Running late for set appointments is something I dislike doing. I seem to have this angst around the whole experience of being on time (and perhaps earlier) to appointments.
One recent experience caught me by surprise — and so did my reactions and struggles with it.
I was able to see so much of my internal nature stirring in just this one experience. Having done Belsebuub’s courses helped me to get through this one experience (and many others too).
I had a scheduled appointment late in the afternoon, giving me plenty of time to do other errands and tasks earlier in the day. I had a friend with me for the afternoon as we had both planned to visit a couple of stores looking for products/items that we were needing for this project we were planning.
All was going according to plan, we had done our research and simply needed to head to the opposite side of town to pick up the parts. We leisurely drove to the store to pay and pick up the parts.
We had plenty of time so far. I just needed to finalise the purchase of the items and then head to my appointment…WRONG. It turns out, this store only had one of the parts, the other part was at their other store which was further out of town, another 10 minutes away.
This sounded alarm bells in my head (it potentially meant I was cutting it close for my 4.30pm appointment that afternoon and I hate being late), but I also needed to finish what I had started (that is, pick up all parts as this was the plan).
I could feel this internal turmoil going on between thoughts, emotions and body tension. This situation was such a small thing yet it was stirring so much inside of me.
I have learnt from Belsebuub’s courses and books to look at those internal reactions. But on this day I struggled with it.
After a few moments of weighing up these two options, I decided to go for the other part and drive the extra distance (as I couldn’t foresee when I would be making my way to this part of town anytime soon).
This of course would potentially make me late for my appointment. I felt an uneasiness as I started to make it to the car to head off to the other store. I remember feeling a tension in my body and a feeling of fear about the possibility of being late for my appointment.
Then another process kicked in, one which was designed to override the fear and anxious feeling I initially felt, this part of me sounded annoyed and wanted to get this over and done with. My friend noticed my emotional build up and simply reassured me that things will work out (his attitude was a blessing!).
Driving to the next warehouse took longer than 10 mins because of traffic. My annoyance was persistent even though I kept trying to be aware, in the present moment and self-observe as much as I could.
I parked the car and we made our way into the warehouse. As I opened the door and stepped inside, I saw another customer was waiting to be served. This seemed to add fuel to the emotional state I was fighting within me.
Knowing about awareness and self-observation, I kept my focus on observing the thought patterns in the mind and the tightness/anxiousness around my stomach area.
The more my mind repeated the thought ‘you are going to be late‘ the more I asked for help to get through this. As the customer before me was finishing up I had noticed that the part I needed was on the counter waiting for me to pick it up.
I suddenly felt a swell of impatience come over me which seemed to flare up my internal turmoil. Why was it so hard to be peaceful internally today? It seems I was being bombarded with a range of inner states that I had to keep battling through.
I approached the counter, showed the warehouse guy the paperwork and he simply gave me the part sitting on the counter. It was such a quick exchange compared to the process that had unfolded so far, it felt ironic!
I quickly made my way to the car to head to my appointment, it was going to take me at least 30 minutes (with minimal traffic) to get to my appointment which was on the other side of town.
As I headed off I knew that I was going to be a late, but not sure by how long. I got a rude shock to see the traffic building up (which I couldn’t do anything about). I had not anticipated this much traffic.
My thoughts and anxious feelings started up again. The more this happened the more I prayed to have these inner states be diminished and removed, which in turn affected my ability to be clearer, aware and in the moment.
As 4:30pm was approaching on the clock, I decided to let the doctor know I was running late with a quick phone call. Reception thanked me for letting them know. They also told me that the doctor was waiting for me as I was his last appointment for the day.
This comment tugged at me, made me feel uneasy. I continued re-assuring myself that I could not do anything further to change my situation and to stay present and in the moment as best I can.
When I would get caught up at the traffic lights I simply continued with my prayer for my internal state to shift from this anxious, turmoiled way into a more calm and centred one by using the elimination technique to remove egos.
I finally arrived at my appointment, I was 25 minutes late. I was pleasantly surprised to be greeted by the doctor in the foyer, and that he was making jokes with me.
His demeanour helped to calm me down a bit too (I was not sure how he would respond to me being late). I also apologised to him for being late. He was accepting of it. I was able to go into my appointment with the doctor, like nothing had happened.
This made me realise more than ever, my thoughts and feelings are fleeting moments within my life. How much weight I place on them at the end of the day is a choice I can make. I also have access to the tools that can help me overcome them.