My last blog was about the Women’s March, an event I was passionate about participating in, and this is the unexpected story that transpired. I had canceled a day of work to attend, and rose at 5:00 a.m. to be on the road by 7:00 a.m. in hopes of getting to downtown Los Angeles early enough to score a parking space and a good position.
My body was objecting in aches and pains, but I slapped on the pain patches and was happily driving along the wide open freeway under clear blue skies, when I heard the unmistakable sound of a flat tire. In disbelief, I looked at the cars around me hoping it was someone else, but within seconds it was all too clear I was driving on a rim.
My heart started sinking as I pulled over to call AAA and find the nearest tire store. While waiting, I began what became an endless recalculation of time assessment that day. Initially, I stayed present in the conviction and faith that I would still make it. I had a lovely conversation with the tow truck driver during the forty-five minute ride, and called ahead to ensure prompt service at the tire store. By the time the car was deposited on site, I surrendered as I stood at the back of a long line of customers, and the recalculation resumed.
Tears were now welling as I sat down with my paperwork to wait for another forty- five minutes. “If they are done by 9:15, I’ll go anyway” I thought, though the march officially started at 10:00 a.m. When I heard my name called, I leapt out of my chair to the service desk, only to be told there was a problem. “Houston, we have a problem”, I heard in the back of my mind. The one replacement tire they had in stock had a manufacturer’s defect and didn’t fit. We renegotiated a temporary tire and I sat down to wait and recalculate.
By the time the car was ready, the march had started and I still had an hour’s drive ahead of me. Not able to reconcile giving up, I decided to go anyway and drove speedily toward the city. Eventually, I joined the sea of 500,000 or more people in stop-and go-traffic until it became quite clear there was nowhere to park and the mission had to be aborted. Now I understood why no one had agreed to car pool with me.
When I finally arrived home after the nearly five hour escapade, I couldn’t bear to turn on the news and see what I had missed. My back was killing me and I looked for the most depressing movie I could find, hoping it would make me feel better. I ended up passing out in a deep sleep until evening.
In the aftermath, upon reflection and meditation, here’s what stood out. The tire that blew was brand new. I’ve been dealing with the physical pain of a spinal condition and an exhaustive effort to heal it, for years – and my mind was overriding what my body could handle. Despite my clearest conviction and strongest determination, I was not meant to be at that march.
Also, I WAS at that march. My heart was in it, my spirit was in it, and my body was there even if on the peripheral. What I gleaned as I examined my inner thrust for action in change, is a spiritual and mature understanding that at this time in my life, I do not have to be on the front lines physically. There are countless ways to participate, and sometimes our foundations have to be stabilized before we leap. Sometimes we have to grow our roots deeper and broader to sustain the growth and expansion of the changes at hand.
As the outer world inspires us to take action, our inner world shows the way. For many, including myself, 2016 was largely spent in the painful process of releasing many aspects of ourselves and our lives that have imprisoned us. Rather than impatiently lunge ahead (especially when driven by discomfort), our individual path becomes clearer when we assess our resources, fulfill our current commitments, and stay open to divine guidance as we re-determine our values and priorities.
The signs and signals are always there for us, and we learn from the choices we make. The beauty of this universe is that it is always responsive (we are co-creators), and just as a GPS system instantly offers an alternative route when we veer from its guidance, we are given every course correction we need to find our way. When we remove any judgment, it becomes a sacred and joyous journey of discovery and growth.