Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Embrace the Unexpected

It certainly has been quite awhile since my last post, and the reason for the delay is actually the subject of this post!

As some of you readers know, I moved out to the Bay Area from a suburb of Detroit a little over four months ago.  This past weekend was my first time going home since my move our here, and my reason for so doing was to surprise my dad for his 60th birthday.  My mom paid to have both me and my sister, who lives in Chicago, fly in for his birthday. 

Well, my short trip home got off to a less-than ideal start when, on Friday afternoon, my delayed flight out of San Francisco caused me to miss my connection to Detroit in Atlanta.  I had to spend the night in Atlanta--hot, humid, unfamiliar Atlanta, in a hotel I had to pay for.  My flight back to San Francisco on Monday was also delayed for nearly three hours due to weather, which would have forced me to spend yet another night in Atlanta, had I not opted to rebook my flight for the following day and spend one more night in dear ol' Michigan.  The next morning, when I got on my rebooked flight, I departed on time but the connection in Las Vegas was delayed.  Fortunately, San Francisco was my end destination and the delay only inconvenienced my arrival into work.

I would have loved nothing more than to have gone home and slept after nearly 24 hours of shuffling through airports and waiting for planes to arrive, but I had made commitments and work and thought that showing up, though it was three in the afternoon, was the only responsible, professional thing to do.

So, after this series of unfortunate events, I could not help but ask myself, Why did this have to happen?  Why did I have to endure all this inconvenience?  I believe this experience was presented to me in order to test and strengthen my patience and equanimity, or non-reactiveness.  I can't say I "passed," because my frustration in the moment almost brought me to tears, but I became aware of the fact that I was reacting so strongly and emotionally and quickly tried to stop it and just breathe, which actually worked!  Additionally, when I was confronted with almost the same scenario on my flight home, all I could do was laugh at the unlikelihood of it!

Having been home now for a full day or so, I'm still reflecting on my chaotic trip to and from San Francisco, and I think another reason I might have had to experience the delays and frustration I did was to provide me time to sleep!  I'm always go, go, go, do, do, do and as such, my sleep is definitely sacrificed.  Ample and adequate sleep is so important for one's health and I am certain I don't get enough.  I always just have so much I need to do or catch up on when I get home from work that I seldom get in bed before 11:30 pm.  Mind you, I wake up at 5:30.  That's not enough hours for me or for anybody!  I made up for some of my sleep deprivation by sleeping at the gates, sleeping in the flights into and out of San Francisco, sleeping in the Best Western Plus where I stayed in Atlanta, and sleeping in my mom's car on the ride back from the airport on the night my return flight got delayed.

The delays literally forced me to do nothing because there was nothing else I could be doing.  I believe the universe presented me with these frustrating impediments in an effort to slow me down and take the much needed rest my body was craving.  Additionally, as I already mentioned, enduring this taught me to focus more on being non-reactive and present.

I learned a valuable lesson from my whirlwind weekend and that is to embrace challenges and welcome unexpected obstacles as vehicles through which you can learn and grow.  This is often easier said than done but it can be done.  The more you practice cultivating this skill, the stronger you'll be and the better able you'll be to embrace any unexpected obstacle--or two!--the universe decides to catapult your way!

Love, light and happiness,