Today I lost my cool a little.
It was preceded by the bird that shat on me like the rain-cloud in The Truman Show, while wearing my brand new wind-breaker for the first time, waiting for the ferry.
I know the superstition of a bird pooping on you being good luck.
But I’m quite happy to walk under a ladder or walk across the path of a black cat with no part of me left in despair that it’s bad luck.
So why would I think a bird pooping on me was lucky?
Well, part of me does!
Yet, at the same time, part of me today thought it could just be the intent of the universe sticking a middle finger up at me for some unknown reason… or just for no reason at all!
Once I realized what had happened I took off my wind-breaker.
I inspected but it wasn’t as bad as it had felt.
After I hopped on the ferry I went to the cafe inside to ask for any napkins and, preferably, a little water to wipe it down.
They didn’t have any but the lovely lady working there gave me a couple from her own handbag.
I thanked her profusely and she reflected the same warmth back at me.
Then I went to my seat, hung my jacket on the adjacent seats and was about to sit down as I took my phone out of my pocket and…
My phone was not there!
Momentarily, I panicked then reasoned that it must be in my bag because I had been reading my Kobo in my work-mate’s car who had just dropped me and another work-mate off at the ferry terminal.
- I searched my bag but it wasn’t there.
- I checked my pockets again.
- I checked the pockets of my poop-affected jacket – not there.
- I frantically checked my bag again.
Did I leave it on the cafe counter while talking with the lady?
Ah – maybe it is in the terminal where I took my jacket off to inspect.
I rushed off the ferry to check but it wasn’t there either.
One of the guards asked me my phone number so he could call. I blurted it out while running back onto the ferry then realized I keep it on silent-mode all the time anyway.
When I went back to the place where I originally planned to sit a young fellow seemed to be putting something under his behind.
So I asked him straight up: “Have you seen a phone lying around?”
No, he hadn’t. But he kept glancing at me.
There were more people sitting down now then I remembered watching a documentary (the name of which escapes me) where it was talking about how people are looking to be left off the hook.
The doco described examples of people who had stolen minor things and when the victim had spoken up and threatened to either call the police or check bags or do anything where the culprit might get caught, the culprit found a way either to anonymously drop the object where it could be “found” or just ask:
“Is this it? I just saw it now…”
Therefore, I now decided to pipe up.
It was also a feeble attempt at regaining a sense of control.
Without much tact, I spoke loud enough to easily get everyone’s attention:
“Someone has stolen my phone… It has been taken…”
Maybe because it was in Turkish, a couple of people asked me what happened then suggested I check my bag again.
“No, someone has taken it,” I repeated loudly.
At this point, my other work-mate who got dropped off in the same car came out from behind the corner after recognizing my voice.
He said he had a message from our driver work-mate.
Someone had left a phone in the car and now we were waiting for a photo to see if it belonged to me or another friend. He showed me the photo and it was mine.
A brief feeling of relief was drowned out by embarrassment.
I instantly stood up, turned around and apologized half a dozen times to various sections of somewhat stunned onlookers.
Quite a few of them nodded and put their hands together in a kind of “Thank-you” praying position, obviously happy it had not been stolen and not seeming to be judging me too critically.
I did hear two strangers debating though.
They were discussing how in Turkey people wouldn’t just steal something like that out in the open. A lady was describing how foreigners live a different experience where this would be possible.
The country had nothing to do with my outburst – I would have done it anywhere, I expect.
I couldn’t quite understand everything being said and it felt more appropriate to keep my mouth shut from then on anyway!
The sequence of events had snapped me up like a fish-net:
- Literally being shat on;
- Contemplating whether to go to the bathroom to use water to clean the jacket;
- Realizing I didn’t have my phone;
- Scurrying off and back on the ferry looking for my phone;
- Coming back to see the young gentleman putting something under him; and, finally
- Not having any idea where my phone was and jumping to conclusions.
Of course, this is a petty excuse.
It was just an excuse to “feel hard-done by” and to feel like I have the right to lash out (even if it was just verbally).
It’s a victim mindset.
Negative emotions like anger, frustration, anxiety, overwhelm and sadness can pipe up when any of us persist with consistent meditation.
The answer is not to quit meditation practice.
The answer is not to let your shit stir under the surface of your conscious awareness.
The solution is a process of continuation…
To watch whatever comes up, to not have cravings for more of the same or aversions for less… and to come back to your breath, or whatever your focus is while meditating.
To start again, every day, every practice, with beginner’s mind.