What would happen if your wife says to you on her way out to a commitment, “the printer closes in 10 minutes, please get to Office Max and print 100 copies of these pages.” I took the assignment, and I made it happen. Not only that, but I managed to drop her sister off nearby, and picked up the prescription she handed me from the pediatrician earlier that day. The kids had colds.
She needed the printing for a presentation the following morn to my 6 year old’s first grade class. So I put both kids in the car along with her sister and off we went. As I walked through the doors of Office Max I heard the manager warning the shoppers to make their final choices and come to the register. The helper looked at me with tired eyes like someone coming for a full meal after the kitchen just closed, lights off. The printer wasn’t cooperating, nor was the backup. After fifteen minutes, she said it wasn’t going to happen. Those words started my adrenaline glands, which I curbed by my deepened connection to my intention for the results. I dumped my harsh words into that it had to happen or my wife was going to kill her, and me, as the clerk was popping the printer in the eye with her hammer-like fist.
No go. The papers kept crumpling up and the printer was through. Where was I going to get this printed? Kinko’s was nowhere near me. In the mall there was a digital picture lab. “No printer!” the clerk answered. The cleaning guy was the last to leave the market after me and thought the hospital three miles down the road would have a printer in the pharmacy. Remaining calm and in motion I was under way to the hospital.
No parking! Not a spot! And over one-hundred sick people all waiting for a priority from the hospital. No go on the pharmacy, I wasn’t about to make my kids more sick. So I turned around and headed down a side street uncertain of where to go next. I looked left and there was a mini-printer shop with one guy cleaning the counter. He saved the day. Printed, paid, and left. Now the pharmacy. They were all closed, it was now 11pm and no 24 hour venue was near me, except one. The one that I just passed. I made it in the door within seconds of them closing, ordered the prescription and just as I was leaving I remembered my wife asking me for a hole punch. I’d forgotten to get it at Office Max! Oh shit!
There I was offering to strike a deal with the pharmacist to buy hers. When she turned me down I asked if she had another one. For five minutes she dug through drawers to find the broken hold punch. Nothing! Driving down the boulevard it became clear to me that to make it all work I had to find the mysterious hold puncher now, it was the only missing piece. If that pharmacy had one, I wondered who else would have one? I looked in the rear view mirror to see both my daughters with heads lobbing to the; they were asleep and had to get home. Just then, another mom and pop pharmacy I spotted was open. I ran in with all my conviction and said I had a very special prescription to fill. I told the man I needed his hole punch. He walked proudly into his back room and out he came with my prized possession. I was like an ice cream fanatic waiting as the cone was prepared with extra toppings. Or a dog waiting for a bowl of food after a long day. I offered to buy his hole punch and he approved. He knew I needed it more than he did. With huge appreciation and confidence I headed home with a smile.
This whole sequence of events appeared in one hour. It was one of the most dense hours in my entire life. During the hour, the existing realities were not cooperative ones as they emerged; despite me having a clear aim. But instead of reacting to the circumstances, I just worked from them, as if they were way-points saying “go from here” like pinball bumpers. I continued to take action despite having restraints. I had brought to fruition in the manner needed, the results. What amazed me even more was that I was so immersed that I completely had lost a sense of time during the process. Each moment was accepted as it was so I could move to the next. There was an ease and fluidity to me being in motion. No blame.
Did I maintain emotional control? No. Was I angry? Yes. But more than this, my focus was toward the outcome I wanted to create. There was no headspace for reactions; only next actions as if current reality was a dynamic flowing rubber wall that I could bounce from here to the next elements. Something was revealed to me as I stayed in the space—where to go was right at my feet. I trusted it with a great alertness to stay with whatever the moment was presenting. And that made all the difference!
It was this moment that I became highly aware of two elements that were in a dance. My attention had to stay with current reality, while my intention (aim; desire) was present within it. I sensed the presence of my intention showing up in current reality like a thread through a needle. My awareness was on a different channel and frequency.
When things are NOT going as expected, that’s when it’s either give up or get going. To get going, one must listen toward the future. And, stay with the present. No control, no prediction. Just being with what’s going on at that moment. The hardest part of the human condition is to be able to stay with it. What could have gotten in the way was my thought of myself, or how my wife would see me. Or perhaps bringing the past into this moment. Even the future (result) at times seemed a bit out of bounds. Staying present to what’s here got me ahead.