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Lost and Found

Sometimes it’s really hard to forgive oneself for unconscious behavioral patterns, such as losing valuables like jewelry, documents, or electronic devices. Things that we are convinced are necessary for us to function. During a recent trip overseas, I lost my iPad twice. Unbelievably, it happened twice in the same airport, both coming and going, the two incidents a week apart.

When we landed in Warsaw to get our connecting flight to Gdansk, I couldn’t locate my iPad. I went over and over it in my head. I must have missed it when I got off the plane. With the help of family fluent in Polish, we located it a few days later. Turns out I had left it on the plane. It was at the Warsaw Airport Lost and Found. I’d pick it up when we came back through that terminal a week later. A random setback I’d survive.

On the first day without the precious iPad, I was discombobulated. Thank goodness I didn’t keep any personal or security information on it, and it’s not essential like a phone or laptop, but as the week progressed my unhealthy attachment to that iPad weakened. I realized how I had gotten used to being able to get all sorts of media feeds, flooding onto it instantly and endlessly; thank you Wifi and broadband and legions of content creators. My fodder were TV shows, the news, the weather, feel-good stories, feel-bad stories, murders, scandals, tips on good reads and better movies, and feedback or data for any random Google question I could pose. Totally distracting and nonessential. Getting those endorphins aroused in my human brain. Totally addictive. Dx: Subject blissfully unconscious of her media dependency needs.

After a few days of media abstinence, it occurred to me I could live perfectly well without its lurking presence. After all, we were in Poland. I engaged with others, immersed in the abundant universe all around me. Family, food, beautiful beaches, shoreline views, a medieval castle, fascinating museums, boats and barges on canals throughout the city, hikes through forests with lakes and rivers, and sacred grounds. The week flew by quickly. A week unencumbered. A true vacation.

It was soon time to leave. We flew back to Warsaw. Found our way to the Lost and Found. The iPad was there waiting for me. I had to go back through security with it but then I spent a blissful hour in the airport looking at all my feeds and shows and junk, forgetting about what a waste of time it really was and how it took me away from other things like meditating, writing, walking and talking with family and friends, productive work, getting in the zone. I didn’t care, as I had my little distractor monkey back with me.
Finally, our plane, delayed a few times because of stormy weather, was ready for take-off. I packed up everything, or so I thought. I was so filled up with thoughts of my wonderful week that I never even looked in my bags but somehow my iPad, once again, had gotten away from me. Did I leave it at the Warsaw airport? Did somebody steal it? Did the security people take it?

Back home I spent the week trying to locate it through emails, texts, and fruitless phone calls. LAX said that people lose 5000 to 7000 things a year coming and going, creating warehouses full of useless gadgets, marketed as essentials, but really only feeding our slavish devotion to them. As the days passed I realized I had to let that iPad go. Maybe the loss was intentional. Maybe forces beyond my conscious control, like my unconscious mind, my spiritual being, and my spirit guides were waving a red flag, signaling me that I ‘d wasted enough time playing endless rounds of solitaire. Maybe the spirits of my ancient Polish ancestors had waylaid me right there.

I heard the voice of my former spiritual teacher saying, “Sometimes if we don’t listen to what our higher selves are telling us, we may metaphorically get hit in the head by a two-by-four.” My toy was taken away. Twice. That shocked me. It was that knock on my head that woke me up. Finally.

As I relaxed into the reality of what had happened it dawned on me that I’d gotten the whole saga backwards. That little small voice that I hadn’t been listening to, drowned out in my quest for self-vindication and instant gratification, now got my attention. Maybe my media addiction had to be quelled, controlled, dispelled, and brought to my conscious attention. Self-regulation doesn’t really work if you forget to turn it on.

Thanks, Spirit for the most memorable of reminders. I don’t need to escape from the world. I need to embrace that which is around me. So, I was the one who was lost. Now I'm found. It was a wake-up call, from spirit, not my electronic devices. Be in the world but don’t get too caught up in its travails. For this experience leading to a life insight, I am very grateful.

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