I was tired and I was running late and I was ready to reset my day with a cup of coffee.
I knew when I made the first wrong turn. The rest just happened to be wrong turns, a web of curvy wood-lined roads, without easy places to turn around or lights to stop and check my phone for where exactly I was or how to get where I was going.
And so it went for twenty minutes, before my coffee, and I think it was maybe exactly what I needed. Windows down, the still-cool breeze was what offered me the reset. It was the in between, the pause, the transition.
I’m not lost, I told myself. I’m wandering. It was after I had a Winnie-the-Pooh moment of feeling like I was where I had been before that I was able to plug directions into my phone, and I was only a turn away from where I knew I had meant to be. I laughed and made my way, finally, to coffee.
Sitting and waiting for my hair cut the other day I was asked if I wanted a magazine. “No thank you,” I said. Sometimes it feels good just to sit without anything to do. And yet that is the opposite of what we’re conditioned to do. If someone sees you sitting without your phone or a magazine or something to occupy yourself, it seems somehow out of place.
It was after this encounter at the hair salon that I found myself with a pocket of an extra half an hour in my day. I had a to-do list as long as the curvy road I had been lost on earlier, but here I was, away from the possibility of completing anything on the list.
I found myself, quite coincidentally on the way from one place to the next, at a public garden where I could breathe in the air I was sharing with the trees and let myself just be. This felt like good preparation for a trip that has so much intention and purpose and also has a cushion of time built in on either side to allow myself to ground, to settle, to be.
Perhaps these moments among the trees, intentional or not, were a way of pulling me deeper. Maybe they were a reminder to pause, to let all of the stuff on the surface fade for a little bit, and allow myself to connect to something deeper.
Nothing is ever about what it seems to be on the surface, yet we often stop ourselves there. We can get stuck in the minutia of the day-to-day, figuring out what’s right or wrong or what our next step should be. It’s when we allow ourselves to pause, to be, to notice, that we begin to see what’s under the surface – what’s causing what we see on the surface, and what feels right to do about it, or if it calls for simple surrender, not doing.
It this not doing that can be challenging and often isn’t expected. And sometimes it’s exactly what’s necessary.