Y’all. My bike chain broke on my way to day 2 of my new job yesterday. DAY 2! And I had just gotten my period, so you can imagine how that went.
About ten blocks from work, I hear something catch in the chain. I stopped to inspect it, didn’t see anything, and pedaled on. I hear it again and stopped, still nothing. I started to pedal and CLANG my rusty old chain slid off the gear and onto the road.
Now, I don’t know what happened here, but I actually laughed as this happened, and thought about how much I like the cute guys at the bike shop. I looked up at the nearest street sign and realized I was only 5 or 6 blocks from said bike shop, it was only 10:06 so I had plenty of time to get to work by 10:30 and it was super nice out! Turns out the chain replacement would only cost me $23 with labor and I could pick it up after work, and I was 5 minutes early clocking in after a walk down the Pearl Street mall chatting with a girlfriend on the phone, and enjoying all the tulips that are blooming right now.
Oh, is that not what you thought I was going to say? You think I’m pulling your chain??? Because I actually freaked the f out about being late for day 2 and got all bent out of shape about the broken chain. Right?
Man, that would be so much more me, I’ll admit. And this perspective probably sounds overly sunny and positive – well, because it is. And if you’re wondering what the hell is going on, here’s the thing: this is mediation at work.
And it’s not just that in the moment I had the presence to realize that I had time and that the chain was an easy and inexpensive fix – it’s more. It’s the fact that I woke up early enough to do everything I needed to do before work, was ready to go, and left myself enough time to accommodate the unexpected – because who knows what could happen with this ten year old cruiser bike that has spent most of its life locked to a tree and that I have spend more than I paid for on it trying to restore to it’s shiny green glory. I was definitely anticipating needing to put some air in the tires, but they were fine so I had some surplus time / energy to deal with the chain.
This ability to plan and still leave room for change greatly relaxes our stress around time and increases our ability to enjoy some surprises over the course of a day.
So I won’t pitch meditation other than to say that it has greatly shifted my reactions to responses, I have enough space in my brain to see the joy in the unexpected, and it has become so much easier for me to move through my day with a sense of wonder at what a trip it all is without getting bound up in expectation or exhausted by reacting to things that are completely outside of my control.
Added to that – I ran into two dear friends sitting outside having lunch on my way to pick the bike up in the afternoon – and if I’d been riding straight home, I never would have seen them. Makes you wonder about all the things that happen because you just barely hit that red light, right?