Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Checking in with one's intention

Have you ever stood in line at your local FedEx for 20 minutes and realized, just as you are nearing the front of the line, that you should have gone to the post office instead? You remember that FedEx doesn't ship to PO Boxes, but you decide to try to convince the clerk anyway, just so you don't feel like you wasted those 20 minutes. So instead you waste an extra 10 minutes, at the end of which you run to the post office to find the clerk locking the door under your nose. "Please," you beg, "It's only two minutes past 5 o'clock, I wasted 40 minutes on the FedEx line, can't you just cut me a break?" The clerk shakes her head and turns away. The patrons inside point and stare. There's no avoiding it now: your package will be late.

Attachment works like this. Wanting something to be the way I want so much that I won't pay attention to any alternatives, like a child covering her ears singing lalalalalalalalalala.

Remembering the FedEx policies in time to get to the post office before closing was the gift that made up for the 20 minute wait. Since I was not receptive to change, I missed it. By doing so, I forgot the intention behind the entire process: to get the package out that day.

It is so easy to get caught in habitual responses. By checking in with our intention, however, we give ourselves the freedom to explore different approaches when our plans fail to bring us closer to our goals. Recognizing that the goal is not perfection may be the first step.