I canʼt tell you how relieved I am. I have kept the secret that I would surprise my mother in Argentina for her birthday (and mine as we share the special day) for what seems like an eternity. In reality itʼs been no more than four weeks but I have been paranoid that she would somehow ﬁnd out.
The deed is now done. The moment of surprise is one which I will never forget.
The agenda was planned out in detail. From when I would call my dad to when he would turn on the video to distract my mother for me to enter the room she was in to what excuse he would use for not going out early that day.
The agenda was ofﬁcially broken before I even left NJ! My plane was delayed which meant I would miss my connection in Washington DC and the last plane leaving for Buenos Aires that day. My trip was now bumped by 24 hours which was one quarter of my trip (a short visit for 15 hours of travel time each way!).
After some crying in front of the Continental Airlines guest service woman (partly for sadness and partly in desperation, hoping my tears would elicit miraculous compassion coupled with superwoman powers to summon a plane for me), I realized that it was time to believe that my newly issued boarding passes now read NEXT DAY.
Fast forward 24 hours. Just before I left I had a conversation with a wise woman who also happens to be a Buddhist Nun. After telling her about what had happened at the airport she said to me “What a great way to practice your patience.” I took her to heart and in that moment made two decisions:
- To pack “patience” in my luggage (I made sure it was in my carry on so it was readily available).
- To unpack and use “patience” whenever it was needed.
And from that moment on, my perception of what happened and my intention for the rest of my trip completely changed. Patience was not only packed but it was practiced!
Which leads me to this observation. Isnʼt it amazing how we can have one experience and feel frustrated or upset and we can live or re-live that experience and feel at peace and content? I went from feeling frustrated and fearful that I might miss my plane again to feeling at peace and calm about the long trip ahead.
One event, two potential completely opposing feelings. Here is what I know. Whenever I ask myself whether I want to be happy or I want to be miserable, I choose happiness (even though sometimes I want to hang on to my suffering for a while . And, intending to “practice” rather than just making an intention to be happy or patient is the key to actually experiencing a positive change.
Intention is like packing sun tan lotion in the beach bag so we donʼt burn. Practicing is actually applying it on our body.
So what if next time you are faced with a difficult situation you made an intention to be a woman of peace? What if you chose to be a man of patience? And then, what if you chose to take that intention out of the back pocket and used it?
I would be willing to bet that you might experience life differently. And you might just like the results enough to practice again. I am hooked.