I just had one such experience that led me to pause and reflect on the old adage, “The best laid plans…” My daughter and I planned an epic trip from May 6-Aug. 2, the first few legs of which went really well. We started in Texas visiting friends and our horses then off to LA to see the city. From LA we drove south a couple of hours to visit another friend and more horses. From there, we headed to Hawaii for a summer of WWOOFING. WWOOF stands for World Wide Opportunities in Organic Farming. Basically, farmers host “WWOOFers” who come to learn and work in exchange for food and lodging. It’s a chance to immerse in conscious agriculture and different communities and to get to travel among other things. It’s something Elle and I have dreamed of doing and finally had the chance to get away for.
Well…despite diligent planning and communication with our farm host, it was not what we were told it would be. The short of it is, unhealthy living conditions (mold, cockroaches, scorpions), unhealthy meals (and believe me, Elle and I are pretty easy to please in the food department), and incredibly rude “hosts.” In addition, the actual farm opportunities were nothing like what our host told us. It was very limited.
My initial reaction was an old pattern one for me which was to minimize the situation, to abandon the truth of things as not to “be a problem.” This is common for those of us who have experience trauma, especially physical and emotional abuse. Though I’ve worked long and hard on my healing, those default survival patterns can still show up, especially in crisis situations. Elle helped me snap out of this. The next ego trip I went through was the classic, “What will people think?” I snapped myself out of that one real quick.
It never matters what others think. Your truth is what matters. What’s best for you (that does not intentionally hurt others) is what matters.
Once we shared our concerns and got out of there, I was able to start the process of “getting the lessons.” In the past, I would have had a really hard time moving on from something like this. I credit my spiritual journey, much of which has been the path of yoga, for helping me learn to shift from disappointment and frustration to growth and inspiration rather quickly. Here’s what I learned (or was reminded of) from this experience and a summary of my process for flowing through plot twists less suffering.
- GRATITUDE: I have an amazing life right here. I’ll admit I got a little caught up in the fantasy of “it’s better out there.” It usually isn’t and won’t be if you’re not fully appreciating what is already present in your life.
- You always have what you need: If I want to learn farming, there are TONS of opportunities right here in my local community.
- We are never in control: Sigh, can someone just tattoo this on my forehead please. I was so sure this would work out because I “did everything right.” I over communicated, I researched, I planned and planned but at the end of the day, we are co-creating with the Universe and what manifests is Divine even if our egos’ don’t think so or our minds’ can’t see the forest through the trees.
- Feel the truth of the situation: Plans are usually based on hopes and dreams and when they don’t work out there is a grief emerges. Admit that it sucks that things didn’t work out. Resist the urge to simply “look on the bright side” right away and instead let yourself express the sadness, anger, fear, etc.. Talk about it with loved ones. Journal it out and be sure to slow down and rest. It takes energy to process emotions and doing so brings clarity as to the next steps to take. Even though we were in paradise, Elle and I took the first couple days after leaving the farm to mainly hang out in the hotel.
- Handle any loose ends: I reported this incident to the WWOOF organization which will help this host improve and/or prevent anybody else from going through what we did. Depending on your situation, what needs to happen will vary. This may not be comfortable but is necessary for moving on.
- Embrace the coarse change: This will be easy to do if you completed step one. If you find it hard, return back to that first step and do the emotional work. Tap in to gratitude here too, it usually “could have been worse.” Also, when things don’t happen in our life, its probably means we don’t need that experience or it’s not the right time. Let go and let life lead.
The bottom line is, life is dynamic. It’s a play, Lila, is what it’s called in the yogic tradition. You can’t take it too seriously but you can trust there is love in the chaos and that you are whole of heart no matter what manifests. Enjoy the ride!
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