We have many opportunities to complain and make ourselves and others miserable. And we also have the opportunity to live life like we are in paradise. Choose.
Love Cruise #1
Many years ago, shortly after I was married, I was on a cruise with my husband, Chuck. When packing, I kept trying different sized suitcases and then finally found the perfect suitcase. Except… when I was unpacking in our cabin, I realized I had never repacked my shoes in the suitcase I brought. No tennis shoes or dress shoes for elegant evening or sandals to match my outfits or flip flops for the pool and beach. Only the one pair of flat sandals that I wore onto the boat.
I spent a few nights feeling sorry for myself, especially on the first elegant evening. I tried to buy shoes but I wear a narrow size and didn’t find anything that fit me, not even flip flops.
The night of the elegant evening, Chuck and I were on the top deck after dinner and looking at the stars. I had a powerful revelation that changed me. I truly was in paradise and yet I was focused on the shoes I left behind. Wow, I was choosing to be miserable about something I could do nothing about and in the end, it didn’t really matter. In that moment, I chose to be grateful and present for what I had.
Love Cruise #2
We recently attended a business and marketing training on a Caribbean cruise line. Amazing learning! And, there were several things that happened that were irritating: the cruise ship had horrible wifi, the beach party on our last island stop – the one time I was going swimming in the ocean – was cancelled when the ship couldn’t enter the port due to rough waters, and most of my photos didn’t turn out and it seemed like everyone else’s photos were beautiful.
Guess what? As I saw these upsets, I let them go. Why? Because I didn’t want another moment in paradise ruined by a minor disappointment. Because what we practice grows stronger and I did not want to practice upset, disappointment, loss, and feeling sorry for myself.
I want to practice being loving, joyful, grateful, and being present to all I do have. Choose. That’s all there is in this moment. Accept life as it is or … Reject the way it is and suffer. In the moment of acceptance, I can look for what is good about what happened.
What I was grateful for on this cruise was that since the wifi was so bad, I was offline for 7 of the 8 days. That was such a rare blessing. And the day we didn’t get to go to port was so relaxing. Chuck and I had time to connect with people we knew on the cruise and time for each other. Another unexpected blessing.
On this cruise, despite the irritations, I vowed to focus on the joy, and not make myself miserable when things didn’t go my way. When I took on that mindset, the cruise was so much fun.
The Lesson of Holly Butcher
Back from the cruise, I read a touching story about Holly Butcher who died in 2018 after a battle with a rare form of cancer that primarily affects young people. Holly died at age 27. The story had her last FB post which was posted the day before she died. Here are a few quotes that really touched me and I hope it touches you:
“Be grateful for your minor issue and get over it. It’s okay to acknowledge that something is annoying but try not to carry on about it and negatively affect other people’s days. Once you do that, get out there and take a freaking big breath of that fresh Aussie air deep into your lungs, look at how blue the sky is and how green the greens are. It is so beautiful. Think how lucky you are to be able to do just that – breathe.
You might have got caught in bad traffic today, or had a bad sleep because your beautiful babies kept you awake, or your hairdresser cut your hair too short. Your new fake nails might have a chip, your boobs are too small, or you have cellulite on your arse and your belly is wobbling.
Let all that shit go. I swear you will not be thinking of those things when it is your turn to go. It is all SO insignificant when you look at life as a whole. I’m watching my body waste away right before my eyes with nothing I can do about it and all I wish for now is that I could have just one more Birthday or Christmas with my family, or just one more day with my partner and dog. Just one more.”
On the Ship of Life – Choose Paradise or Misery?
If you want to attract love or elevate your experience of love in the relationship you are in, you have to let “it” go. “It” refers to all the insignificant complaints. “It” is the belief that you are not enough or that you are not lovable.
What is your “it” that if you let it go, your life would be lighter and more loving and joyful.
Healthy people want a healthy, confident, positive partner who they enjoy, not someone who is a “glass is half-empty” person.
All the angst that we create isn’t worth the attention, or rush of adrenaline or whatever benefit we get from it. (Yes, we do get some kind of benefit from suffering or we wouldn’t do it.) That misery we feel compromises our immune system and can make us sick … and it ages us. In many cases, our negative outlook on life pushes people away.
We have this day. Not everyone does. In the words of Mary Oliver: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
You are on the ship of your life. Will you choose paradise or misery? It really is up to you.