Life is a journey… | the ramblings and writings of a guy who prefers to write on paper, but can't live without the internet…

I was set up

Started my day today being rather lazy on the couch, watching tv and catching up on the news. I didn’t feel like doing too much since I had a work meeting early in the afternoon. At some point I fell asleep and woke up feeling lethargic and pretty congested. I’ve had this feeling before and just have to get up off my ass and actually do something productive. Since I needed to take a shower before the meeting, I got up and started getting ready. When I was ready to leave the house, I decided to grab my computer bag so that I could go to a coffee shop and write for a while. There was a little room for debate as to whether I’d actually do that or not, but I knew that without my bag I would end up back at the house and not do anything for the rest of the day. So, bag in hand, I was on my way to my meeting.

You ever have those moments when you’re somewhere quiet and all of a sudden you find yourself talking out loud? Out of the blue, you’re in the middle of a conversation with yourself about a topic that you didn’t even realize was on your mind. This happens to me in the car all the time. Turn the key, pull out of the driveway, turn out of my neighborhood and bam! Instant conversation with nobody. I’m always surprised about the topics I come up with to entertain myself. Everything from global politics to self analyzation. No topic too big, no topic too small. So there I am in my car, heading towards the meeting and I’m just chatting myself up. As far as things I’ve talked to myself about, todays thoughts weren’t too spectacularly interesting in and of themselves. But I did find it entertaining that it was the first time I’d ever had them connect from a different point of view.

My inner dialogue stopped as I pulled into the parking lot, realizing that I didn’t have time to stop and grab coffee. No worries, we’ll probably take the meeting to get coffee anyway. As I walk in, things look pretty normal and I’m thinking it’s a good day. I’m glad I had an excuse to get out of the house. The weather is nice, it’s a clear fall day where there are no clouds and the sun is exceptionally warm against your skin. I love the feeling of the sun on my skin. Anyway, I walk in and found out there were some system issues which meant that everyone was in “battle stations” mode. They told me the situation and that the meeting won’t really be taking place but that I should ask the other team if they still wanted to get together or if it could be rescheduled. I asked them to clarify what was down and then headed down the hall to check with the other guys. The person I talked to on the other team told me that they were fine with rescheduling. He also told me he was sorry that I had come all the way up there for us to not have the meeting and mentioned how someone should have probably called me so I wouldn’t have had to drive all the way there. I told him that it was actually a good thing, I needed to leave the house anyway.

As I walked back down the hall I felt a half grin forming. I told my guys that we will be rescheduling the meeting and that I would see them Thursday. They started to apologize but the apology was not necessary. I wasn’t quite sure why I didn’t need the apology, I just knew that it was wasted. So I waved goodbye and headed back out to my car.

I was happy, not annoyed.

I was smiling, not frustrated.

And as I walked in the powerful rays of the sun in the sky, I started to chuckle. A big grin stole across my face and if you’d been there, you would have seen my eyes shimmering brightly in the light. Since there were no witnesses, there’s no way to be sure except that I got a feeling which I only get on rare occasions. I was filled with life. I was light, happy, smiling. So many people would have been frustrated, angry to have had to get out on a day off and drive somewhere for a meeting only to have it be cancelled when they got there. Some people would have been irritated for days and the rest of their day would be consumed by bitching about it.

Then it hit me like a jolt, that sudden sensation of realization that we have when the pieces of a puzzle all fall magically in place. There is a level of clarity you sometimes get which shows you what you thought was clear really wasn’t so clear after all. This realization comes out of nowhere and surprises you. It fills you with happiness, joy, relief, excitement, clarity and stillness. A feeling like this is something I will always and forever associate with Black Rock City. Specifically it belongs with those moments when I can recognize the power of the great spirit around me. That’s part of what was shocking about this experience, feeling it out of context and feeling it so completely, cleanly and simply. That connection is one that is rare for me outside of Black Rock City. There are many reasons to explore as to why, but were it more common then this time might not have stuck out as unique.

What made this time so unique?

Remember earlier when I was talking to myself in my car? Well, I was talking to someone specific about a point of philosophy. We were discussing the concept of need and how the health of the whole is more important than the health of one part of that whole. Now, the other person in my head was talking about how focusing on the individuals in the team, you make the whole team stronger. Her point was that when we tell individual people that they are special and important, when we reinforce that mentality it strengthens the team. I generally agree, but that isn’t always how things work.

Here is the gist of what my brain was desperately working out:

In some situations, focusing on individuals in spite of what the team needs is wrong. Sometimes the need of the whole team overrides that of the individuals involved. Sometimes people don’t like what happens, they don’t agree with decisions made or are frustrated by the difficulties of a particular situation. In times like that, when great change happens or when a crappy situation arises, the perceived need of the individuals or the feelings of individuals are not as important as the health of the greater team.

In moments where the chips are truly down, when it’s fight or flight and you can’t run away, the team has to focus on the goal and work towards the resolution as a team. Unfortunately that means that sometimes people get their feelings hurt, sometimes people act out and sometimes people lose hope. Yet the team still must make it to the end, you can’t call a time out, can’t make a pit stop, can’t let up. The only way out is to let go, trust in the people around you and just fall into the moment. You must make your own decision to fight or run, it is a primitive response but that doesn’t mean you don’t have the choice to make. And how you follow through on that decision says a lot about you.

Now, about that jolt, the smile that came from within, the spark of recognition, the moment of understanding.

First, I realized that it was a last minute decision to grab my computer when I left the house. I hesitated a second before I decided to take it, telling myself it was ‘just in case’. I honestly thought I was just kidding myself into thinking I was going to go write after the meeting. I would have put good money on me running straight back home.

Second, I spent the drive there working out a philosophical idea. The needs of the many outweighing the needs of the individual was the test. I was in the process of flipping that around, understanding that while the individuals think they are most important, and are treated as such a vast majority of the time in society, they should be the ones who let go of their frustrations because that emotion does absolutely nothing productive for anyone. The idea that each person is in control of only one thing, their actions and reactions to the world around them.

Third, I found myself in a situation where I could have been frustrated, where I could have found dozens of reasons how I was wronged and how people should have cared enough to let me know, how it was all about me and my feelings and my life and my world and me, me, me.

The jolt that I had was a brush with the divine presence. It caused me to pause my thought process for just long enough to put it all together, and I realized something.

I had been set up.

Set up by the great spirit itself.

And I almost fell for it too.

I got close to being caught up in self pity, upset and blaming other people. Close because even though I had those emotions, I didn’t connect with them.

It’s like the words I sang at the Playa Choir service this year:

And in the battlefield of my mind,
a storm rages out of control,
I can tell by the static that fills my ears,
the devil is trying to take control.

I heard the static of competing ego filled thoughts. Somehow managing to keep them turned down low enough to be the same volume as the world around me, it was still there but only coming through in bits and pieces, quickly drowned out by the sounds of random pieces of conversation.

So I was standing there in the sunlight, half way to my car, when this all came together. When the spirit tapped me as light as butterfly wings and I was called to attention. Bursting out into laughter, I shook my head staring into the clear pale blue sky. This lesson wouldn’t have been learned today without each step happening in precisely the way that they did. If I hadn’t brought my computer it wouldn’t have worked, if I hadn’t been thinking about ego I wouldn’t have been aware of my own, if systems weren’t down then there would have been no potential conflict. All these things placed neatly in a row, just like a teacher helping a struggling student to understand a difficult concept.

With the sun on my skin and a huge grin on my face I whispered…

“Oh spirit, you do have a sense of humor don’t you?”

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