We all long for vacations. We dream of what it will feel like to sink our toes into the sand, to feel the warmth of the sun on our faces, and to taste the sweet coconut nectar of a Pina Colada (well at least I do, anyway).
Vacations give us something to look forward to during the long winter months. Just the thought of stepping onto an airplane to embark on an adventure can usually lift my spirits and reduce my winter time blues. The idea of taking a break from the structure and normalcy of our daily lives can provide a sense of relief and excitement.
But then sometimes we realize that even in paradise, there are bugs.
I just returned from a week-long yoga retreat to Mexico. I look forward to this trip every year and have come to love the uncrowded beaches and amazing sunsets in a little beach community called Troncones.
This small surfing town is the host to expats who have once visited and now become full-time residents as they have fallen in love with the simplicity of life there. The Mexican residents who live and work there seem to truly appreciate the tourists and take us in as family. There is something about this place that breaks my heart wide open and helps me to reconnect with my Self.
But this year my experience was a bit different. I was still in paradise; the beauty of the sun, sand, and ocean were still my landscape, but I was blessed with the experience of some little pesky reminders that life can still have its challenges despite the beautiful scenery.
The challenges came in the shape of a small bed bug and the form of itching, crawling skin. Now before you become all indignant and wonder what kind of a place would have those, let’s be real and think about how many people, from all over the world are likely coming and going from this section of paradise at any given time.
With that said, you can imagine the discomfort of realizing that as you are lying in bed at night, little creatures are enjoying your bed with you. It certainly brings you an awareness and appreciation for the “comforts of home”. It also helps you to realize that in life, we are faced with challenges at the most surprising and sometimes inopportune times.
What I realized during this experience is that I had a choice in how I responded to the situation. I couldn’t control the reality that I didn’t feel “safe” from the critters at night, but I could decide if I was going to: 1. Be furious at someone or something outside of myself, 2. Play the victim and wonder, “why is this happening to me?” or 3. Look for what I can control (myself) and go from there.
I’ve realized that in tough situations I can point my finger at someone else only to realize the other four fingers are pointing back at me. If I let this situation ruin my much-needed and longed-for vacation, I would only be hurting myself. If I choose instead to control what I can (me) I get to choose the outcome.
It’s only upon confronting our inner self that we can overcome the small pesky challenges in our life.
I enjoyed a wonderfully relaxing week away and came home with a renewed appreciation for all the good in my life. I was reminded that I get to choose each day how I am going to respond to life’s challenges. My happiness, whether on vacation or at home, is ultimately up to me.