• Saturday, July 20, 2024
businessday logo


Of interruptions in the New Year…


Like most people, I’ve got two mobile phones. Both defend me against network interruptions.

Even though the yellow one is my primary one, the red one is still very dear to my heart. You can imagine how unhappy I was when I couldn’t find my red one during the holidays.

Eventually, I ended up saying a prayer that I remember exactly where I had left it. As if that was not enough, my car keys also went missing. I was distraught when I couldn’t reach my car keys the next day. Being African, I was so sure the universe was ganging up against me. I told my children and their guests to search for my missing phone.

I gave them an instruction to search everywhere-literally, within ten minutes they had found my Samsung phone! I was so delighted and momentarily forgot my current search. I couldn’t help reflecting on how one major interruption had led to a solution for a standing problem.

I quickly recalled how many interruptions I had had last year and how much I had grumbled whilst in the situation only to glean some benefits from the interruptions.

In 2014, who didn’t experience a flight delay, mechanical problem, cancelled flight, traffic jam or, having had to wait on a long queue at the till? I am sure we must have encountered either of these in 2014. They could appear as nuisance. They could interfere with the best laid plans. They were serious pain.

Well, of course, that’s one way to look at them. But there might be another, suggests Mark Nepo in his wonderful The Book of Awakening. Maybe these delays and interruptions that interfere with and disrupt our very important schedules, instead of being life’s little and frustrating interruptions, maybe they are divine interventions,  nature’s invitation to pause…to slow down…to pay attention…to reflect.

This year, my friend, perhaps you can practice viewing every delay, every interruption, even traffic jam or even the wait at the restaurant for a table differently. Perhaps you should consider entering the flow and instead of reacting, you slowed down? You paused? You paid attention to your surroundings? You entered into the moment? What would happen? Here are the ways life’s interruptions help you according to Dr. Steve McSwain …

They offer you the opportunity to actually slow down.  And, who of us would not benefit from this? See if you can feel your heart beating. Observe your breathing. Use this delay as an opportunity to dial-down the frenetic pace of your life. See what happens. Life’s little interruptions are portals into the present moment. The main reason you and I so often feel disconnected from life is because we are disconnected from NOW! We’re thinking about where we’re going, what we have to do, the activities of the day. Or, we are remembering the past, the argument we just had with our spouse, the employee with whom we had a disagreement the day before…the…Well, you get the point. What if, when you catch yourself today racing about, running here and there, preoccupied with all the important, earth-shattering stuff of your life…what if…when the interruption comes – and, it is likely to come – what if you viewed it as an opportunity to enter into the portal of this present moment?3. Life’s delays can be occasions to connect with others. I was reminded of this on a recent flight through Atlanta. Unanticipated harsh weather literally shut down the busiest airport in the world. Flights were cancelled by the hundreds. Passengers were stranded and I was among them.Such occasions can be opportunities to complain, gripe, fuss, and fume and there was plenty of that to go around. But they can also be opportunities to engage… …to make new friends…to connect with others. And, in the end, my friend, what could be more important than this?4. Here’s the fourth thing to remember about life’s interruptions: they are Divine reminders that you dont control everything.  That we each are mortals, unable to control everything or everyone.

So, next time you see the red rear lights on the cars ahead of you all brighten and you quickly discover he is slowing down to a near stop with traffic, instead of reacting…reeling inside…Instead of responding with curses and cries of frustration…Pause for a moment and think of look for the good in the situation, you may not find an immediate answer, but there will be an answer none the less.

Have an extraordinary 2015.

Nkiru Olumide-Ojo