Mission: get daughter to the outdoors activity centre by certain time
Recently it took it upon myself to drive daughter about 30 miles to an ‘activity-adventure-outdoors’ camp. Google Maps suggested that this drive would take about 30 – 40 minutes. Yet, the drive itself took 2 hours 40 minutes.
First it took me longer to finish my work so we set-off 15 minutes later than I had planned. Then we encountered traffic – lots of it. So I diverted and worked my way around the traffic. Delight showed up. And I still ended up in endless traffic – crawling along. Daughter noticed that it was faster to walk! Getting that we would not arrive on time and this impacted others, daughter phoned her ‘guide for the weekend’ and let her know that we would be an hour or so late.
It does not work out as planned
An hour and forty minutes later we arrive at the destination according to the GPS. It is dark, it is wet, it is raining hard, the country roads are small, lighting is poor, tiredness is present. I notice that tiredness and anxiety are present for me, my experience. Yet, daughter is positive, optimistic, cheerful and is relating to all of this as an adventure. And concerned for me.
We cannot find the place! I drive one way. I drive another way. Time goes by. More and more tiredness is present. Annoyance, frustration and anger is now present in my house of being. 30 or so minutes later we are really in the middle of nowhere and I get that the GPS is not working. My daughter calls for help – there is no signal. Then a fellow human being, walking his dogs, with torch in hand shows up. I ask for help and he provides it. Some 15 minutes later we arrive back at the same place that the GPS had taken us to the first time. Again we cannot find the activity centre.
It is dark, it is foggy, it is wet, I am tired, annoyed, frustrated, angry. My daughter is calm and helpful: she tells me that it is OK to turn back and go home. Now, it is not an option to quit, to go home. I stop the car and look at the paper map. “Aha, we are right next to it. It has to be here!” I turn around the car and together daughter and I find it! And I cannot help but notice I have been going round in circles for an hour.
The automatic machinery of being human kicks-in
After dropping off daughter, I notice that I am not looking forward to driving. Yet, driving is necessary if I am going to get back home. I notice that I have no confidence toward the Garmin GPS. I notice that I am blaming Garmin and blaming myself for bringing the Garmin as opposed to the TomTom. I notice that I am blaming the Girl Guides group who arranged the weekend for being inconsiderate: they should know better than arrange a date/time which involves peak traffic. I blame myself.
If that is not enough. I notice that I have it that something is wrong (with me, with Garmin, with the world..) and that I have wasted my time. Look, I could have done something useful with the extra 90 minutes that it took to get to this place! I notice that I have it that my time is precious and I do not have time to waste.
I get it: I set myself free and peace is present
Driving back, I get it. I get that all that is showing up in my house of being, my experience, is the automatic machinery of being human. I get that who I am is the person who is doing the noticing: the one that is noticing the machinery at play. That opens up a clearing for me to simple be – to be peaceful.
In this clearing I get that I have not wasted my time The trip took exactly the right amount of time: not a second more or a second less than the perfect time for this trip. How do I know? Because that is the time it took to get there! I got it, do you get it? Listen, the 30 – 40 minutes that Google Maps and Garmin suggested did not take into account reality as it showed up on the trip. Further, I got that the 2 hours 40 minutes had been well used – the mission had been accomplished, daughter was delighted, daughter and I had worked together well and affinity was present between us, I had saved wife 2 hours and 40 minutes…. Most importantly the time had been used in the service of my stand: to put something into the game of life, to be of service, to be a source of contribution to fellow human beings…
Then I got that there was nothing wrong. There is traffic. There is rain. There is fog. There are tiny country lanes. There is darkness. And on a Friday evening in October, all of these can and do show up. Really, there is nothing wrong. It is simply the reality that showed up.
I got that there is nobody to blame. There is no evil person who planned it to work out the way that it worked out. Everyone in the traffic was doing his/her best to get home. The Garmin folks built that best GPS that they were in a position to build. The activity centre folks got that finding their place is and has been an issue. And they feel unable to do better due to planning laws that restrict the signage they can put up…. Finally, I got that I was not to blame: I showed up and did the best that I was able to do at that time and in those circumstances.
Having gotten, really gotten (as opposed to simply thought about/of) that there is nothing wrong, nobody to blame and no time was wasted I noticed that my being and lived experience transformed: peace, delight and joy were present in my house of being; the annoyance, the blaming, the anger vanished. Relaxed,I drove back home (40 minutes) and spent the evening watching a touching movies with sons and their friend.
Life had showed up whole-complete-perfect!