I will never forget the day. It was a late summer Sunday afternoon in Boulder as I hurriedly pulled into the Whole Foods parking lot. At the time it was a relatively small lot which was shared with a Barnes & Noble and a six-screen movie theater. Finding decent parking was always a challenge and given the peak shopping hour, I understood that finding the mack-daddy space was unrealistic.
As I scouted the dregs of the far ends of the lot I observed white backup lights as a vehicle began to evacuate its space. I immediately took the on-deck position to fill the space and exclaimed my objective to do so with my left-hand turn signal. As the exiting car backed out in front of me, it unintentionally created an avenue for another approaching car to come in and take my targeted space.
I looked on is disbelief as late 80’s, faded-paint model Honda adorned with a Free Tibet bumper sticker snaked into the space. And then she, I will refer to her as Windsong, emerged from her vehicle completely oblivious of her actions. Windsong was the poster child for the early 20’s, Boulder-hippie wannabe. She wore torn jeans with an equally torn tee-shirt. Birkenstocks were her shoe of choice and dreadlocks garlanded her air-filled head. I immediately rolled down my window and addressed her. “Excuse me,” I said in a perturbed voice, “but I was waiting for that space.” And then, she spoke the words that have left a lasting impression on me to this day: “If you just open yourself up, maybe something will come to you.”
I realized at this point that rational argument was fruitless. I shook my head and crept forward towards the front of the lot as I gazed once more at Windsong who was making her way to the store. The smell of patchouli oil permeated the walls of my car as I drove past her. And then, a miracle happened. As I moved forward, I saw a space available right in front row near the entrance. Not to be denied, I hurried forward and pulled into the space. A brief smile fell upon my face. As I got out of my car, Windsong was just meandering by. She caught my eye, smiled at me and said in her hippie twang, “See, I told you.”
In my own life there have been great thinkers that have helped to influence how I have framed the reality around me. Immediately I recall the likes of Maimonides, Socrates and Mr. Miyagi just to name a few. I can say with conviction that these brilliant minds truly inspire me. Actually they only inspire me temporarily until I forgot the wisdom they imparted. OK, the reality is they actually make me feel stupid because I am not bright enough to understand them (this however, does not preclude me from garnishing my bookshelves with their works to impress others but I digress). My encounter with Windsong however, went beyond philosophy. It was a tangible demonstration of a belief system that played out right before my very eyes.
I am reminded by the confusion that exists in our lives on a daily basis. This reminder usually occurs when I take our dog out to go potty at night. As I watch her sniff every square inch of our lawn and repeatedly pace back and forth examining and reexamining the potential spots for her eventual urination, I consider my own life’s search for meaning. While my dog rarely heeds my advice to open herself up, like my dog I search and search but the answer is in front of me the whole time. Until I open myself up, I cannot find the meaning in my life, and more importantly, the best parking spaces. So how will I know when I have learned to live my life with this openness? The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the Windsong.
More on this to come…