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!
Well, my eyes teared up as I read this. First, as you know, finally meeting you in person was so beautiful and wonderful and amazing and soul sisterly and inspiring and every other great word we can think of. So there’s definitely that.
But also, this whole thing with your toe is such a profound lesson for all of us – I’m glad that the upper limit theory resonated with you. That was definitely the hit I was feeling – and I could completely relate! It’s hard when these life lessons pop up though when we’re on vacation and wanting to just relax and enjoy ourselves – why can’t they take a vacation so that we can enjoy our vacation? But that’s part of it, like you mentioned above, to recognize that joy is an inside job and gratitude and happiness can be found in any situation. And while I’m so sorry about your poor toe, I’m so glad that it brought up such a profound shift for you. Love you so much! XO
So much of the profound shift was because of you! You and Dan were the highlight of the trip for me. So so grateful we’ve connected. I adore you!
i am captivated with this post. (btw, oregon move maybe? how interesting!!)
+ how powerfully amazing about your jodi + dan encounter!!!
+ i’m soaking up your lessons + feel inspired to find a window to journal + reflect about mine of recent, with some parallel ponderings.
sweetheart, in hawaii in august, i sprained my ankle on a gorgeous hike. the biggest thing now is i can’t exercise for A WHILE!! ugh!
also, there’s been big changes of very recent about how i will publish my book + it involves grief but also calls for more faith than ever.
your every word relates to me now. thank you for ministering to my body + spirit.
i love you so, xox rachel
Oh wow, Rachel. I am so looking forward to hearing more about what you wrote in a few weeks. Let the healing and love-fest begin! xoxo
Love this. Love you. Love the reminders. And if I have to carry you to the yarn and candy shops, I will. ;o) xo
Liv, you would carry me? You would. I love you <3 xoxo
A wonderful post with so much for me to take away to think about. Thankyou for such wise words. Last year I cut my lip very badly open the morning we were leaving for our family holiday. A holiday I’ve been excited about and looking forward to for a year. The pain and swelling made me stop and realise so many truths that I’d been ignoring. Things like this do happen for a reason, I’ve always believed that. I hope your foot feels much better now. 🙂
Jess x x
Jess, that is so interesting. Thank you for sharing that. There is something to all of this, I think. Much love to you.
your situation and what you said about a happiness ceiling…i just read a book about that from Gay Henricks called The Big Leap…it really is a true unconscious behavior we all have. It’s awesome that you’re such an aware person and willing to analyze it!! it may not have been the vacation you planned but it seems like you got a lot out of it this way!!
Kathryn- that is the book! I couldn’t remember the name of the book they read that they were referring to- I need to go buy it. I will also add it to the post and give GH credit. Thank you!
Gosh I love you Lori!
Lori, you are amazing. I love you so much!
Something very similar happened to me in Bali. It was my fourth month there, after filming a project about Shamans of the World I made a choice to stay in Bali and meditate, exercise a lot for several hours a day, change a lot of my habits – get up with the sun, go to bed early. I also took up the studies of Auyrveda. And somewhere between my hula-hoop class and a thai chi class I slipped on the rocks in the rain and fell on the ground and hit my forehead on the brick (left part) so hard that I needed stitches and the wound I think was at least 1sm deep.
After that I was forced to really sit still for a while. I was speaking slowly, the first message was, “slow down”. I was already about to fly to Los Angeles, and this has delayed my plans for several weeks. This experience taught me patience, the art of sitting still, I can relate to the threshold of joy that I was about to cross and something blocked it, and I learned a bit about self healing. I would just sit quietly with my palm over my stitches, and that reflective period in my life was very valuable.
I also saw a lot of amazing compassionate people around me.
I have a small scar now and in fact I love it. It reminds me of the possibility to grow.
Oh Marianna, I remember that day so clearly! Sending you love from Bali. I hope you’ll be here again soon. xoxo Alia
Oh wow. I am so happy you shared this story of your life here. I love that you love your small scar as a reminder of the possibility to grow. Beautiful.
If you move to Oregon, I’m moving to Oregon. Just sayin’ and gorgeous post. I’ve been through my own upper limit breakdown and it was one of the most painful things I’ve ever gone through. Having to somehow make peace with becoming more successful, my body felt like it was going to die. I couldn’t eat, I was a mess. Once I realized what was going on it was a huge reframe for me.
If lived near you I would invite you over for coffee and to hear your upper limit story. I am so interested! xoxo
holy moly! I read this post and wondered how I could ever spin something so positive as you did out of this event — and then the very next day, something so similar happened to me. remind me to tell you about it! it’s amazing how these unforeseen (and painful) interruptions can be pivotal moments!
p.s. i’d move to oregon! 🙂
I’m so excited to see you and hear your story! xo