Staying Open

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I’ve been thinking back on an experience I had about a year and a half ago.  My car was dying.  I’d spent a lot of time at the garage that summer so I knew this car was not going to last much longer. I needed another, but I had no idea how to make that happen.  I was still digging myself out of a financial hole. I was making progress.  The car was the last piece that needed attention so that I could relax knowing that I could take care of all my basic needs.

One blustery November day, I was on my way to work and my car choked its last breath and died by the side of the road.  I sat there in stunned silence. The car had over 200,000 miles and I was pretty sure it had its second cracked head gasket along with who knew what else ready to break.

I had no savings.  I had no credit. I lived alone and drove a half hour through back roads to get to work.  I had no idea what I could do.

Crisis has the marvelous effect of focusing our minds and keeping us in the present moment.  Luckily, I had been studying law of attraction for a couple of years at that point and I’d had some success with deliberately steering myself to better feeling thoughts and outcomes in my life.  I clung to that knowledge like my life depended on it.

It took about a week for me to go from sitting in a dead car, on an unpaved road, on a windy, cold day, to driving home a two-year-old car with 30,000 miles on it. It was a week full of anxiety, faith, and little miracles.  I made two decisions during that week, that served me really well.  I decided to stay open to the possibility that things could work out well and I actively looked for things to appreciate.

I started looking for things to be appreciate on the day when my car died.  I was grateful that it died on my way to work, when it was light out and I could knock on doors looking for a phone to use, rather than at 10:00 at night when I would be coming home from work.  There was sufficient staff on at my workplace that night, so it wasn’t a crisis when I couldn’t get there.  I had a good relationship with my mechanic, so he sent a tow truck way out to this back road to rescue me and my car and I got dropped off at my house before the tow truck continued on to the garage.

I had a lot of sleepless nights that week, but as I kept reminding myself to be open to the possibility of things working out well, they did.  A friend drove me around to look at cars. A co-worker picked me up on her way to work.  Another co-worker offered to lend me her car when she wasn’t using it. A family member lent me money for a down payment on a car.  My supervisor and landlord wrote letters of recommendation to help me get a loan.

As I listened to my intuition and stayed open to things working out well, they did work out in ways I never would have predicted.  By the end of this process, I not only had a wonderful, reliable car, but I knew that I had a community of people who cared about me and would rally around me in a crisis.  That knowledge was a wonderful gift.

I’ve been thinking of this experience because I have been struggling lately.  It finally occurred to me to look at what made that situation work out so well. I’ve used gratitude and appreciation to elevate my mood, but that hasn’t been enough lately.  The one thing I did in the car crisis, that I haven’t done with other situations, is to stay open to things working out well.  I was open to things working out in ways I couldn’t orchestrate or foresee.  I trusted that things could work out well without my control. I deliberately deciding to trust that things would work out well, even when I couldn’t imagine how.

So, I’m practicing that now.  It doesn’t come to me naturally, but I feel much better already.  It is easier for me to stay open to the possibility of things working out well than to have complete faith that they will.  That distinction helps me. Good things just need that crack of an open mind to move into my life.  I don’t have total faith in positive outcomes and I don’t need total faith.  I only need to be open to the possibility of things working out well for me.  I can do that.