On the first day of my vacation last week, I banged my foot on a big iron patio chair as I was running to take a picture of the glorious view. We had just arrived at our adorable cottage and I was nearly crying from the beauty of the flowers and the cuteness of the cottage. Then I saw the mountain view and my heart could have burst.
Without thinking, I flipped off my sandals, ran forward, iPhone in my hand and said, “Oh my God, I love Ashland.”
I looked down at my toe and it was at least a half-inch separated from the toe next to it. My foot swelled up and turned black and blue. It hurt to walk.
Let me be clear- as injuries go, this is a mild one, I know. I know. I don’t want this post to sound dramatic or sob-storyish.
But, this was significant to me for several reasons. First, we had just arrived to our vacation spot- we literally checked in less than 5-minutes before this happened. Second, a big part of our vacation plans were centered around hiking everyday in the amazing Oregon mountains, but now all hiking plans were out- I couldn’t get my foot in a sneaker. And third, we had been thinking seriously about a possible move to Ashland, Oregon. I obsessively wondered, what did it mean that just as I was saying how much I loved it there, I banged my foot so hard that I could barely enjoy it?
There was a little cloud over the trip from that point on. I mean really, overall, it was fine. We still had a great time and I could walk around, just more slowly. And each day my foot felt a little better. There were other unexpected things that happened that are too much to share here. It is just that our wonderful vacation didn’t unfold as we had planned.
I found myself having to let go of how I wanted our trip to be different -over and over again.
On the fourth day in Oregon, we met with the beautiful Jodi Chapman and her kind-hearted husband, Dan. We adored them the minute we met. I knew Jodi on-line so it was a JOY to finally meet her in person. We talked and talked and talked to each other like the four of us have been friends forever. (I think our souls have been friends a long time!)
Jay and I told them about the unfortunate things that happened that changed how we spent our time in Ashland. They talked to us about this idea:
Sometimes people have a “happiness ceiling” that is only as high as we think we deserve; and often when we are close to experiencing something that would really push us through our self-imposed happiness limit, we unconsciously sabotage it. They said they knew about this because they had experienced it.
Were we doing that? All I can say is that it felt like truth to both Jay and I.
Something shifted for us after spending the afternoon with Jodi and Dan. Gratitude came in and replaced some of the confusion and frustration we were feeling.
I don’t have any answers for any of this at the moment. But, like many things in life, I do believe there are lessons for me in our vacation experience.
A lesson in letting go of expectations.
A lesson in allowing the fullest extent of joy into my life.
A lesson in remembering that everything that happens is unfolding exactly as it should for my highest good, even when it doesn’t feel that way.
A reminder that joy is an inside job and not dependent on outside circumstances.
A reminder to accept that unexpected things happen and to start over with Plan B.
A newfound sense of gratitude for my feet. My beautiful, strong and wonderful feet.
Note: This idea of a happiness ceiling (he calls it an upper limit problem) is from Gay Hendrick’s book, The Big Leap. I am going to buy it!