Last weekend this Irish man with a golden heart taught me a lesson.
It was a reminder really, of a lesson I’ve already learned.
It’s about putting people 1st, putting connection first & being in the moment.
Here’s the story…
I met Gerry Brady in June 2010 at an Art of Mentoring in England. Gerry is an old friend of Jon Young, the founder of Wilderness Awareness School. I liked Gerry from the very beginning. He was funny, charming, kind, and a little dirty — just my kind of man! Oh, and I did I mention? He’s a musician and has an encyclopedic knowledge of songs and how they relate to Ireland!
From the beginning I could see that Gerry was invested in helping other people make music and feel comfortable doing so. In Ireland, almost everyone sings, even if they aren’t very good. Music is in their blood and it comes out naturally! Gerry is a fine representative of this.
Anyway, last weekend my friend John texted me. Gerry was in town, at SEA-TAC airport on a 3 hour layover and did I want to go and hang out with him? My immediate reaction was YES! When I realized that I couldn’t carpool with John to get there, my reservations came up. Context: It takes about 45-60 minutes to get to the airport, and that’s a one way journey! Here’s what my mind did:
“Oh, it’s sooooo far! And I can’t really afford the gas money. And I was going to go for a long walk and do some work for Kamana.org. I was content with my plan for my afternoon and now this thing has come up that’s making me uncomfortable. But I should go. But I can’t, I just can’t. I can’t afford it.”
Then, something shifted. I remembered how when I was in Ireland Gerry came to the Dublin airport to pick me up and waited for hours when my plane was late and then my baggage delayed. And I remembered how he drove me around Dublin and took me to the sea and out to dinner. And I thought, “F$%* It! I’m going! I don’t care if I can’t afford it.”
So, with a little trepidation, but definite determination I popped in my car and zoomed on down the windy roads to the airport. And I’m glad I went. Because it was fun. And because when I left I felt better than when I arrived.
You see, in Ireland I learned that going with the flow of the moment often lead to amazing adventures and connections that otherwise would not have occurred. Every time I return home from a 30 day + trip I promise myself that I will incorporate this lesson into my daily life. And every time I struggle. There’s something about being home and getting into a groove, a routine, a rut. Then, when a cool opportunity comes up it seems to hiccup against my routine and often causes me discomfort! But as I’ve been shown again and again, where there is discomfort there also lives potential.
Gerry Brady is a funny man. It is partly his thick Dublin accent that I still struggle to understand. But it is also his wit. Every country has it’s colloquialisms. But it’s as if Gerry has a string of his own. One of my favorites from my time with him at the airport is the title of this post, if you can’t convince them, confuse them. He used it to describe his interaction with an American police officer. In a borrowed convertible, Gerry was sightseeing along the California coast, speeding. He was pulled over. The officer began questioning him, thought he’d been drinking and made him do some sobriety tests. At one point he moved a pencil back and forth in front of Gerry and he told him to follow it. Gerry’s entire head moved. When the police officer said, “Stop moving your head!” Gerry’s response was, “Well, stop moving the pencil!” Only a 71-year old Irish man could talk to an American police officer like that get away with it! By the way, the officer didn’t ticket him. His situation was too confusing (hence the phrase).
So, have you ever had the traveling eyes? Have you ever been on a journey long enough that life took on a different flow than ever before and you were forever changed? And have you had the experience of coming home and working to integrate your travelin’ lessons into your day to day life? Please, share your stories below. Let’s learn from one another.