Monday, April 15, 2013
When things go awry
Every moment is the guru, said a wise person.
I believe that is true, and I want to look at the world that way; but that doesn't mean in practice that this way of thinking comes easily to me.
I've had some challenging days in the past couple of weeks. I unexpectedly lost easy access to the Internet after I used up the data on the wi-fi that comes with the flat. Then (thankfully, not at the same time) an ATM ate my debit card, leaving me with £3 in my pocket no way to get at the money in my bank account.
I do have a credit card...but what if it isn't accepted, or I lose it, or another machine eats it? It's just an emergency back up, and I'm going to be in London another month.
Compounding the issue, I don't have a cell phone with me.
The irony here is that I have swam against the tide in my resistance to being accessible any time, anywhere, by not having an international calling plan for my old, non-smart cell phone (which I hence left at home). And that works fine when I'm at home.
But there is no land line in this flat, and one cannot call international toll-free numbers via U.K. pay phones, and my bank only HAS toll-free numbers for customer service, etc., in a circle of frustration that is probably typical for anyone who has unintentionally but effectively rendered themselves helpless as a flipped-on-its-back turtle.
As it turned out, I got Internet access back in 24 hours, after using an Internet cafe to email my landlord...and a friend visiting me in London fronted me some cash...and my husband sent more cash via Western Union...and I found a way to email my bank to cancel my debit card and get a new one.
But in the meantime, I lost sleep over these things. I felt that awful, panicky churning in my gut that said I am in deep shit. My first thought was not about how this experience was my guru.
I tried, though. I observed how the loss of these things—Internet access and cash—translated into a corresponding loss of security, even though I still had a place to stay, and food to eat, and people to help me when I got into difficulties.
I felt the peacefulness of being away from email or Facebook or posting to my blog.
I reminded myself that I can offer myself my own security—not technology, not even money can take the place of feeling safety in myself.
That I am always with me, that I could figure it out, that it would be okay. I tried my best to reassure and comfort myself. This isn't my special talent, but I got to practice it a lot over the past few days.
And that in addition to my inner resources, I am blessed to have kind people in my life to lend assistance when needed. Including the sympathetic strangers at the effed-up cash machine who tried to help. I love you all and you are all my gurus, too.