Intention vs. Agenda — Letting Magic Happen
Over the past several months, I had the great privilege of experiencing the magic of our wonderful universe. Based on this experience, I had the following epiphany — “When you drop your agenda and stay strong on your intention, magic happens.”
My dream for the last several years has been to help create a society where individuals take the time to reflect and become aware of their inner drives and thus raise their level of presence and compassion in life. Too many of us are caught up in the race to the top and miss out on life and our contribution to the world. In fact, I have learned, painfully at times, that things happen more easily and gracefully, when you finally let go.
Those of you who play golf can attest to the fact that you almost always end up scoring worse when you do want to play well and the harder you swing at the ball, the shorter it travels. I was always told that golf was a microcosm of life and I couldn’t agree more.
On a personal note, I would like to share a string of incidents where things not only turned out in my favor when I quit controlling the elements but also ended up being the beneficiary of incredible and unanticipated opportunities.
- My Green Card: Being a renaissance type of person, I made the switch from engineering to photography, film & TV, which was not a big deal for folks in the US to accept, but a very big deal for folks in India in the early 80s. People wondered and asked, “What happened to you, you were so good in math?” I lost a fiancee in the process who felt that I was wasting my life. Given the repercussions of my choice, it became evident to me that I needed to live in the United States to express and realize myself.The traditional path for a graduate student to live in the US is by getting a job and going through the green card process — a painful, expensive and long ordeal. Having placed such a high value on the green card, my moods swung to the ups and downs of the application process. The first step in the process at that time — my labor certification — was rejected due to some filing errors. The prospect of having to go back to India scared the daylights out of me. I allowed my entire quality of life to be controlled by the green card and it got down right miserable.
Not until, I let go and said to myself, “Alright, I cannot control the outcome of this process, I have done all I can,” did magically things started to pan out and the rest is history.
- I quit my job earlier this year to devote more time to helping people make more mindful choices in life and spend more time with my family. Being an engineer by training, I always embarked on a journey only after I felt reasonably confident of its success. This time around, that was not the case. I was clear about making the leap, but wasn’t concerned about where I landed. Being a planner by nature, I did what I could do by saving enough to stay open to possibilities and not be pushed too soon to yield to the pressures of paying the bills. This was very difficult for me in the beginning, as I do have the fear of poverty. But as the intention became strong of helping people deal with the challenges of life, the fear went away.And, magically, just three weeks after I gave up my lucrative position as the Chief Operating Officer and Coach at a nationally ranked wealth management firm, I was invited to help launch and run the Mindful Nation Foundation, a brainchild of Congressman Tim Ryan, author of A Mindful Nation, a guidebook to building a more resilient society. This was something that I couldn’t even have dreamed of. I always felt that I may never see the fruits of my labor in my lifetime, but thanks to this collaboration, I feel it is within the realm of possibility.
- This last incident is yet another instance of letting go and letting magic happen. I was scheduled to attend a conference along with a guest in San Jose in May this year. We had both purchased non-refundable tickets and he had reserved his hotel through Priceline.com. A few weeks before the conference date, I got to know that the Dalai Lama was coming to speak in Maryland, about 4.5 hour drive from my home. He was on my bucket list and I wanted to go see him badly. Unfortunately, all the tickets (free), were already distributed and there were none available. I tried various avenues to get tickets, in vain. In addition, even if I were to get tickets, my flight back from California to Pittsburgh was landing only at midnight and I needed to be in Maryland by 7:30 AM, a tough proposition.The night before my trip to San Jose, I was packing and looked for my registration to the conference and couldn’t find it. I checked my mail, my emails and painfully realized that I never clicked the link to register for the conference. In a state of panic, I called and emailed the organizers to see if we could still attend. Long story short, they told us we could not but allowed us to register for the September dates. Given that we had non-refundable tickets, I cajoled and pleaded, but did not succeed. So, finally at 11 PM, I threw in the towel and accepted the potential loss of $750.
Having let go, I called United to change my ticket and to my surprise, the agent changed my ticket to the September dates at no charge. To add to the surprise, my guest David’s Priceline hotel reservation was also moved and his airline ticket was re-booked by Southwest and he received a $50 refund voucher as the fare had reduced. Have any of you heard of such benevolence these days?
Now, to truly underscore my point — I was sitting at the breakfast table the next morning with nothing to do and nowhere to go and the FedEx man showed up at the door. It was an overnight package from the president of the University of Maryland with two tickets and a parking pass to go hear the Dalai Lama.
Ladies and gentlemen, these are all true stories and the two recent ones have happened in just the last six months to help me fully acknowledge and accept the power greater than me in the universe.
Peace and best wishes,
Up Next: Glass Half Full or Glass Half Empty?