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OUT THE DOOR WITH EASE

A flurry of agitated activity marks my departure from home. The phone rings as I pull the door shut and I jump back inside, jarred by its urgent shrill. I answer with a clipped tone of voice. Instead of telling my friend I will call her back later, I talk for several minutes, am now late for my appointment, and after hanging up, groan internally, Why did I pick up the phone?

I rush out the door. My pace is hectic and driven. My face wears a look of consternation. I am unpleasant. I drive too fast. I feel impatient with the slow strollers in the cross walk and stressed by stop signs and the wink of red brake lights. I don't notice the scenery of my drive, just the confounding obstacles. When I arrive at my destination, I can't recall the streets I drove to get there.

Today I decide I must transform "leaving home" into a more peaceful set of thoughts and actions. I will change the way I think about my availability by telephone. I will stop hearing the ring of the phone as urgent, knowing that it is a privilege for-not a right of-the caller to reach me. I will allow voice mail to answer and return calls when I am able to give mindful attention to the caller.

I listen to the way I express it is time to leave: I have to go. The message this sends to myself and others is: I am at the mercy of time, of someone else's schedule. I change this to I am going now, an assertion that I want to go, I am ready to go. I do not need to ask permission or make excuses.

I am going now. I feel the power, the pleasure, the I AM in that affirmation.