Every now and then the Universe smacks me on the wrist for being stupid.
And as I become more spiritually aware, those smacks become swifter, and they sting more.
I got a smack yesterday, traveling back from Winton, in central Queensland, where I attended the Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival – where PGS played.
What happened was this: When I went to check in at Longreach airport, the Qantas check-in lady insisted she weigh my carry-on. Carry-on is meant to be only 7kgs – mine weighed 14kg.
I mean, who has carry-on weighing only 7kg?
Sales reps selling Kleenex?
I had my laptop and iPad and Kindle and all my chargers and cables and clothes and toiletries for four days away. It was a wonder it was only 14kg.
Anyway, this airline lady insisted I couldn’t take my carry-on onto the plane. She wanted to check it through to Sydney. I didn’t like that idea. But she was adamant. So I took out my laptop, my iPad, and my Kindle, and grumbling, I boarded the plane.
I wasn’t happy.
I never check through my carry-on.
My carry-on has all those little things I like to have with me.
Like my chargers and cables and my little Ganesha.
And my dental floss.
On the flight I realised that I hadn’t taken out my car keys.
My car keys were in my carry-on.
I started to panic. What if my bag didn’t arrive in Sydney. Then I couldn’t drive home. And with my car keys were the house keys, and keys to my post boxes… and my Aldi token so that I can get trolleys when I do my shopping.
But my car keys were the big deal.
And bags go missing all the time. I’ve traveled regularly for over 40years, and I’ve never lost a bag in the thousands of flights I’ve taken, but I’ve heard that it happens. And as my flight progressed I became convinced that on this occasion, it would happen to me.
The airline would lose my bag.
I had two hours turn around between flights. And the check-in lady had adorned my bag with a very prominent transfer tag – but even so, baggage handlers are notoriously blind to these things, and with two hours between flights there was plenty of time for it to get lost.
On the flight from Brisbane to Sydney I began to curse that fastidious check-in lady. My laptop had run out of power because I didn’t have my charger. My phone had got down to 48% battery and I didn’t have a cable to charge it in the plane’s USB.
48% battery was enough to see me through to home, but if I couldn’t get home because I couldn’t drive my car because I didn’t have my keys because the airline lost my bag because the check-in lady hadn’t let me take my carry-on onto the flight, well then I would have no battery left on my phone and I’d be really stuffed.
The plane landed and I walked with a sense of dread to baggage claim. Because I’d become convinced that my bag was lost. That it wouldn’t be on the baggage carousel. Even though it had one of those fancy Qantas e-tags. Even though it had that gaudy transfer tag. Even though in my pocket I had the baggage claim ticket.
I waited at the carousel and I watched everyone pick up their bags. I watched closely in case someone mistakenly picked up mine. My bag was a nondescript black Samsonite. These things can happen. In the thousands of flights that I’ve taken, and the thousands of times I’ve waited at baggage carousels, it’s never happened to me, that someone has mistakenly taken my luggage, but I’ve heard that it has happened to others.
The bags stopped coming. Everyone picked up their bags and suitcases. There was no sign of mine. And then that moment of absolute dread happened – that moment that sickens travellers such as myself. The carousel stops, and still you don’t have your bag.
I didn’t have my bag.
Now, being a Highly Evolved Spiritual Being, which is what I humbly consider myself to be, I didn’t at that moment curse the check-in lady. Formerly, before I became a HESB, I would have – but yesterday I didn’t. And I marked the moment as yet another indication that I had indeed become a HESB.
I calmly walked down to lost baggage and began to fill in a report. Graciously. I didn’t rant. I didn’t rave. I did show signs of distress, admittedly, but that was to be expected, given the circumstances.
And then a lady poked her head out of the lost baggage office. Is your name Bennett? she asked me. I said yes. Well your bag is on carousel 4, she said. It got put onto the wrong carousel by mistake. Sorry.
I walked back to carousel 4, and there was my bag.
So what happened? Why did everyone else on that flight get their bag as they should have, but not me?
Because the Universe was giving me a slap on the wrist.
Because I had embraced fear.
Fear of loss.
What happened was the Universe said Okay Bill, if you want to drop down into fear, we’ll give you what you want. You want your bag to get lost? We’ll lose your bag. We’ll give you what you want.
But the Universe isn’t mean and nasty. It had made its point – then it gave me my bag.
As I trundled it back to the car in the parking garage, I told this theory to Jennifer. Nah, she said. I waited at that carousel and I put out to the Universe that the bag wasn’t lost, that everything was perfect, and it would turn up. And that’s what happened, she said.
I got my slap on the wrist –
from the Universe,
and from Jennifer….
I still have some way to go to become a fully realised HESB.