Reflection: It’s the final day of a one-week painting class in beautiful sunny Bend, Oregon. The town is an artist’s delight – interesting boutiques, sidewalk cafes, flowers tumbling from every lamppost. The instructor is equally delightful – skilled, available and encouraging. The only downside (and it’s a minor one, at that) is that the class is delivered entirely indoors – no plein air painting at all.
And so, on the final day of class, I promise myself a treat – painting over lunch outdoors. I’d scouted out the ideal spot from which to sketch: a sidewalk café with a tasty menu, kitty corner from a great little vignette. My target: a quaint little shop with odd bits and pieces tumbling out onto the sidewalk, framed by flower pots, lamp post and cast iron benches.
I arrive early enough to snag the perfect outdoor table. I place my order for lunch, and pull my art supplies from my bag. At the very moment I grab my pen, flip open my sketchbook and look up to begin, a massive brown UPS delivery truck pulls into the loading zone directly between me and the target of my artistic pursuit.
While initially annoyed, I reckon it’s a five-minute loading zone and he is a man on a mission, so not to worry. I enjoy a sip of my wine, soak up a few rays, and start on my lunch. However, my patient equanimity doesn’t last for long.
Over the next twenty minutes, ‘Brown’ continues to occupy the loading zone, repeatedly stacking his trolley with boxes and delivering them to customers in every possible direction. I stew, as the clock ticks on, and this highly anticipated sketching opportunity slips through my fingers. By the time ‘Brown’ finishes his deliveries and moves on, I’ve definitely run out of patience and I’m completely out of time. Reluctantly, I settle up, pack up, and stand up – not a single line nor a single spot of color on the page!
As I turn around, and head back up the street to class, what do I see? An equally enticing vignette situated in exactly the opposite direction. Had I simply accepted the fact that my best-laid plan was thwarted, looked for other options, and moved to the chair on the other side of my table, I’d have had an entirely different lunchtime experience.
Action: How often do you commit yourself to a course of action, only to find yourself blocked by something you had not anticipated?
As I learned that day in Bend, there are other ways to handle a UPS – that being an Unexpected Perturbing Situation. Give it a try the next time a UPS lands smack dab in the middle of your loading zone.
Pause to put your frustration on ice. Acknowledge a change of plans. Check out the options. Revamp your plan to take advantage of other possibilities.
Quotes Of The Week: “You need a plan … but don’t become consumed by it. Winds change.” – Joseph Ehrhard
“When defeat comes, accept it as a signal that your plans are not sound, rebuild those plans, and set sail once more toward your coveted goal.” – Napoleon Hill
Resource Of The Week: Check out Polly Campbell’s article: 5 Ways To Foster Flexible Thinking – Tips to Get Out Of A Mental Rut.
Readers Write: In response to an earlier message, Expeditious or Auspicious, Pause reader, BG writes: “I thought for once I would send you some inspiring words! I hope that you are enjoying this wonderful fall day!”
With BG’s message came this link to a blog post by Leo Babauta: Finding Peace With Uncertainty. I’m happy to pass it along to all of you.