Recently I had an "Oh S*&#@!" moment.
You know the kind where time seems to stop. And then you think, did that really happen????"
And then you realize, "Yes, it did." And it's like a complete, harsh awakening to the present moment.
Yep. Those moments can really give you a wake up call, or rather an awakening of sorts.
So here's what happened: My little Ruby was getting ready to take a bath. And I realized I "had to" send that one important email before it was too late. All I needed to do was press send. Quick and easy, right? Then I could be fully present for her in the bath.
So I brought my laptop into the bathroom as we were filling up the tub. She got in the bath and started playing in the water. I reached over to my nearby computer, opened it up, and looked for the right browser to press send, and splash...... She threw a cup of water out of the bath and guess where it landed!
My heart sunk and time stood still for a moment. Wow! That just happened.
Instead of cursing and immediately reacting, I felt a bit of shock and disbelief, hoping I could just press rewind.
Well, after a few minutes of seeing the screen short circuit, my husband came in and told me to turn it off. (FYI- if you ever spill liquid on your computer, apparently the first thing you should do is shut it off- but I hope that never happens to you!!
Anyway, back to my reaction. I realize now that the shock was a helpful pause, a way for me to not get caught up in an emotional reaction, but instead to observe the situation. And these days, having a 19 month old who's very excited about learning new words, I've been trying to be more careful about using foul language (and yes, on occasion curse words slip out, and she immediately repeats them back to me).
But this time, instead of blurting out "Oh s*&#@!," I felt an awakening.
The light got brighter. The sounds got more clear. And I got really present. This little "accident" definitely pulled me away from my mental to-do list and forced me to be completely in the moment. And somehow I decided to let go of the outcome. It wasn't a conscious choice, but rather deep inside I just knew this was out of my control. So I let myself surrender to how things would unfold.
After a trip to the Apple Store that night, I was advised to keep the computer turned off for 5 days so it could dry out, and to then just see what happens. This is not an easy thing to do when so much of your work life is on the computer! But again, I surrendered to the 5 day process, with a tiny bit of hope that the computer would be OK, but without any real faith or attachment to the outcome.
After 5 days, I turned it on. It worked for a couple of minutes, then went black. Not a good sign. So I made another trip to the Apple Store and.... I'll stop right there. Before I tell you how things worked out in the end, I want to share what I learned along the way.
Here are the blessings I focused on during this whole computer fiasco:
1. I love my daughter more than ever. I love her sassiness and strong will. I love how aware she is (and knows when I'm not fully present). And I love that she continues to teach me so much about love, mindfulness, and living life. She is my teacher.
2. Forgiveness is good. In this situation I wasn't ever mad at my daughter. I was mad at myself. How did I let this happen? I teach about mindfulness. I know that it's impossible to multitask AND be fully present. I know that technology and water don't mix. I know all this! But nonetheless, I'm human. And as a tired mama at the end of the day, I'm not always aligned with my highest sense of self. I also know that guilt is no good, and getting stuck in guilt or blame will only keep me stuck. So in order to move forward, I gotta let that guilt stuff go.
3. My belief that "I can't live without this" is not always true. Yes, much of my work is online these days. And I pretty much take my computer with me wherever I go so I can get work done on the fly. But managed to go for over a week without it because 1) my phone is like a mini computer, 2) I could borrow my husband's computer, 3) there's a community commuter where I live that I can use in a pinch, 4) so much of my information is saved in the cloud, and 5) not everything needs to be done "right now."
4. Silver linings are a real thing. The day I took Ruby to the Apple Store (the 2nd trip) to send my computer in for repair, we ended up having a super fun time together. Since we were at the mall, we went and saw Santa, made wishes by throwing pennies in the water fountain, played at the mini-playground area, had a nice lunch together, and got a balloon on the way out. And after the mall we continued our fun day at local holiday festival. No computer to work on = opportunity for more fun + quality time.
5. Miracles CAN happen. When I told the nice guy at the Genius Bar that my computer turned black with an outlined white folder in the middle of the screen, he gave me an "Oh, that's not good" look and told me it might be the hard drive. But he said he'd send it in to see what could be done. Five days later I got an email that my computer was fixed and ready to be picked up. "Wow! For real????" I thought. Sure enough, they replaced the hard drive and I basically got a new computer. And even better, my computer was under warranty so there was no charge (and no sign of water damage was detected, thank goodness!). Some things were lost, but most of my information was saved on my external hard drive. Yes, it was a miracle! And after 10 days without my computer, I was so much for thankful to have it back.
I share this story because I truly believe that the mindfulness work we do (in yoga, in meditation, in our daily activities) is really practice for when life hits us by surprise. When we consciously practice being present, open and grounded, we cultivate more skillfulness in our how we live our lives. And even when we get off track, get caught up in multi-tasking or faking presence, life can snap us back into the moment, and we begin again.
Life is full of learning lessons and opportunities, and it's our job to pay attention and stay open to them. Many blessings for more "Aha" moments, in all their shapes and sizes.
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