On Missing Meetings, Hopping Planes, and Choosing Life
This guest post was written by Caroline McGraw, she writes about choosing love, losing fear and finding home at A Wish Come Clear. Her full bio is at the end of this post.
Last night I dreamt that I did something totally uncharacteristic: I missed an important phone meeting with a potential client. I missed said meeting because, instead of being where I usually am (at home, with cell phone coverage and my feet firmly planted on the ground), I was on a plane. In the clouds. Bound for Europe.
Somehow, a spur-of-the-moment opportunity for travel had opened up. I, along with three of my closest friends, had said yes to some free plane tickets. In my waking life, the four of us went to Europe together after we graduated from high school. We saved our babysitting money for ages to afford that (low-budget) backpacking adventure, and ten years later, we all agree: it was worth every penny.
Given this, you can see why saying yes to those (dreamworld) plane tickets was a no-brainer. The only thing nagging my dream-self was the sense of irresponsibility, the feeling that I’d failed this would-be client.
In my waking life, I RSVP, show up on time, and keep my word. In the dream, however, there hadn’t been time to cancel the appointment and pack my bags to make the flight. If I had called the client, I would have missed the plane. And in doing so, I would have betrayed my true self.
Plus, there was a part of me – a secret, deep-down part – that felt relieved at the prospect of missing the meeting. There was something about this potential client, some inarticulable quality that made me want to avoid her calls.
My intuition was telling me to run in the opposite direction, but I didn’t want to listen. Instead, I listened to logic: But she’s well connected. This is an important opportunity. And we could use the money … and so on. But when the plane tickets appeared out of nowhere, my heart hijacked my head and said yes.
That’s how I found myself up in the air with my closest friends. I was ebullient with joy, except when I was consumed with guilt for missing the meeting. Soaring elation one minute, crippling self-condemnation the next … it was dizzying.
When the plane landed, I ignored the sinking feeling in my stomach and turned on my phone. A series of irate voicemails and text messages from the would-be client poured in. I’d kept her waiting without so much as an apology, and she was incensed.
As I read and listened to the angry messages, my mind spun with self-recrimination. I shouldn’t have come to Europe … I’ve really screwed up … lost out on any chance of working with her …
But there was a quieter voice that whispered: Honey, do you really want to work with someone who can’t give you the benefit of the doubt – or at least express her (legitimate) frustration respectfully?
Furthermore, would it have been a good idea to give up this trip to placate some woman you barely know? Would you turn down something you KNOW gives you joy in order to pursue a relationship that brings you nothing but stress? Because if so, baby, have I got news for you: that’s no way to live.
I stared down at the phone in my hand. I looked up at my friends. I had a choice to make. And that’s when I woke up.
Rubbing my eyes, I thought: Whoa … what if I DID choose happiness and real connection? What would happen then?
In A Life of Being, Having, and Doing Enough, Wayne Muller writes about how illness and loss have changed his perspective, saying, “I am no longer able to delay, put off, or postpone any possibility of joy, delight, or love for any presumably ‘good’ reason. The heart knows nothing of reasons, and mine is fiercely incapable of tolerating any such foolishness.”
And so I have to ask: what about you? Are you willing to take a risk like that? To choose the connections you long for? To get carried away, and moreover, to enjoy it?
True, life is sometimes about making calls and keeping appointments … but life is always about responding to what’s real and true and right in front of you.
It’s about seeing that, if you have to choose between love and fear, it’s really no choice at all.
And it’s about siding with Ben Lee when he sings, Make a list of things you need / Leave it empty / Except for number one / Write: Love. / Gamble everything.
Caroline McGraw is a would-be childhood paleontologist turned writer, digging for treasure in people and uncovering sacred stories in ordinary days. She writes about choosing love, losing fear and finding home at A Wish Come Clear. Visit and receive free copies of Caroline’s digital books, Your Creed of Care: How to Dig for Treasure in People (Without Getting Buried Alive) and Love’s Subversive Stance: Ground Yourself and Grow in Relationship.January 6, 2014 in quote