When I see something three times I take notice. That’s how I came to name my daughter actually. While I was pregnant I heard and saw the name three times on the same day. Once mentioned in a conversation about someone’s daughter, twice after seeing it printed on a pair of newborn pajamas and thrice (you’re welcome Conan), when I was cut off by this little red corvette (not lost on me fellow Prince fans) who’s license plate read: AVASVET. I looked upwards into the sky and acknowledged my not so silent guide and said out loud to myself “OK, I get it”.
The other day while shopping for books at my local hangout I scanned the Graduation table. I’m always curious as to what books are suggested for new grads. There was the usual Oh, The Places You’ll Go and books like The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch (I agree with that choice) and then there was one left on the corner The Book of Awakening. The lotus flower on the cover caught my eye. I thumbed through it and immediately saw that it was broken down to into daily digestible pieces, a favorite of the ADD crowd. I scooped it up and rushed home.
page 185. June 3rd
“There’s an old story about a young man who’s freezing on the side of the road in Alaska. He is hitching a ride to Miami. He’s so cold he can barely hold up his handmade sign. After a long wait, a friendly trucker stops and says. “I’m not going to Miami, but I’m going as far as Fort Lauderdale.” Dejectedly the young man says, “Oh,” and turns the ride down.
The author starts to talk about how we hold out for perfection seemingly refusing our fate in the hopes that we will find perfection if we just wait. My heart began to beat a little faster as it completely identifies with this statement. What have I been missing all along I thought to myself. I continued to read.
Each short chapter ends with an exercise in mindful mediation that helps drive whatever point home. On this day the author has the reader sit outside watching clouds. You are instructed to find one that looks like a horse. My eyes dart around, no that’s not a horse, no not that one either, geez they all look like elephants to me where are the damn horses I thought. So much for mediating, this wasn’t very zen like I thought.
I don’t see any horses!!
Next you are instructed to “Close your eyes and breathe evenly. Once centered, open your eyes and look at the same clouds. Choose one that compels you and what shape is waiting in it.” Whatever you find you are supposed to note what finding-what-is-there-feels-like. What a difference when I wasn’t trying so hard and accepted that whatever I saw was right. I was relaxed and open to seeing so much more so much clearly. What was waiting for me was an elephant.
One of my favorite mantras I tell myself when I’m feeling overwhelmed and anxious is “you eat an elephant one bite at a time“. That was my message. The last story I read at bedtime was about an elephant. One of the only things I saved from my room as a child was my elephant bank. Funny.
It was such a great cloud day I couldn’t help but snap a few more photos and when I picked up my daughter from school that day we played name the animals you see in the clouds and you can imagine the sweet serendipity to hear her little voice from the back seat say “Momma I don’t know! all I see today are elephants”.