "I'm so sorry this happened to you.  You need a bike - let's go get you a new one tomorrow." And we can do that.  We have enough money.  We have enough and more than enough, of everything.

So what about distortion? Well I find that my mind can sometimes go into distortion mode.  Sky is falling mode.  Interestingly, my mind is generally better in the face of minor tragedies like petty theft.  My mind's preferred subject of distortion is in day to day dealings.  It likes to distort how long something's going to take, or how hopeless everything's going to be if I've missed one day of a habit I'm trying to take up.

So next time you're dealing with a major or minor wrench in your plans, watch your mind.  Is it going into distortion mode?  Is it whipping up a giant story about how awful everything is or is going to be?  Ask yourself if you need to believe your mind, or just look around at the actual circumstances, and deal with them in the best way you know how.