Seattle has enchanted me ever since I was 11 years old. It was around that time that I met Brad Ausen, a 12-year old Seattle boy that came to our tiny town of Milroy every summer to visit his grandma. The Seattle that Brad described seemed to me, a small town boy who had never flown in an airplane or ascended to the top of any large structure that did not store grain, like some combination of Oz and Disneyworld. On the other hand, I thought, if Seattle is some type of Nirvana (forgive me Mr. Cobain), why would Brad spend his summers in Milroy?
It only took me 47 years, but I decided to check this Seattle thing out for myself. As it turns out, Seattle is, if not Nirvana, a pretty cool place to visit. And, while I did not leave my heart there, I did, unfortunately, leave more than I had planned.
I can be, at times, prone to become distracted and anxious (but only when I am alone or with somebody). Sometimes I find myself fumbling around in an anxious moment and, when I look up from my cloud, some item has wandered off. While some version of this occurs quite regularly, I take pride in pointing out that I rarely lose things; most items are just temporarily misplaced. They show up again, usually within days, but not before exhausting my family and friends. In truth, I have not really lost much, until I went to Seattle. Our Seattle trip, while wonderful in every other way, was marked with three frustrating loses that have given me pause.
When we arrived at our hotel in Seattle, the cab pulled off with my brief case while I was anxiously fumbling for a tip. Two days later, I left my phone/billfold on a chair in a hotel hallway while I nervously prepared for my presentation. Finally, on our last day, I was at the airport, a man with no identification or phone; only a pocketful of cash and a desire to convince airport security to let me go home. To my delight, they let me board the plane, but when I reached into my pocket, it was empty. My last real traveling possession, $165 cash I had stowed away, was gone, apparently having fallen out of my pocket as I rushed through the airport.
Others to blame? You bet. The cab driver should have returned the briefcase to the hotel; the person who found my phone should have brought it to the front desk; the person who saw my $165 lying on the airport floor should have . . . (never mind, I hope that person had a nice time). Yet as much as I may curse fate, I cannot deny the hand I played in this unfortunate little trilogy. Losing three things in three days must say something about me.
But what? That I am an awful person? I doubt it. That I get anxious and distracted. Of course. What can I do about it? I have been that way all of my life.
I am, if nothing else, a man bent on improving myself and if I can find a way to avoid these moments, all the better. I don’t know of any real cure for my busy and anxious mind, but for the past several years I have been burning to try something that others swear will make my life better: meditation.
Many people I admire swear that meditation can calm the monkey mind in magical ways. I believe it with my whole heart. I could probably sell books on mediation. But I have never done it. I have put it off for many of the usual reasons, particularly the belief that it is a practice for granola eating soft spoken types; not for brazen stumble bums like me. Well, maybe this is the time for me to just give it a try.
So today I decided that, in honor of my lost briefcase, phone, and money that I will try to meditate, at least for 15 minutes, every day for a month; to see what happens. What do I have to lose?