When Losing is Winning

unnamed-50I’m watching the sun rise out of the big bay window in our delightful front sitting room. The houses across the street take the shape of cottages from a Dicken’s village in the silhouette of the morning light. I’m updating my calendar on Google calendar for the past week. I’m not sure if we had more on our schedule while we were still in Paris at the beginning of the week or if we’ve had more in the days that have followed since we have returned. It’s probably a tie. It really doesn’t matter.

It’s unimaginable to me that it is only a week since we woke up last Monday morning in Chartres, France after spending Easter weekend delivering our dear friend Richard to his final rest. It’s also unbelievable to me how little I was able to rest until that task had been carried out. I probably should have returned from our journey and done little more than work eight hours a day sleep the other 16 hours just to get caught up. Those who know me well are probably chuckling under their collective breaths knowing the likelihood of that outcome.

Since we have returned home I have had one groundbreaking therapy session. I’ve conducted a couple of client coaching sessions. I’ve worked three shifts at Joe’s. I’ve taught two yoga classes and taken three. I’ve gone to an open mic storytelling show and told an old story. We’ve attended a dear friend’s birthday dinner in the suburbs. Christiana and I have been missing our 24/7 that we get to enjoy while on our journeys. On Friday night though we finally got to see each other again. Amazing that a husband and wife who live together can sometimes go days without being awake in the same space. This will change sooner rather than later.

On Friday night though we had a big night out planned with dinner at a French restaurant to rekindle the Paris flare and then tickets to Book of Mormon! Let’s just say that in both cases the bar we had set in our minds was higher than the experiences were capable of delivering. I’m not sure if the blame for that is in the experiences themselves, or in our expectations. Perhaps a little bit of both. I guess when you’ve just come out of experiences like we had in France that were so rich that every nerve ending in your body and soul tingles with scintillating joy and sorrow, there is the possibility that the drop off creates an opportunity for the daily life to seem a bit Disneyfied.

Yesterday we capped of our week by attending the Toastmasters District 30 International Speech Contest Finals. Through a few strokes of good luck and a little hard work I was competing in the contest. Before we left I put my note on the vision board that said I was so grateful for winning the Toastmasters District finals same as I did in each of the other rounds. I didn’t win. I actually came in third place. The level of skill at the competition opened my eyes to how much further out there I need to push the bar as six month rookie Toastmaster. It also made me realize that the place I’m at on the path right now is perfectly fine.

As we left the contest on a glorious Spring evening I had such an uplifted feeling. Many veteran Toastmasters came up to me after the contest and congratulated me and told me how impressed they were with my speech. Christiana said there was an audible gasp from the audience during my interview when I said I joined Toastmasters only six months ago. Mostly I was just happy to have Christiana at my side. See our work schedules had her miss the previous rounds of the competition. I told her that I was happier to not win with her at my side than to win with her not there. This was not lip service. It’s the bottom of my heart truth. There’s another reason though that I’m perfectly content with my third place finish. It creates another opportunity for me to let go of something.

This contest along with our journey to France has taken up so much brain space in the past few months that at times I couldn’t recognize how little space was left for me. How little space was left for Christiana. How little space was left for the all the other new things that are flowing into our lives in this avalanche of abundance. In the end this third place finish is a gift from the Universe. A gift that I/we will get to continue to unwrap again and again everyday as we discover the magical serendipities in our daily travels.

Like the blogpost I wrote halfway through the Paris/Chartres trip, I continue to try to Level Off. Many of you have seen the speech I used in this speech contest. For those of you who have not, it’s a speech about Magical Serendipities and the final words of the speech are:

“Are you willing to open your eyes?”

Isn’t it amazing I could practice that speech hundreds of times and deliver it at least half a dozen before I was truly able to hear the message myself? So I’m grateful for my third place finish. I’m grateful for the lessons I’ve learned along the way. I’m grateful to have my wife and all my family and friends from the many various tribes in my life along my side. I’m grateful for the sunrise in my delightful front sitting room. I’m grateful for continuing to learn how to open my eyes further. I’m grateful that in not winning this contest, I actually won another skirmish in the battle of letting go…

 

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About Jim Herbert

I've been wanting to write my whole life. By age 45 it had amounted to nothing more than a storage locker of half full journals and a lot of unfulfilled dreams. Then Paris in the fall of 2011 happened. It was the catalyst I needed to consistently blog. At first I had a hard time hitting the publish button, but now two blog sites and over 300 posts later I'm hitting my stride. I'm also a budding speech writer. I've recently been heavily involved in the Chicago Storytelling scene and have also won the Chicago Toastmasters Area 66 International Speech Contest. Check out our website at www.emergingintojoy.com for more details about the amazing things that are happening in my life. A book or two are nearing completion. With another Paris trip on tap for Easter of 2015 I can only imagine that there are Infinite Possibilities on the horizon!!!
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