It’s interesting how life chooses to reveal our lessons to us…
I have been at home for a week now, recovering from ear surgery. Obviously, if you’ve got gauze padding in your ear and a cotton dressing over it, you don’t want to risk getting that area wet. So instead of showering I’ve been doing stand-up sponge baths.
This morning, I longed to take a real bath. Actually, I’ve wanted to relax in the tub for a very long time now. But I kept forgetting to buy a new plug from the hardware store to replace the dry, cracked, and therefore useless one.
I’m slower than usual at the moment due to the surgery and the side effects of antibiotics (which I’m delighted to say I finished today). So I washed the bathtub and started running the water before realising that I didn’t have a plug. I thought with disappointment, “I can’t take a bath.”
But my mind was so focused on the image of myself soaking in the bath and how good that would feel, that my next thought, in true British Pantomime style, was, “Oh yes I can.”
I brought a plastic produce bag from the kitchen and stuffed it into the plughole. But when I ran the water again, the plastic bag started coming out.
“I need something heavy.” I placed a marble bookend over the bag in the plughole, et voilà!
As I sat relaxing in the Epsom salts and hot water, I had to have a chuckle at myself. It’s probably — true confession time! — about two years since the bath plug died. In all that time I didn’t remember to measure the hole to find out what size plug I needed. And for two years, I believed that I couldn’t take a bath — one of life’s simple yet profound pleasures.
And it was an illusion! What I saw as a roadblock was actually an opportunity to be creative!
Years ago, I took an extreme and intensely physical personal development course. One of my indelible memories is of inching along a shaky walkway of narrow wooden slats strung up high between two trees in the forest. I was harnessed and roped, in case I fell, but it was still nerve racking. My hiking boots didn’t give my unsteady feet any flexibility, and the ground looked very far away below me. The only thing to hold onto was a rope on either side of the walkway.
The challenge was to cross the shaky structure and hit a bullseye target on it about 20 feet away. And the instructions were to keep looking at the target and moving towards it, while shouting out: “I focus on what I want!”
Believe me, I kept shouting that as loudly as I could to quell my fear. And I did it! I hit the target!
My successful bathtub experience today brought this lesson, and others, home to me:
- An obstacle is an opportunity in disguise
- “I can’t” are two of the most limiting words in the English language
- My mind believes, and creates, whatever I tell it
- It is not just important, but also empowering, to repeatedly focus on what I want and where I “see” myself going, rather than on all the scary things that might happen along the way
How about you? Do you have stories of breakthroughs that you’d like to share? Feel free to comment below!