Sometimes, things don’t go as planned. Life is full of unexpected happenings that unfortunately are not always about butterflies, unicorns and rainbows. This is part of life and simply not something we can control or avoid (although lots of us – including me – try to achieve this). However, each unexpected happening is a perfect moment to practise staying mindful and keeping your head cool. To not get caught in emotions and reactions, but simply be with what is, without being carried away in negative thoughts, judgements and ‘what if’s’. But how can you keep your head cool when your mind keeps on boiling?
A couple of days ago I had the “pleasure” of experiencing such a happening. Due to an unlucky combination of an ear bud, my ear channel and a slippery floor, I ended up in a hospital in Yogyakarta and was diagnozed with an ear infection. Under normal circumstances this would not be a biggie, wouldn’t it be that I just confirmed and paid for a diving trip of six days in Flores that would start in a week. However, the doctor gave me explicit instructions not to dive for at least one week and go for a medical check after one week, leaving me in no other position than to cancel the trip. Obviously, health before desire, but it wasn’t the most exciting process to deal with. It did, however, give me some nice insights on keeping my head cool.
Rewind to the specific moment. Sound: “PLOP”. First reaction: panic. My mind was definitely in for some fun and showed me all the potential future scenarios within a split second, including the worst case scenario of me not being able to dive anymore due to a perforated ear. An important FYI in this respect: I LOVE to dive. Before I discovered other tools like mindfulness, yoga and meditation, under water was the only place my mind would stay calm. It was – and is – a special way of meditation for me. An amazing tool to be in the present. So you can imagine the panic in my head after the happening. Panic resulting in heavy breathing and a wild hart beat. But suddenly I realized: what the hell is this panic about? I don’t know what is wrong (and even if something is wrong) until a doctor tells me. So I pulled myself out of the mind and focused on my breathing. Not long after that, my breathing and hart went back to normal and I was pulled back in the present moment.
Shortly thereafter, the doctor told me there was nothing to be worried about for the long run, however, did prescribe antibiotics and some other pills. And no diving (or better said: any water in my ear) for at least a week. I was relieved. If this was all, I could totally accept the situation. Past hick-ups in my life have taught me that all happens for a reason, so apparently there was a lesson for me to learn. I was even excited that I realized this, totally trusting the process I have been in for the last years. But with the darkness of the night, the darkness of emotions arose, accompanied by negative thoughts. And with this, another opportunity to practise acceptance, observance and letting emotions be as they come popped up. So I cried. Until I felt there were no more tears. And I hugged myself. Knowing and feeling that all would be ok. I would be ok. That this too would pass. And it indeed passed.
Fast forward to this morning, the moment I started writing this blog. Location: the Borobudur, most likely in any top 5 (including mine) of most beautiful temples in South-East Asia (or perhaps even the world). I just watched a breathtaking sunrise and enjoyed its powerful energy while meditating. And I realized: in the bigger picture, this ear infection does not matter. I am alive and fucking kicking it in Indonesia. Cancelling the trip and potentially loosing the money involved would not be something I would worry about in five years. So instead of flying to Flores this week, I came up with a new plan to discover South Sulawesi. The diving is on hold for a week, but luckily not forever. Looking back, I see growth in how I handled the situation. The old me would cry and act like a victim, questioning why this had to happen to her and blaming herself for not being careful. The new me takes it step by step and observes instead of reacts. And most important: accepts what is and keeps on loving herself. She has faith in whatever happens and trusts that everything will work out in the end. Wherever and whenever the end may be, one way or another.
And for you, my dear reader, everything will also work out in the end. Just remember the following:
- Focus on your breathing and simply breath in and out – you’re still alive and kicking;
- Accept what is and let it be as it comes – yes, also the loud cries and cursing;
- This happens for a reason, you’re in this to learn a helpful lesson;
- This too will pass, nothing is forever – just be patient and trust the process;
- Ask yourself this question: would I be worried about this in five years?
But maybe most important: be nice to yourself. Because you’re fucking worth it.