That Uneasy Queasy Feeling

Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

Sitting at a table for four in the crowded lunch hour open dining room, I momentarily felt like I could throw up on the table. It wasn’t the food or drink, we didn’t have any. I was at the restaurant to meet with the caterer who will be serving at our education fundraising event, along with another committee member.

The caterer asked what our RSVP date was, rightfully needing to know how much time they’d have to prepare for the correct number of guests. “Oh, I can look that up — I’ve got a PDF of the invite and RSVP card on my phone,” I said. I was in charge of working with the graphic designer for our print materials.

It took me a minute — old eyes, tiny screen, so many little boxes! When the RSVP card opened, my heart rose up toward my throat. “September 28th,” I said while masking my horror at the year on the card — 2017.

Ummmmm 2017 was — last year!

grrrrrr! I’d given approval for printing the materials last week. The one small job I’d been put in charge of I’d messed up. Great. Now how am I going to handle this one?

My mind was gone from the meeting with the caterer — tomatoes and cheese on sticks, we’ll supply our own drinkware, table linen colors? The whole conversation was a blur because all I could think of was my error and how I was going to save face.

Meeting adjourned, I went directly to my car, opened my email and sent a carefully worded message to both the graphic designer and her project manager who was in charge of printing. I know I approved, I take full responsibility, It never hurts to ask, Is there any way we can have this fixed…

I’ll save you the details, but I didn’t know until our entire committee met last night to stuff envelopes that the correct year would be on the RSVP cards.

For three days, I did battle with my own mind. Even though I knew that in the scheme of life this mistake was minuscule and of little significance, I could not stop myself from perseverating.

Why is that?

I recently read The Rise by Sarah Lewis, a book highlighting the necessity of failure. For three days I pulled one reference after another from the book to beat down my completely irrational fear/disappointment in myself.

I thought if the wrong date was on the cards I could charm the group with humor:

You’ve tried your best and failed miserably. The lesson is: never try. ~Homer Simpson

Or, I could tell them the story of Sara Blakely, the inventor of Spanx. Every night at dinner her father asked her and her brother what they’d failed at that day. Failure is a precursor to progress.

Or, to make it more personal, I could tell them of the medical emergency I witnessed on a recent flight diverted for a quick landing. See? A little mistake like 2017 instead of 2018 is no big deal, right?

Storytellers have lots of tricks up their sleeves. ;)

If all else failed and the group turned on me, I could always pull out a quote from Martin Luther King Jr.:

Once I’d made my peace with death, I could make my peace with all else.

Nonsense — this was all an exercise in nonsense because when I arrived to stuff envelopes, I found that both versions of the RSVP cards were on the table. The wrong ones were easily whisked aside and our group got busy sliding cards into envelopes. Might I add that these are kind and generous people I am working with — which I knew all along.

Not one single word was uttered about my mistake. I’d created a hungry lion where one did not exist. And even though for three days I knew this was the case — corrected RSVP card or not — it was still fascinating to watch my mind at work.

I’ve recently read two articles that supplement my story. The first by Hazel Gale who discusses reality and our limiting illusions here. The second is from The Book of Life Newsletter and it discusses how experiences from our past trigger our current actions/reactions. Find it here.

Take a deep breath, smile, every little thing is gonna be all right. Most of us don’t live anywhere near a hungry lion.

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https://bornfree.substack.com

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Gail Boenning

Gail Boenning

https://bornfree.substack.com

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