A mantra for winning at life

We make our way out into the chilly rainy Charlottesville morning. The City Market is still going on, I’m surprised to see, and somehow we manage to grab a 2-hour parallel parking space right next to the market.

“What about the car? It’s only a two hour spot,” he asks.

“It’s not relevant right now. Let’s just see if we can even get tickets,” I reply.

We’re waiting in line to see if we can get tickets to the sold out show. I ask a guy wearing a VA Film Fest badge.

“Are they giving away left over tickets ten minutes prior to start? We want to see Inspired to Ride,” I inquire.

He doesn’t give a clear answer, saying we’ll have to ask the clerk selling tickets. A few moments later he comes back with a lady in a blue rain coat explaining that she has an extra ticket, which she hands over to Ryan with a smile. He’s too perplexed and in awe to give much of a response right now so I smile and wholeheartedly say thank you.

Upon getting to the top of the ticket line and inquiring about two more tickets, one for me, and one for his dad, we hear, “I have two tickets left in my inventory.”

The sun might not be shining today, but someone(thing) is looking out for us I think to myself.

A message

I decided very last minute to go with him on this adventure this past Saturday morning. It’s times like this when I know there is something there to trust. The synchronicity with which we got the three tickets and were able to see a film so...inspiring...leaves me nearly speechless.

It also makes a great explanation of a Small Act I’ve been practicing. I often meditate, quietly, just lying on the floor on a yoga mat, trying to relax my whole body, trying to clear my thoughts, and only listen. I’m listening to the outside sounds; the birds, trucks, wind. I’m listening for some guidance from whatever pulls me in one direction or another. Sometimes I’m perplexed about a situation so I kind of “sit” with it and just let it be. Call it prayer or whatever you want, it’s something I do when I need a little “break” and direction or clarity.

On one occasion during this listening/struggling with a question I got an answer back.

“Embrace love.”

A reminder

That was all I needed and since then I have tried to use that as a mantra during my daily life whenever I have doubtful thoughts or questions about any number of situations or future fantasies. It is a Small Act mantra I’ve been practicing when I need to get out of my time machine and focus on the now.

A practice

Going to see that film was somewhat of an “embrace love” moment for me. It was relatively early for a Saturday, and I enjoy my sleep, but Ryan was determined to try and get tickets to the sold out show. He’d been trying to see the film for months now and was eager to see others on the journey he’d taken over the summer. I knew it was important to him and I wanted to share that with him. I wanted to embrace love and be spontaneous.

I gained so much perspective seeing that film. One of the riders, Mike Hall, has the world record time for bike tour around the world. He also won the Trans Am Bike Race that year, the focus of this particular film, Inspired to Ride. When asked once whether he’d have enjoyed going around the world again more if he’d gone a bit slower his response was no. He explained he enjoys riding fast so if that’s what he enjoys why should he slow down or do it differently.

A perspective

Hearing him say this was almost like a wake-up call to me. Not everyone shares my perspective on what’s enjoyable and what’s not. It was another embrace love moment, as that very fact creates stress in my life. Sometimes I don’t understand why others behave the way they do, but it’s not my choice; it’s theirs. I should embrace (accept) the choice with love because I can't change it. All else, in reality, is futile.

It gave me perspective about Ryan too, and his adventure out there. It boosted my respect and admiration for him. The most exciting parts to me were seeing places I’d visited in Oregon at the conclusion of his 76 day excursion across the U.S.

A Small Act

The Small Act, “embrace love” reminds me to be present and to trust. If I’m embracing love, I’m not worried about potential future outcomes. I’m not judging anyone for their choice. I’m not wasting energy being upset because I didn’t get my way. I’m practicing self-love, confidence, mindfulness, and trust, all with two simple words.

A meaning

The previous night I had the pleasure of catching several short films with John Wharton during the screening of Craft at the VA Film Fest. Glass Gardens played as well as several other inspiring short films. The centralized theme shared this same undertone of embracing love, if I look at it closely enough. These crafts were all based in others’ passions and creative therapeutic outlets. Each of them a Small Act of embracing love, life, and learning to strive for happiness above all else.

I like to find meaning in situations or random events. Perhaps that thought, “embrace love” just randomly popped into my head that day. Either way it’s something I hope to carry with me for a long time. It gives me confidence to feel secure about doing things I haven’t done before, building new relationships, and the having the hope and courage to face my fears and past mistakes. It’s like turning on a flashlight in a dark basement.