How could this happen? I know where I’m going but I’m lost and going to be late!
I’m back in Paris visiting my family and it’s my first school pick-up day. I’m due to meet my youngest grandson after school and walk him to his soccer club. I’ve done this before but today is different. I’m visiting my daughter and suddenly realize the afternoon has slipped by and I’m very tight on time. I pull out my GPS to check the shortest route. It’s different from the one I would take, but I decide to follow the magic blue line to the school. I toss on my jacket, give a quick good-bye and head off at a fast pace, mingled with a bit of jog. Will I get there on time? I dread the thought of the young boy alone with no one to collect him. I speed walk. I jog. I realize I haven’t jogged in years. I speed walk. I don’t like the GPS route but I persist in it. Finally, I’m back closer to home and near the school. I think I’ve got it! No… a few blocks on and I’m lost. My heart is racing. Where am I? Old Paris has lots of twisting streets at odd angles to each other. I have a very poor sense of physical direction and I’ve lost my bearings. Back to the GPS. Ok this way…..my time is totally overdue now. The little boy is abandoned by his Gammy. Where am I? I’m following the blue line but I never seem to get closer to the school. Suddenly I turn a corner and know where I am. I’m on Montparnasse, nowhere near the school! What’s happened? I text his father to tell him I’m lost and late and I’ve missed his son. How could I have done this?
I realized later exactly what had happened. That afternoon some anxiety had risen in me and when I realized my time was tight, I relied on an external source, the GPS rather than my own internal source. I know how to get to the school. I have a wonderful route that I follow daily that runs across main streets and winds through back streets. Conversations that afternoon had touched a deep place in me and I was a bit unsettled, off my quiet centred spot. When I saw my time was tight for the pick-up, my anxiety increased and I stopped trusting myself. From my old sailing days I know that when we move through storms it’s time to tighten our sails, sailing close to the wind, close to our inner core. I did just the opposite. I stopped trusting myself and trusted my phone’s GPS.
Eventually all was well. Dad called the school who sent someone to find his son and help him on his way to soccer. No harm happened. I learnt another lesson. A couple of quotes from a helpful teacher, Lao Tzu:
At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want.
There is no need to run outside for better seeing. Nor to peer from a window. Rather abide at the center of your being; for the more you leave it, the less you learn. Search your heart and see the way to do is to be.
I have what I need.
Being lost and late was a great learning experience for me. I hear God’s voice to me, “Once again Anne, slow down. Listen deep within. You have what you need. I am with you. You are not alone.”
How do you cope when you’re ‘lost and late’?
Love and prayers for the journey
Mystic in Motion
Companion on the Way with Contemplative Fire
Companion on the Rivendell Way.
Society Member of Shalem Institute for Contemplative Living
2 thoughts on “Lost and Late”
Anne, I was feeling your anxiety for you. I felt that I was with you on the journey. Many times I allow the situation to overwhelm me and panic and anxiety step in.
I always feel it the worst when someone else is involved. As you say I must slow down , breathe deeply and re-centre myself.
Remember what Julian of Norwich said, “All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.”
thanks Barbara. yes, how easy it can be to be caught in the net of anxiety! i’ve been more aware of anxiety this past winter so it’s been a good time for me to seek to grow past it’s control