Today I have a short story for you with some reminders for living a more peaceful life…
Last week I was part of a manhunt – and not the kind that the ladies on The Bachelor are on. This was a real manhunt complete with police helicopters, a helmet wearing swat team, and a K9 unit. I was in Santa Monica taking a walk with my good friend and author/speaker/career expert powerhouse Lindsey Pollak who was visiting from New York. About ten minutes into our walk it was hard to ignore the rather unusual amount of sirens but we really didn’t think much of it (I guess we’ve both lived in the city too long!). Once we saw two helicopters hovering, we began to catch on that this wasn’t a usual Friday afternoon on the Westside. Then Lindsey’s husband called us and told us we couldn’t come back to their apartment. The entire block was barricaded and police search teams had infiltrated the neighborhood for a manhunt.
I remember thinking: “I wonder who they are looking for and why”; “Are we safe?” and “Shoot, all my stuff and my car keys are in their apartment.” It was 4:00 pm and I knew I needed to leave by 4:30 because I had three clients to get home to and a dinner party that night, which definitely required a shower and some primping time. This manhunt could turn out to be very inconvenient….
We headed in the general direction of their block and approached the patrolling cops for more info. The only thing they told us was that they were looking for three men involved in a burglary. As we stood there, we witnessed them arrest one of the men. When I looked at this young man who appeared to be around 19, sad and ashamed, and bitten by one of the K9s, I felt such a wave of compassion as I wondered what must have happened in his life to get him to this point. At the same time, I felt compassion for the people who had been burglarized and how scary that must have been for them. In that moment I was reminded that the criminal system works in “right” and “wrong” – there are reasonable reasons for this. Yet the human spirit can see beyond right-doing and wrong-doing and this ability to see without judgment is one of the ways we feel peace inside. It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from Rumi, “Out beyond ideas of wrong doing and right doing, there is a field. I will meet you there.”
In the chaos of the helicopters, sirens, and people arguing with the cops about needing to get home, Lindsey and I knew that the only way to feel peace in this situation was to move into acceptance. It was totally out of our hands. With her husband’s help (since my phone was being held hostage in their apartment) we reached my clients. We made the best of the situation and our unexpected time together. It had been one of those days when every hour was scheduled and it was quite nice to take a pause, enjoy my friend, and be grateful that we were only distantly affected by this manhunt. Nearly three hours later, I was in my car on my way to my dinner party in my workout clothes. Sometimes surrender does not leave time for primping. The next time you are caught in an unexpected situation that totally throws off your schedule or plan, how will you choose to respond?
Will you react by getting upset, trying to change it in some way, judge it, or allow it to stress you out? Or will you respond with acceptance and find the peace in judgment-free surrender? And if you are currently in a real manhunt (or womanhunt) and waiting for your special someone to arrive, can you choose patience and trust Divine Timing?
We fool ourselves into believing we have control. We don’t. But we do have choices. My manhunt experience was a beautiful reminder of the choices I have in my perception and my reactions. And that the things that seemed to matter – like adhering to my schedule and looking fancy for a dinner party – pale in comparison to the things that do – like spending extra time with my friend and our safety.
So the next time you get detoured, enjoy the new scenery that you would have missed had you gone in the direction you planned.
“Acceptance is not submission; it is acknowledgement of the facts of a situation. Then deciding what you’re going to do about it.” -Kathleen Casey Theisen
Christine Hassler supports individuals in discovering the answers to the questions: “Who Am I, What do I want, and How do I get it?” Christine grew up in Dallas, graduated cum laude from Northwestern University and received her Masters Degree in Psychology from the University of Santa Monica. She is now a Life Coach with a counseling emphasis specializing in relationships, career, finances, self-identity, personal and spiritual growth. Her expertise is centered on the twenty and early thirty something years of life. Christine has authored two books: Twenty-Something, Twenty-Everything: A Quarter-life Woman’s Guide to Balance and Direction and The Twenty-Something Manifesto. As a professional speaker, Christine leads seminars and workshops to audiences around the country. She has spoken to over 10,000 college students as well as to conferences and corporations about generational diversity. Christine has appeared as an expert on The Today Show, CNN, ABC, CBS, FOX, E!, Style and PBS, as well as various local television and radio shows, speaking about life issues and “Expectation Hangovers®” – a phenomenon she identified and trademarked.
Christine is the spokesperson for Zync from American Express and the key resource for their Quarterlife Program, which empowers young people to take control of their finances. She also created a life balance curriculum for the Leadership Institute and is a member of Northwestern University’s Council of 100. Beginning this fall, Christine will serve on the faculty of the University of Santa Monica.
You can connect with Christine on Facebook, through Twitter or at her website.