You know, it’s funny how things never turn out the way you had ’em planned.
The only thing we know for sure about Henry Porter
Was that his name wasn’t Henry Porter
Bob Dylan, “Brownsville Girl”
I have completed the first draft of my memoir. I end it as I was about to enter the cavernous Piñon training room to announce the sale of my company to my devoted staff, who, with a few exceptions, had no idea this was coming. Here is an excerpt from my last page, there will be postscripts after the final chapter, yet to be written:
I valiantly ran this experience through my ever-wondering mind. Surrendering Piñon Management, my most defining relationship, required spiritual focus. I shed many internal tears as I reckoned that this is what life is about: growing and surrendering. Nothing lasts forever and, as George Harrison sang so many years ago, “all things must pass.” It was cathartic, wistful, liberating and confusing. I had a new second marriage, two granddaughters and an undefined future.
I had had similar experiences in the past. Arlene, Barry and I left the familiar, urban campus lifestyle in Milwaukee and moved to an 85-acre farm in rural Pennsylvania to hopefully form a spiritual commune. We didn’t know what we were doing, but we trusted to the future. We reflected a version of faith and it was there that I was introduced to Guru Maharaj Ji.
Prior to that, I left a high paying and executive career at American Can Company to pursue my master’s in sociology at UWM. My salary as a teaching assistant was less than 10% of what I had been earning and I had never taken a sociology course. It was there, though, that I encountered Gandhian sociology professor Lakshmi Bharadwaj .
What was the future now? I realized the paradox of past-learned lessons. One does not know the future, it will unfold on its own terms. But still, the active mind digresses and tries to visualize the unknowable. What the future holds is part of the act of surrendering: an act of faith.
I hoped for a happy marriage, including travel. I hoped for the elusive peace of mind and a sense of purpose. I desired to de-stress myself, stay in shape, and be healthy. What you hope for and what happens are two distinct things. I comprehended that in the enormity of the moment that I entered the room to face the staff of Piñon Management.