A little miracle of mindfulness

So just thinking about moving on from New Orleans, I thought I’d get my Amtrak timetable out.  I looked all through my bags and I couldn’t find it.  i simulaneously found that I could locate my rail pass.  Uh-oh! That’s (part of) my ticket home.  I’m not at all sure about getting to NYC without it.  It’s definitely not here, I check and double check.  I go through every pocket of every bag twice, three times.  It’s not here.

And I have this nagging thing in the back of my head that Amtrak won’t issue a replacement.

So where did I have it last?

At the place i stayed in Lafayette at the weekend.  So I ring them and they say “Well if you left anything in the room, housekeeping will have picked it up, you’ll have to call them at 8am tomorrow” Breathe…  OK so I also call the person who gave me a lift over here yesterday in case I left it in the car.  No answer, leave a voicemail.  

My impatience and lack of acceptance of this situation is rising.  I’m distracted, I can’t think about what’s right in front of me.  I’m becoming obsessed with what’s gone wrong and what terrible hard work I’m going to have to do to make it right.

Thankfully, Ray was taking me to a networking event tonight, so I had something/someone to take my mind of my own petty troubles.  I’ll write another time about the event.  For the purposes of this story let’s just say that I tried my hardest to focus on what other people were saying and getting stuck into being useful to the group, but my mind was still drifting to where on earth this pass could be.  Likewise when we went to eat at The Camellia Grill.  Great conversation but I was only 80% there.

So when we got back to the house I went to my room and had another look through.  Then I pulled out my phone to call the Amtrak helpline to see whether I could get a replacement issued.  I went through the rigmarole you have to in order to talk to a real person and sat waiting while agents attended to people who’d been sitting here before me.

And I slipped into my well-practiced groove of noticing my breath when I’m doing that, trying to keep my focus on that, rather than what the hold-music is and what I was doing the first time I heard “Knock on Wood” blah blah, just rmembering “I take a long breath in…. I release it” etc.  

And I’m doing this for maybe 5 minutes and I’m still on hold.  And I open my eyes and on the chair in front of me is my copy of “The Miracle of Mindfulness” by Thich Nhat Hanh.  And then something within says “What if?  What if there was one place you hadn’t looked.  What if it’s tucked inside the book?” 

But of course! That’s exactly where it is, slipped in between the pages of the little book is my little rail pass..  Which came back to me as soon as I came back to the present.

Originally posted on Please Look After This Englishman