Sunday, February 25, 2007

When life snows on your parking lot, shovel a space for yourself

Are there better words to live by than the title of this post? No.You can stop calling me Diana, Goddess of the Hunt, and start calling me the Goddess of Wisdom.

As most of you know a huge storm covered much of the country, we got 10 inches of snow. Last night after they canceled my flight at midnight, they put me on reserve until 1:45AM. Then they gave me a flight where I was supposed to show up at work at 9:45AM! I slept at the airport. It's a good thing I did, because it was warm this afternoon, so shoveling my car out of the airport parking lot wasn't so bad. If I had done it last night, I would have froze, had only 4 hours of sleep, and I would have had nowhere to park! There was a foot of snow in all the parking spots but the middle, which had a car obviously stuck.

I went to the gym today, but it was closed. The temp was nice, like 27 degrees, so I thought, "why not shovel a space for myself?"

I went outside with the shovel and scooped up a shovelful, then another, then another, then another. But I couldn't see a bit of difference. I should have quit then, what good would continuing do? I would work my ass off and it wouldn't even be a quarter done, but I decided to continue anyway.

My roommate was cooking, and was going to knock on the window when she was done. I just decided to continue to shovel until she knocked. It wouldn't make much difference, but at least it would ensure that the plower plowed all the way to the edge, since I had started it. So I shoveled on.

I was beautifully Buddhist about it. I scooped a scoop at a time, and just enjoyed being in the moment. I smiled as I picked up a scoop, threw it or dropped it to the side. As I went, one scoop at a time, the space started to empty! I moved my car into the space and then started scooping the snow by the stuck car, again, with a smile on my face.

Isn't this a beautiful metaphor for life? The parking space was full of snow, if I had waited for the landlord to plow it I would have to park my car somewhere else for the night. So I shoveled it myself! Life threw an obstacle in my way, and instead of waiting for outside forces to solve it, I solved it myself.

But the metaphor goes even further. When I saw the job, it looked just too big, I was 100% certian that I couldn't do it. But I did. I just shoveled a scoop at a time, enjoying the process, and I not only got it accomplished, I enjoyed the process.

Years ago, when my life and my brain looked too chaotic to ever control, I came up with a theory. Life felt like I was walking on a bog, when everyone else was walking on solid ground. I had to keep moving to stay normal, but if I took a rest I would fall in. So I decided to just "throw pebbles in the bog" one at a time. I had hope that if I did many little things to make my life and mind better, that one day I would have solid ground to walk on. It is years later, and it worked. I did the tinyest things to make my health better, and though I couldn't see any results at the time, the little things added up, and now my life, though imperfect, is on solid ground.

Next time I see a large challenge in front of me, I hope I will remember shoveling out my parking space. It looked so huge, but one scoop at a time, I shoveled the whole thing. And I enjoyed it too.

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