ben goldfarb 88.
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Their wedding, which was only three days ago, was a faint memory of smiling relatives, kamikaze photographers, and spicy Mexican food. Linda and Jon were ready for their two week honeymoon in the Caribbean. They only had to clear customs and then good times would begin. Unfortunately, this wasn't going to be an easy task considering the baggage they were carrying.
As the newlyweds were having their luggage X-rayed, the custom officer's eyes widened as he looked into the screen. He called over his colleagues, who were amazed at what they saw.
"Is something wrong?" Jon asked.
"We will let you know in a moment, sir," the customs officer said.
Linda and Jon were about as straight laced as they came. Linda hadn't touched a drop of alcohol in 6 years. She had never abused drugs and made it a point to always treat them nicely.
Jon was an ardent Seventh Day Adventist and a little league coach. The chances of them smuggling anything worse than charity brochures was highly unlikely.
"Could the two of you come with us please?" the officer asked.
"Wow, some honeymoon," Linda said.
The couple was escorted to a private office which had both the insignia of the customs department and the ministry of tourism.
"My name is Fredrick Smythe, and I am the Minister of Tourism on the Island," a well-dressed man said.
"Thanks for the warm greeting," Jon said.
"I'm really sorry to disturb your vacation, but our sophisticated equipment revealed something rather alarming," the minister said.
"What are you talking about?" Jon asked.
"Unless we have to recalibrate our machinery, our information leads us to believe that you, Linda, have a tendency to focus way too much on the past," the minister said.
"I don't know what you are talking about, but I smell a law suit," Jon threatened.
"Please hear me out," the minister said.
"Jon, this is fascinating, please let him talk," Linda pleaded.
"Furthermore," the minister continued," you, Jon, are obsessed with the future."
"That may or may not be true, but that's not the point. I want to know why you are harassing innocent tourists with your pseudo-scientific X-ray apparatus?" Jon asked.
"Our island is all about living in the present. Our vacation spot is about capturing and relishing the moment," the minister explained.
"Yeah, so?" Jon asked.
"We have no advertising budget on our Island. We have thousands of tourists who come here every year based on word-of-mouth advertising from happy tourists. We have no natural resources to speak of, nor any industry, and our economy would collapse without our tourist trade."
"What's that got to do with us?" Linda asked.
"Given your present state, neither one of you is going to enjoy your trip. Linda, you will be too focused on what happened to you before you came here. And you, Jon, you will be too concerned about what's going to happen to you when the honeymoon is over," the minister explained.
"I'm really getting sick of this psycho-babble," Jon said.
"Jon, give him a chance. He seems to have our best interest in mind," Linda said.
"In any event, after you leave, both of you will end up bad-mouthing our island, when in fact, it will be your own fault if you don't enjoy yourselves," the minister explained. "We are cracking down on people who will give our island a poor reputation."
"So what do you want from us?" Jon asked.
"Unless you are committed to changing, we will send you to a neighboring island, all expenses paid, upgrade your hotel accommodations and give you three-thousand dollars worth of entertainment coupons," the minister said.
"Sweet," Jon said.
"Don't get me wrong. Given your present headspace, you'll have a bad time there as well, but at least they have an advertising budget to offset the bad press," he stated.
"And our other option?" Linda asked.
"You can make a temporary decision to live in the present and enjoy yourselves," the minister offered.
"You don't have to decide now. I'll leave you alone for a few moments while you make up your mind. Please have some coffee and pastries while I'm gone," the minister said, and then he walked out of the office.
"I say let them fly us somewhere else and upgrade our trip. We can blow three bills on food and gambling." Jon said.
"Maybe this is a chance to improve ourselves," Linda offered.
"This is supposed to be a honeymoon, not a self-help seminar. Let's go for it and leave this flaky island." Jon said.
"But Jon, I think there's something to learn from all of this," Linda said.
"Okay, whatever. Let's give it our best shot and live in the...what did he call it again?" Jon asked.
"The present...," Linda offered.
"Right... the present. We haven't spent much time there. I wonder what it's like." Jon asked.
"I guess we can find out now." Linda said.
The newlyweds told the minister their decision, and he drove them to their hotel himself.
They had a great time. In fact, they created an amazing foundation upon which they built their marriage. Of course they had to learn lessons from the past and plan for the future, but if you aren't in the moment, they learned, then what's the point?
After two weeks in present paradise, they arrived at the airport early so they could speak with the minister of tourism. He was waiting for them in his office.
"So, did you enjoy your trip?" he asked
"Yes, it was awesome," Linda said.
"I never thought I would say this, but thanks for your advice," Jon said.
"You can feel free to go back to your old perceptions of time if you would like to," the minister offered.
"You know what, I think we are going to leave our previous views of time in the past," Jon said.
"As you wish," the minister said. "Come see us again sometime."
With that, Jon and Linda boarded the plane to continue a series of present moments that would make up their future.
Ben Goldfarb was born and raised in El Paso, Texas, and is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. He moved to Israel in 1988. He is the founder and director of Paradigm Shift Communications. He has given seminars and training sessions at Israel Aircraft Industry and Philips Medical Systems. His book, "Take Two: Directing Your Life for a Change" will be published next year. He lives with his wife and children in Jerusalem. For more information about his coaching practice, visit the Paradigm Shift Communications website, or send an email to email@example.com
Â© Copyright 2008 by Ben Goldfarb