For many years, I have seen a psychologist on a regular basis. I started seeing Nancy regarding issues with my son, shortly before I began working the Twelve Steps. As the Steps began to focus my attention on me, I continued to see her regarding issues with myself. We all have them, whether we call them idiosyncrasies, defects of character or minor manifestations of mental illness. Many people in Twelve Step programs say once they found the program, they didn’t need to pay for therapy any more. Nancy told me early on that therapy and working the Steps was a good combination, and I would agree. Together they bring awareness and growth that is born of the synergy between them. Talking with Nancy gives me a perspective on my life that I don’t think I would have any other way.
Two weeks ago, I missed my appointment. I am a busy, somewhat scattered old goat, so it’s not the first time. I usually realize when I’ve forgotten when I see a message from her on my cell phone or when I belatedly look at my calendar. I call her back, asking for some alternatives for a make-up appointment. Last week, I missed the makeup appointment. One forgetfulness is one thing but at my age, two in a row … for the same event, even … starts me wondering if I’m on the on-ramp of the Senility Super-highway. So, this week I was bound and determined not to forget my second make-up appointment. I arrived early and pushed the button announcing my arrival. Nancy opened the door with a surprised look and said, Your appointment isn’t until next week, Frank. Embarrassed, I asked if I could just sit in her waiting room for a week to be sure I didn’t miss it.
With two hours suddenly at my disposal, I drove to nearby Craig Park. Craig Park is one of my old haunts. Until I retired from Big Industry, it was my enclave, a place where I wrote my Morning Pages and meditated every morning on my way to work at Hughes Aircraft Company. I was much more disciplined … more conscientious … about my spiritual practices back then. I think that in most people … and certainly in this one … success leads to complacency. I believe there are sacred places that have a special spiritual power for each of us. This spot is one of mine.
Sitting here, watching the reflections of the walkers across the lake, I feel a connection to the mindfulness I learned here so many years ago. I can even believe that I ended up here today not through forgetfulness but courtesy of synchronicity, a coincidence that isn’t a coincidence at all. I may find my way to that Senility Super-highway yet before I depart this world but for now, I just need to get my head where my feet are. OK, you’re right, that would look weird. How about five feet six inches above where my feet are? Now, if I can just remember my appointment next week.