I Only Need One

I only need one is an expression I use to help calm myself in certain situations.

It started with a trip to downtown. To avoid a longer, more complicated drive, parking costs, and bike lanes, I drove to the start of the LRT (fast rapid transit) line, where parking is free. When I’ve done this to attend an evening event in the downtown core, there was always plenty of parking. This particular time, it was to participate in a meeting on a weekday.

I entered the parking lot and could see that the lot appeared to be full. The car ahead of me turned right, favouring a shorter walk to the LRT.

I only need one space. Out of what seemed like 1,000 spots, I thought there must be one more empty space. I kept my wits about me. I decided not to compete with the driver ahead of me, so I turned left.

I’m happy to say I did find my spot on the last row, in the corner by the chain link fence. I didn’t even break out in a sweat and made my meeting on time.

I learned that repeating my mantra calmed me down, allowing me to be thoughtful. Over the years, I have been amazed at how often I found that last spot. Usually, it was hidden by a large truck at the end of a dead-end row.

That mantra applies to other areas of my life. Where an urgently needed resource is scarce, my wife smiles at me and reminds us that we only need one.

Here’s another example – getting just the right spot on the ground in front of the main stage at any outdoor music festival. Each festival handles admissions differently, with its own etiquette and unwritten rules. I accept that I may not get front-row centre when I attend a new-to-me-festival. I remind myself that many places will be great, and I only need one. I must consider the sight lines, shade, access to washrooms and food. By slowing myself down, speaking my mantra of ‘I only need one spot,” I can enjoy my experience rather than fret the joy out of the fun.

On a recent episode of Amazing Race, a pair were struggling. One of the partners verbally gave up, repeating her mantra or a version of it, “We’re last; I know we are.” If you know Amazing Race, anything can happen to anyone. Sometimes, a random situation quickly shoves you from first to last place. I’ve seen a team get in a taxi that then got a flat tire without a spare. Another time, the car the team hired ran out of gas. A positive mantra that slowed things down and gave you time to think about other possibilities: being creative is hard when you see the situation as hopeless.

Please give this a bit of a think. Do you have a mantra to calm yourself down? Do you have more than one? Are there specific situations in which you use them? Do you recall a particular situation that turned out well with the help of your mantra?

I’m curious about your thoughts. Please share your bit of a think in the comment section below. It will come to me for approval before posting.

Photo by Filip Filkovic Philatz on Unsplash

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4 thoughts on “I Only Need One

  1. Kevin Fitzgerald says:

    Excellent blog. We can all benefit from mantras that help to centre us or “ground” us. Sometimes, I just remind myself that I need to breathe…no specific mantra…just a reminder that focusing on breath helps to slow things down and calm the nervous system.

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