I just returned from a wonderful trip to Mexico where we were blessed with phenomenal weather—hot and sunny every day except for the day we were packing up and flying out (making it less hard to actually leave). On a couple of days as we were sitting on the beach a storm would start to blow in, with some impressive thunder and lightning, while the other end of the beach remained sunny. Then it would pass by without a significant downpour.
But what if it had rained every day? Would I still feel as happy about my trip?
On a couple of other trips to Mexico it did rain almost every day. Sometimes for the entire day. Was my trip “ruined”?
Well, that was entirely up to me.
I could have focused on the fact that I wasn’t able to spend time on the beach, which is one of the reasons I love to go to Mexico. Why, WHY does it ALWAYS have to rain when I’m on vacation? I can’t sit on the beach reading and making my fruitless attempt to get a tan. I can’t enjoy swimming in the ocean. This is the worst. Why do these things always happen to me?? I’m simply miserable. This vacation is ruined!
OK, I’m pretty sure anyone reading right now will agree that this would be a pretty dumb reaction (See Don’t Do Dumb Things if you have any question here). I am in a beautiful place. I am on VACATION meaning there is no “work” to be done, household or otherwise. I am staying at a place where someone will bring me a cocktail if I ask them to, or sometimes, even when I don’t. I am surrounded by friends and wonderful people I have just met. I have several books with me, and scrabble!
Enjoying life is a simple matter of focus. As humans we often want to make it more difficult. We sometimes feel that things are “happening” to us. But really, in every situation we encounter in life, the only thing that matters is where we put our focus.
Traveling anywhere used to be a nightmare for me. I was so anxious traveling, and would begin to dread it weeks before the actual trip. I seemed to be unable to think about all the fun I would have, instead going over and over what might go wrong while getting there, or simply dreading the unknown.
You know how travel used to go for me? Delays, missed flights, lost luggage, sitting on the tarmac for hours unable to move around—everything I’d imagined could go wrong, and more! Plus, having to go through the whole day feeling sick, dying for it to be over, instead of enjoying the adventure of getting to my destination.
I am so very grateful that I do not experience that anxiety and panic any longer. When I have a trip planned I get to enjoy being excited about it and I get to enjoy the whole experience of getting there. And I get to enjoy saying this mantra that I love all throughout the day—everything always works out for me!
You know what my travel experience is like now? You guessed it! I sail through the airport usually walking right through security and immigration with hardly a line to wait in. If I do happen to miss a connection, which is rare, I get upgraded on the next flight. I get offered a ride without asking, not even knowing that the gate I needed to get to was quite far away. People walk right up to help me when I don’t know what I am doing at the self-service kiosk. When arriving a little late because of traffic, there is a skycap guy right there when I get out of the car to check me in on the fly. And people are super nice, even at security!
These are simple examples about something benign—traveling and being away on vacation. What about when something truly unwanted comes into our lives—such as a loved one or beloved pet dying?
Yes, very sad things do happen—such is the way on planet earth. Life here offers us a polarity—light and dark, wet and dry, happy and sad. And when something sad or awful happens, we are going to feel it. But if we can hold in our hearts that we won’t feel it in the same way forever, that while it’s stormy on
this side it is still sunny on the other, then we will be OK. We will be able to weather the storm. And eventually we might be able to see the gift in what happened—we might be able to see that it was actually stormy and sunny at the very same time.
PS: Look closely at the last photo to see the gift we got one afternoon after a sprinkle of rain.