Saturday night I was doing a dinner party in Brookhaven area. While doing our set up check list, I noticed we had forgotten to bring the blood orange vinaigrette to dress the salads. I still had time before the start of the dinner, so I told the girls to get the apps ready and I would go to the store and buy some dressing to make a replacement. I had no hope of finding a blood orange vin, but I did find a citrus vin that would make a good substitution. I paid at the self checkout lane and while I was checking out S. returned a call I had made to her earlier. Distracted by the phone and the scheduling, I picked up my bag and walked off, leaving my wallet lying on the self checkout terminal.
I almost never, ever, do this. I’m very conscious about where my wallet is, because it has everything in it; driver’s license, credit cards, debit card, business cards, company cc, stuff to my professional and personal business with, and, on this occasion, about $400 in cash. I always carry some cash, but I had the girl’s money for helping with the event.
It took me about 8 minutes to notice I’d lost the wallet, and then I wasn’t 100% sure where I’d lost it. I went back to the Kroger and interrogated the cashier watching over the self checkout lanes. She remembered me, but had not found a wallet or had one turned in. I spent a few minutes looking around the checkout register, the parking lot, and my vehicle. Then I had to go back and attend to the party. S. came by and I had her follow back over my tracks, re-interrogating the cashier, and asking the manager to look at the video tapes. It was indistinct as to whether or not I walked away with my wallet or not. For all intents and purposes, the wallet was gone, gone, gone.
I cancelled my cards and tried to get my company credit card cancelled, but no one would return my calls. I told the girls they’d have to wait for their money, which they understood. I went through the process of figuring out how to replace or do without all the information contained in those leather folds, all the while putting out the multi-course dinner I was responsible for. One of the servers remarked that I was awfully calm about the whole thing, and I answered that I had a job to do, and in regards to the wallet, I had already done all I could. I did relate to them, during a break, how I had lost my phone in DC once, called the number, and a person answered who had found the phone and got it back to me. Also how I’d left my Ipad in a shopping cart once at the market, left the store, got to my next location, realized I didn’t have the Ipad, and dashed back to customer service, to have it turned over to me after a nice someone had returned it. So, I said, there was always a chance someone honest had discovered it somewhere.
S. reported no joy in the wallet search, and I headed home around midnight having done all I could think of to either find my wallet, or make it possible for any one who found it find me. I reflected upon the change in my mindset, how I chose to respond to this incident. A year ago I’d have beaten myself to a bloody pulp over it. I would cry over and over how stupid and careless I was, how unthinking and hopeless. I’d deserve it, deserve to lose everything. Such a loser. But now I viewed it very differently. I could not believe I’d just set my wallet down, or dropped it in the parking lot. But that is what had happened, so what now? Do what you can, hope for the best, accept the results. I made one small visualization of the wallet, back in my hands. I focused on just that, not the means, not how, not even when. Just that one image: wallet… in my hands. Then I released it with acceptance.
About 15 minutes later, my phone rang. At the end of the line was a young woman who’d found my wallet, and spent about 6 hours trying to figure out how to find me. She eventually found one of my business cards and called the number. She’d picked it up from the checkout stand and for reasons passing my understanding took it with her instead of turning it in. She could have saved me a great deal of stress and worry had she found my phone number sooner, but she was calling now so I made arrangements to drive to her house and retrieve it. When I got there I made sure to express my deep gratitude for her calling me, and got back my wallet, fully intact including the cash. I gave her $20 as a reward and told her to contact me and I would come and cook a meal for her and her family one night. As it happened, she lived one street over from my helpers’ apartment complex, so, upon leaving her house, I called Dulce and roused her out of bed, telling her to come downstairs and get her money. She must have been warm and comfortable because at first she told me she’d just get it Tuesday. I told her I was right outside, so she agreed to come down. She ran down, bare legged and barefooted, and took the cash and said she was very happy I’d found my wallet – not just because it had her money in it.
It is a strange, almost surreal thing to have happened. Each instance in itself seems improbable. From me distractedly setting my wallet down, to someone taking it, then calling me to return it. So many points at which it could have ended in disaster. I try to think of it in quantum physics (even though quantum physicists get really upset when you apply quantum rules to LOA), especially the cat in the box thing. At any given second, multiple possibilities existed for the fate of my wallet. Like slots on a roulette wheel, the ball of reality could have dropped into any one of them, determining the situation. Like a lucky gambler who bets on black 24, the ball dropped on my desired number. But was it luck? Was it visualization? Did I determine the cat’s fate by visualizing in my mind what I wanted, then releasing the hows and whys and whens of the outcome? Was karma making a circuit after I gave $20 to a bereft woman in a store parking lot a few days earlier? Some how, against what I consider very long odds, I got exactly what I wanted. Aside from a little extra gas to back across town and get the wallet, and the stress, it was like I had not lost anything. Within minutes of making that visualization, the reality gelled and soon thereafter the wallet was where I had visualized it; back in my hands.
Maybe what happened happened as it happened because it could not have happened any other way. Maybe the situation was set from the beginning of time to unfold exactly how it did. I hope not. In fact, choose not to believe that. I’d rather think that in a streaming multitude of possibilities, I was able to affect an outcome, to tip the odds just a little in my favor. I choose to believe that a visualization, followed by acceptance and release, molded an ideal possibility into a desired reality. That being the case, I should work to tip the odds more often, and to visualize my successes with the same spirit of gratitude, calm and acceptance.