Day 73: Attend

I was on the road today, another five hour drive, but this time down to Florida to give a presentation. At 11am, my phone’s calendar alarm went off with an event reminder. I glanced at my phone to read the following:

Are you sure of your perceptions?

Once a month, on the 14th, at 11am, I receive this reminder. It almost always surprises me, and that’s the point–to be taken off guard by this question, and to remind myself of how often the world I am living in is based off of incomplete (and often false) perceptions.

Not a bad reminder for today. I have been running on fumes for a few days now, all leading up to this big presentation. And as is not too unusual, I had worked myself up into quite a state over it. It was great to get a little nudge, somewhere around the halfway mark on my drive down to Florida, that there was a good chance that no matter how I imagined today’s lecture would go, most likely my imagined fears and/or fantasies would be nothing like what would actually take place.

So I used this reminder to help me focus on attending to the moment in front of me, not whatever I’m cooking up in my head.

And the talk went fine. In fact, I think it went well.

But more important than how well the talk went, I made an effort to pay as much attention as I could to what I was doing, while I was doing it. I started to see the whole event in a very different light. I was an invited speaker–sure, they were interested in what I had to say… but more importantly, my talk today (and the talks given by the other two keynotes) provided this group with an opportunity to gather and exchange ideas. That was the really important part of today…not whatever words I managed to pull together.

Yes, yes, I know how selfish that makes me sound–that it is still a revelation, at my age, that I may not be playing as important a role in the world as I am playing in my head….

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4 Responses to Day 73: Attend

  1. The thing is though that we are all stars in our own movies, and it’s easy to forget that most people walk around thinking just that. It hits me from time to time that I just have a supporting role in most of these movies/lives. To take it a bit further I must say that my favorite kind of movies are those with many main characters that you follow at the same time who all have important roles in the film. That’s perhaps something to strive for in life, to see all of us as just important…. But then again, when you want to rent a movie like that they are pretty rare. Hmmm. It sounds better in my head 😉

    • Mark says:

      I see what you are saying, and I like the analogy. I was thinking about that not too long ago in the context of everything going on with my father in law–what it means to understand that I am in a supporting role.

  2. Gede Prama says:

    Very interested, Have a wonderful day friend 🙂

    • Mark says:

      Thank you! I am trying to get back to some daily practices today that have slipped over the past week (which is what I will be writing on later today, I suppose). One of the bigger challenges for me is to return to practice without shame or guilt–in other words, to let go of whatever attachments I have to my “failure” to maintain a practice. To simply return!

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