It wasn’t as though I actually planned to go to New York; rather it was a casual conversation with a good friend who wished she had a travel companion for a visit to that great city. Somewhat hesitantly I commented that I may be interested and in that moment a journey began. It was not the journey I had initially contemplated but it brought me in close proximity to a long held belief – “it is not about the outcomes, it’s all about the journey.” Any of you who are familiar with these reflections on SoulClarity may recall that I try to live by the philosophy of being Soul directed. This requires me to pay attention to signs, symbols, synchronicity, serendipity and dreams among others to find the direction for my life. At times it can be painful, frustrating and surprising but it is always an adventure and as James Hollis is quick to remind us what is important is finding meaning in our experience.
So this reflection is all about finding meaning in NOT going to New York. After this initial expression of interest, my enthusiasm quickened to the idea but I had no sense of clarity or soul direction. What followed was confusing as I thought she was going to book regardless of me while she believed that she would not book until I made a commitment because the selected dates were to suit me
I got e-mail from Air Canada featuring a special price to New York; it seemed a propitious sign. I checked the fare, let her know the details and then drew a rune to confirm my decision to go. (A tradition of mine that has worked well in the past before booking anything.) She called to say she hadn’t had time to look yet but would later that night and either call or email me. As we ended the conversation my apparent misunderstanding was that she would book regardless and send me her itinerary. As I retire earlier than her I was not unduly concerned when it did not arrive; I expected to get it the next morning then book my flights.
The next morning I was surprised to get an e-mail from her, not with an itinerary but with an explanation that the prices she thought she had found were one way. She said those dates work for her but needed me to confirm that I was definitely going to go, before she booked. At first it seemed like no big deal but I was curious in view of my perception that she would go ahead without me; in my peculiar world this raised my intuitive antenna and I decided to draw a rune to ensure I was meant to book first; I drew Ansuz reversed, a clear sign to pause, somewhat frustrating because it does not give a definitive response – it is about waiting for a sign.
Fortunately my friend is familiar with my process and in the past had expressed support for my commitment to it so I felt comfortable sharing with her. “I am probably going to drive you crazy – I drive myself crazy! This morning I expected to get an e-mail from you with details of your flights and then would have booked mine. However when you hadn’t booked I felt confusion and decided I needed to check in again with the runes. I asked a simple question ‘should I book my flights to New York today”?’ I got reverse Ansuz – Signals, clearly saying “No” and I am to wait for clarity. I am off this afternoon for Whistler so my next decision point is Saturday.” Little did I know that the moment I pressed the send button any aspirations I had for New York would evaporate like a snowflake in a flame.
Her response was abrupt and to the point. She told me not to worry, she had expected me to change my mind, had even predicted my behavior to a few friends and now she wanted to go on her own. I was flabbergasted because it was a classic law of unintended consequences; it felt a bit like a footballer fixing the game then predicting the result. I e-mailed her immediately to try and explain the circumstances and that it was not a decision not to go but rather a delay. She called me to talk and explained that she feared that difficulty might come up on our trip with making decisions as we have different decision-making processes, and she then said she preferred not to go to New York without me. I told her not to worry as I don’t walk around ‘with a bag of runes in my pocket”, but this did not reassure her. It was then I understood she had rescinded the invitation and I was no longer invited. I was crushed, hurt, and sad when she made it clear that I was not welcome to accompany her. I think the hardest thing to accept was the sense of unfairness when it was her decision not to book that resulted in my change of heart. I drew a rune to seek guidance about my next step. I drew Gateway, clearly about patience and non-action, it was time to let it go.
Over the next few days I reflected on what had become a “Perfect Storm” With our mutual misunderstanding there was no way it could be avoided. I could see so clearly that this had always been about not going to New York. So where was the gift? I got to experience a rich combination of multiple complexes that I had never experienced altogether before – fairness, abandonment, feeling misunderstood, feeling judged and being assumed to behave in a certain manner. All of these complexes relate to childhood and I had worked with each individually. This seemed like the graduate exam. I wondered if I had passed or failed and drew yet another rune. Reverse Protection, “Regardless of whether your enterprise prospers or suffers, do not be overly concerned: you may not win but you need not lose, for you will always learn from what takes place. Temperance and courtesy are the sinews of this rune’s protective powers.” It seemed amazingly prescient but had I stayed temperate and courteous? I must ask my friend. I knew I had been triggered but tried own the emotions and keep the desire to make her wrong under control. So I asked her; the response was kind and considerate and likely a little too generous. “I remember calling you to chat about it and I thought the call went really well! I remember you said you were ‘feeling hurt’ (that’s the main part I remember) but no I wouldn’t say intemperate at all.” I hope she has a wonderful trip.
NB: We met for coffee on Monday; she shared that she had booked her trip on points Vancouver to New York direct; this was a much better option than any I found. I felt very touched when as she left she commented, “You may come if you like.” It was an attractive offer but I knew it was about this journey not the outcome and I already had other plans.