Last Saturday, I had the opportunity to speak at a conference in LA called SureFire Girls. It was a day for high school girls to feel empowered, to be their best self and to know that they in fact are going to be “SureFire!” in their lives. I was speaking at the parallel conference for mothers (other speakers included Randi Zuckerberg and Betti DeGeneres) on Mindful Parenting – how to develop your own mindfulness practice while simultaneously acknowledging your child’s own sovereign nature and parenting to who your child actually is, versus who you think they are or who you want them to be.
Speaking at this conference continued to legitimize the work I've been doing in the mindfulness field: It gave me impetus to get my website developed (even though I’ve been needing one for a while now); I created these beautiful Take a Mindful Minute booklets which have mindfulness reflections and practices for both teenagers and parents; and my “business trip” complete with sitting in the airport restaurant with my laptop, eating a surprisingly good salad, while writing an article about having an Attitude of Gratitude for the local paper that will come out near Thanksgiving. I felt SureFire!
The morning of the conference, I wake up in my hotel room and begin my day with my morning ritual. I start off setting an intention for the day, doing some yoga and, of course, a short meditation complete with my daily metta (lovingkindness) practice telling myself the affirming words that I need to hear. I am feeling good. I am feeling confident. I am feeling SureFire!
After my shower I put on my trendy new black, white and gray patterned wrap around dress, adorn the perfect jewelry (my “karma” necklace and my sparkly Buddha bracelet) and my tall, high heeled black boots. I look and feel fantastic! I am ready to inspire these mothers with my wisdom and I now absolutely look SureFire! And then, after another moment looking in the mirror right before I grab my Coach briefcase (which is actually not a briefcase, but a diaper bag – I like it for all the compartments it has!) I realize something is definitely not right…my new perfect black, white and gray wrap around dress is perfectly see-through! Yup, taking a spin around, you can clearly see right through it. I am supposed to be at the conference in 30 minutes, have not yet gotten my tea, toast and fruit, I still need to call for a cab and now I am not feeling so SureFire!
I make my way down to the restaurant, strategically holding my bags and find a female waitress. I call her over, tell her I need a girl to talk to, and then I turn around and ask her to confirm my fears. “Uh huh,” she replies, “but it’s really only bad if you stand in the sunlight.” I ask her, “So, you think that means when I’m up on stage in front of hundreds of people, that light will make my dress see-through too?” “Uh huh,” she replies. I thank her, get my tea, toast and fruit, call for the cab and wait in the shadows of the dark lobby for it to arrive. Definitely not feeling so SureFire.
Cabbie comes, and I tell him I need to be at the Santa Monica Art Institute in 10 minutes, but that we need to make a small stop along the way. I need to find a drug store so I can buy some tights. As the meter is still running, I run into RiteAid, scope the pantyhose aisle and find a pair of black opaque tights with control top, which I'm hoping will solve my transparency issue. Okay, all is looking up, except for feeling a little tacky that while on my way to a conference, I’m sitting in the back of a cab, trying to balance my tea from not spilling, pulling off my high heeled boots, and slipping into my new, $5.99 black opaque control top tights, all the while hoping that my cabbie with an indistinguishable accent isn’t catching any sneak peeks through the rear–view mirror. When I finally put myself back together again, I have three minutes to spare and luckily have the wisdom to laugh about how funny that little detour was.
Life is always going to have detours, bumps in the road, unexpected curves, and yes, see–through dresses on the mornings of conferences. All of those deviations are inevitable. But how we handle them, well, that is where our wisdom, grace, patience and acceptance come into play. There is no irony that I was on my way to speak about mindfulness – the practice of giving space to allow whatever is going to arise to arise, without judgment, and with the knowledge that my path is unfolding exactly as it should – when my transparent dress mishap, gave me an opportunity to put my mindfulness tools into practice. I very well could have freaked out and seen this wardrobe malfunction as a sign of my potentially doomed and ineffectual pending talk. But rather, I took a few deeps breaths, brought myself back into the moment and proceeded to respond to the situation at hand without a dramatic overblown reaction. I was beginning to remember that I am SureFire!
And, as it turns out, my black opaque control top tights really completed my fantastic outfit. I probably had at least a half a dozen women come up to me during the conference, give me the up–and–down and tell me how great I looked. (Those, of course, were in addition to the mothers who came to me in tears about how I just changed their lives with my wisdom and how happy they are that they came today and were able to hear me talk.) To only a few of them did I share my tales of transparency, befriending and entrusting my waitress and allowing my cabbie in on few intimate secrets. It didn’t matter. I was definitely SureFire!