Seeing the Light (The Power of Giving Up)

The long-awaited sunshine and warmth coaxed my bike out of the shed and we were off for the first ride of the season. I rode a few miles over to Vermont to drop off some mail and on the return home, I passed the coordinates for the geocache named Red Rocks.

Red Rocks and I have a history spanning a couple years. In four previous attempts to find the cache I’d walked away skunked.

(Geocaching is a “treasure” hunt. There’s an online community of people who hide boxes or vials in the woods, sometimes with small prizes inside, sometimes just a log to sign. You use a GPS to locate the cache. A fun little hobby.)

Now, I don’t like not finding things and this is the only geocache to date that I’d failed to find. The location sits within a mile of my home, just off the road, and so for the past two years every time I’d drive by the site, I’d be thinking about how this treasure continued to elude me.

I hopped off my bike and trekked into the general area. I pulled out my phone (there’s a sweet app) and started following the compass to where it was telling me the cache was hidden. All ground I’d covered before.

The location is called Red Rocks because it sits on a creek surrounded by red slate. The site is difficult to reach in winter with the snowpack and the icy rocks make dropping 5 feet into the creek a real possibility. In the summer the adjoining field becomes an impenetrable corn maze. So if I didn’t find it on this visit, I’d likely be waiting until fall.

And again, after 15 minutes of searching, I found nothing but a woodchuck burrow and a Snapple bottle.

This thing has to have disappeared, I thought. I could not have missed it all these times.

The app lets people who found the cache previously sign a log book, and so I checked it to see the last time it was found.

October. Hmmmn. Probably still here then.

Oh, and there was a clue… something about how the last person couldn’t find it either until they “saw the light.” Based on the time and date when they found the cache, I tried to estimate where the sun would have been at looked in that direction, but no, nothing. I felt the familiar frustration of not being able to figure something out.

My GPS told me I was within 3 feet of the cache, and yet I was still standing in the field, on the edge of where all the hiding places would be (the trees, rocks, and creek bed).

I decided to ignore the machine and just explore. Immediately a picker bush bit into my naked legs and a vine nearly tripped me right into the creek.

Fuck this, I thought. I’m done. El churcho.

For the first time in two years of looking, I completely gave up. For real.

Yes, this would be a black hole on my resume. A mark on my permanent record. My shame. Red Rocks Geocache 5, Drew 0.

I began to head toward my bike, my intuition guiding me to take a new route through some still leafless saplings.

And you know what happened next.

seeing the light.

I saw the light.

The tiny plastic flashlight, hanging from a wire.

I connected to the awesome power of giving up. I connected to the awesome power of dropping my resistance (to NOT being able to have something I wanted). And certainly, I connected to the awesome power of instant manifestation.

On the face of it, my treasure was a tiny scroll of paper that looked as though it had gone through the washing machine. Worthless in many respects.

But for me, remembering the awesome power of letting go and seeing my desires manifest instantly?

That’s a treasure.

 

(P.S. For reasons unknown to me, I found the cache about 25 feet from where my GPS was telling me it was hidden. That ends up being a large search area.)

(P.P.S. I wrote a whole book about this subject and you might like it.)

Beauty and The Black Album

The Beatles' Black Album
The Beatles’ Black Album

Karin and I were waist-deep in kid-wrangling, trying to get everyone packed up for the day, out the door, and buckled up in the car. The kids were screaming at each other about who got the black spoon or something and so I started yelling too.

Not how I drew things up, but life seldom is.

With everyone loaded (and still crying and fighting), just as I was about to depart I remembered the CDs…

Inspired from a scene from the movie Boyhood, my friend Ted created a 3CD set of “The Black Album” — a collection of the Beatles’ solo efforts.

I ran down to my office, grabbed the discs and we were off to the opening notes of Band on The Run.

 

“I don’t like this!” Alex snorted immediately. “Too slow!”

It builds, Alex, it builds, I assured him. (I’ve been raising him to rock).

He seemed to relax when the guitar part kicked in…

“If I ever get outta here… thought of giving it all away… to a registered charity…”

I certainly felt better about the day with McCartney riding shotgun. The music sounded crisp through my wife’s sound system, the kids settled in, and I noticed the sun fighting its way through the spring clouds.

Things were going to be okay.

 

Next up in the playlist, The Dark Horse. George. My Sweet Lord.

 

The sounds filled the car like a concert hall.

Alex had both his hands clasped behind his head. My kids were calm. Content.

They listened to the music.

 

In the rearview mirror I could see them connecting to the music, thinking about the words and sounds…

Seeing them experience one of the greatest pleasure in my life — actively listening to such great music —  combined with the Hallelujahs from My Sweet Lord, the hot tears started running down my cheeks.

I wiped them away as I dropped Ella off at her school, and they returned for the next 20 minutes of our ride as John shared his remorse at being a real dick to his wife sometimes, George reminded me to let it all go to be happy, Paul gave thanks for having Linda support him when he was in the middle of somethin’ that he really didn’t understand, and Ringo was just so Ringo.

(For me, the brilliance of this Black Album is that you hear the lads from Liverpool as fully expressed individuals. I found myself thinking about how great it was that they broke up so that they could create something new, something true to themselves. They were The Beatles, yes. And yet they were more than that.)

This was an “American Beauty” moment for me — so much beauty coming in all at once that I thought my heart would burst. And like Ricky Fitts videotaped to remember, I write this to remember.

Before dropping Alex off, I checked my eyes.

They were fine.

The tears had washed them clean.

 

The Power of Being Selfish: Michael Dean’s Mom

Excerpt from The Drewsletter

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If you’ve read my books or blog posts for any time, you know that I am a strong advocate of the power of being selfish.

Certainly “selfish” is a label that most of us bristle at, usually because it’s been used as a weapon against us at some point. The potential shame of calling us selfish silently drives a great deal of human behavior.

Instead of taking the reigns of your life by following what feels better and trusting that this is the only path that leads to true happiness (instead of seething martyrdom), there’s a tendency to allow the preferences of others to dictate your choices.

In writing my book Let It Go, I discovered Oscar Wilde’s brilliant definition of selfishness:

“Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.”

***

IMG_2678
beach

 

My family just returned from a beach vacation in Florida.

As soon as the kids were up and fed, my family walked to the beach. A little boy named Michael Dean walked up to my son, wanting to play. I looked around for his parents and spotted his mom a hundred yards down the beach doing yoga.

Michael Dean was the same age as my son (4), so my first thought was to project my fears onto the situation.

I wouldn’t let Alex that far out of my sight on the beach…

One big wave is all it would take…

As the kids played together, I kept looking over at the mom to see if she noticed where her son was. I never saw her looking at her boy or acknowledge that my wife and I were acting as her de facto babysitters.

Nope. She was too focused on her damn warrior pose form to care about us.

 

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