Sometimes people ask, “What is your Spirituality?”
The one answer I am always sure about is gratitude.
The miracle is that you and I are here.
The odds against us were millions to one.
The miracle is that we exist at all.
Everything else is a bonus.
This is our traditional season of giving and sharing. Yet economically it’s been a tough year for many people.
So especially in times like these, I like to remember what we all have to be grateful for, starting with our very existence.
Abundance, surplus, chance, fortune, call it what you will, sometimes lurks in the most unlikely places. It does favor the prepared mind. The prepared mind keeps your awareness open to opportunity instead of just loss.
That’s easy when times are easy, and most needed when times are tough. It’s tough when our social reality seems all about scarcity and fear. That’s a hard place to prosper from.
So I thought this story timely. In NLP speak it demonstrates the value of what we call “perceptual filters.” In plain English, it’s about keeping your awareness open enough to notice the unlikely opportunity right in front of you. It’s also a good challenge to those scarcity notions lurking in the back of your consciousness.
Cement Trucks and Miracles.
Some time ago, I enjoyed being part of a volunteer group that worked on improving schools in California.
We would get together teams of 100 to 200 people, pick a public school, and volunteer to go in for a weekend and do things like repaint the classrooms, refinish the desks, and rebuild the play areas.
We did this at no cost to the school. We would ask the school what they wanted most. Then we would go out into the local community and solicit donations of materials for the project.
It was a real delight. The children would come back to school on a Monday and think they must be in a new school, because it looked so much better and different from the classroom they had left on Friday.
We also had a lot of fun working with our friends, enjoying potluck meals, and usually a bit of dancing and partying when the work was done.
One of these weekends, while I was working on a school in Bonny Doon, a most amazing thing happened at the school in San Jose.
The team of a hundred or so was working on their various tasks, when the team working on the playground equipment found themselves stopped.
As the day went by, they realized more and more that to complete the job they really needed a large amount of concrete. Somehow, they missed this in the planning process.
While they were standing around and discussing how they could solve this, one of the team members looked up.
At the other end of the school ground, he saw a cement truck parked on the street. It was sitting right in front of the school with its engine idling and the large hopper on the back turning around. He realized it had been sitting there for some time.
He said, “Hey, I wonder what that’s about. Let me go talk to him and find out.” He went over and talked to the driver, and this is what he learned.
The driver was on his way to a delivery when the drive shaft on his truck broke. “I was heading down the freeway and suddenly I had no acceleration, no control. I still had brakes, but I couldn’t accelerate. I saw an off ramp, took it, and luckily the light at the intersection was green, so I turned right and coasted just this far before I came to a stop.”
“So what are you going to do?” the volunteer asked.
“I don’t know. There are very few tow trucks that can pull a truck this heavy. My dispatcher has been trying to find one. If we don’t find one real soon, the concrete will start to harden inside the truck, and then we have a big problem.”
You can imagine the grin on the volunteer’s face as he said, “I think we may be able to help you.”
PS: Every year I like to create something to keep my mind trained to the joy of giving, the discipline of abundance and opportunity. So look for a special announcement next Tuesday that will allow you to share in being one of the “cement trucks” in life. You’ll have a unique opportunity to do yourself well by doing good. 🙂