What Happens When You’re “in charge” rather than “open to possibility”
I shave previously shared the Guides' concept of "charge" and today I'll tell you about a time when their point was illustrated with stark clarity. Leanne and I had taken quite a few holidays together and most were quite wonderful, but there was one notable exception. With another friend, we decided to rent a cabin in a small lake town in the interior of British Columbia. We had a list of requirements and the town and cabin seemed to include everything on our checklist so we arrived with high expectations. The first wrinkle was apparent when the cabin turned out to not be on the lakeshore, but a few blocks away. The second wrinkle was clear when we opened the door to the cabin and were hit with a wave of mold smell. Within seconds, I was wheezing and realized I couldn't stay there. Behind the cabin was a bunk house, mercifully mold free, so it was decided that I would sleep there. Free of mold it was, free of spiders it wasn't. I am a big arachnophobe …. but I digress.... Figuring we would still greatly enjoy the lake, we went walking along the perimeter, lined with bushes, hedges and trees - all of which contained clumps of spider webs, which, when disturbed by even breath of air, large spiders would leap out to the edge of the web. They were everywhere :-(
Apparently garbage collection was an issue in this town and there were signs everywhere saying it was verboten to dispose of household garbage in public bins. In the public parking lots around the area there were other signs which said that not paying for parking would result in immediate towing, and, believe it or not, there was literally an RCMP lurking in each lot! We were completely stunned that this sleepy little resort town would be so unwelcoming in so many ways. Not at all friendly Canada!
Needless to say, we cut our holiday short and were a sober little group as we drove away. A few miles out of town, the Guides told Leanne to slow down because a tire was going to blow out. Being a doubting Thomas with new tires, she thought they were kidding so she slowed down somewhat, but not that much. Five seconds later there was a "BAM" and the car swerved to and fro. Leanne managed to maintain control and pulled over to the side of the road. As we sat there stunned in her lopsided car, we said to the Guides, "What the hell is going on here?! Why is this holiday so unpleasant? We don't get it!" They explained to us that we had approached past holidays in happy anticipation, wondering what nice experiences would be present and being open to being surprised. However, they went on, as a result of those pleasant holidays, we thought we knew what we liked and didn't like, so had created a list of requirements and expected those requirements to be met. Voila! We were now in a state of "charge" rather than openness. We had put ourselves in charge of making this holiday the way we thought it should be; had therefore also created the opposite of what we actually wanted and therefore, the opposite was what we experienced. We had approached previous holidays with an "I wonder what will happen" attitude but had approached this one with a "this is what we need to have happen" attitude. This was a huge lesson for me and is one I have never forgotten. It's fine to have preferences within an open attitude, but as soon as preferences become requirements, duality kicks in and opposites are created. As a result of that uncomfortable lesson, "I wonder what will happen today?" has become a mantra for me.