Rate this Article
Sometimes, the obvious is all thats available for seeing and its right in front of us...Happy New Year It’s 2013! We survived the Mayan apocalypse! How about a paradoxical story featuring an attractive professional woman who was led into understanding non-ordinary conclusions about comfort and freedom? I’m not certain, but you may find yourself relating in more ways than you would think on the surface. At any rate, I hope you enjoy reading it, experiencing it and even passing it around!
Sherri started the day as she did every day for the last year or so. Sometimes it was with music. Other times a walk. It just had to be something. Staying in dreamy states after 7am was something that was consciously eliminated. This morning it was music blending suggestion with ambient beats along with silence and reflection.
As a relaxed state slowly washed over her, Sherri tuned into the message within the music:
“Transformation is all around us. It’s who we are, but how many of us embrace it as such? The desire (birthed from fear) to hold on rather than embrace unknown and unpredictable transformation as it occurs from moment to moment -- can be dissolved. You too can understand how fear shapes our comfort zone. How it hardens the outer limits to progressively confine the psyche. It’s a choice. There are other choices that become available outside of the confines of internal barriers. You can dissolve those barriers. You can understand and experience freedom. Its a choice”
The message was repeated as conscious awareness became pleasantly soft and distant. An 8am bell (her alarm)marked the time to get ready for a 9am departure to a day of work. Being a loan adjuster often equated to long hours without notice or warning. Maybe it was time eroding similar repetition or perhaps something else, but something was causing her soul to be weary. Knowing she had been suppressing a change that had been welling up inside of her was coming to a boiling point.
Granted, life can demand a lot. There’s a lot out there to have. Having a lot means giving a lot. Finding your way is a process that often defines one’s comfort. Sherri needed to be comfortable and to her, comfort as she knew it had defined edges. Those edges could be summed up in the phrase “Standard of Living.” More often than she wanted, those edges demanded her time, thought and energy. But it wasn’t always like that.
There was a time when endless tenures with paperwork perfection, micro inspection and long hours were palatable. It was because of those virtues that her standard of living was formed. The only problem was that things change.
For the last few years increasing desires for expression, exploration and freedom flashed through her mind in various ways. Daydreams of travel. Aspirations to become more socially active. Even desires for a lifestyle that was somehow (beyond her current level of understanding), more meaningful. These dreams and aspirations however, weren’t aligned in a way that co-existed with unpredictable long hours that demanded her heart and soul. Those desires simply could no longer be sacrificed, but how?
Without work, all would be lost. Long hours persisted. Long enough to finally be rewarded for the efforts. Work decided to select 8 people from her division for a 4 day cruise to the Bahamas in a the big boss’s private charter yacht. Stoked and excited Sherri couldn’t wait. This was going to mark the first time in 5 years that she would travel. How those years can tick by... With an added bonus of $500 per day to spend on whatever (keep the change), the vacation was getting better and better.
First few hours on the boat felt odd. Even though the thought was disturbing to her, Sherri realized that without the routine of work, she somewhat felt lost. Sure there was getting everything loaded up on the boat and being showed its style of accommodation. It was beautiful and there was a lot to enjoy, but after a few hours on the ocean the scenery oddly seemed uncomfortable.
There were four decks with differing vantage points. Once the coast disappeared, every one of the vantages was only water and big, puffy, rich clouds in the sky. She could drink at the bar, read a book, watch television, relax in her room or gaze at the sea. Wanting to just be left alone rather than engaging in conversations with familiar people in unfamiliar circumstances, too her room it was.
That night as they docked it was time to meet and receive instructions about getting around in the area and some other events that had been planned for the team. Everything seemed like a great idea and it was time to get out and experience the kind of fun she had been wanting for a while.
The night turned out to be a real blast! Part of the company agenda was to select a group with a strong work ethic and provide an environment for emotional bonding to occur and strong ties to be formed. It was a new idea the company decided to implement to boost morale in the workplace. Based on how well everyone was getting along and bonding indicated that it was a nice step in the right direction.
After another day in the islands to eat, drink and be merry Sherri once again found herself outside of something she knew. Her thoughts and conversations mostly revolved around common experiences shared at work. A place she had grown uncomfortably comfortable with. She even quelled surfacing feelings urging her to get to know one her co-workers on a more personal level because of what she feared it could lead to and what that could mean.
When it came time to board the boat and go home more apprehension hit. It would have been so much easier at that moment to just be at home in bed in familiar territory. Wanting to be at homemade a date with the bed the first choice, despite others enjoying the fresh air and energetic waters. A surprising ease and comfort set over her being just before she drifted into a state of complete relaxation. Everything was somehow perfect. Then sleep. A deep fulfilling slumber crept over her being.
If it hadn’t been for that startling thud, her sleep might have carried her all the way home. As she awakened the lights flickered and eventually dimmed. Then there was a humming as the lights went back on. After a brief but intense few moments the humming was interrupted by a series of loud clicks and the lights once again vanished boat lost all power.
There was only darkness. At first the fear was overwhelming. Moments later she heard a knock on her stateroom door. The captain was calling her name. A meek “I’m ok” was about all Sherri could muster at that point. But she really wasn’t. In her mind, the situation was dire. With rough seas, no land in sight and only darkness, things weren’t on the up and up internally.
One by one all the guests of the ship were brought to the rear deck. Everyone was given a flashlight along with a prognosis. The engine experienced a critical failure, which meant it was not starting. The backup generator burned out upon starting. While the chances were slim of such a thing happening, it was here now. Help was on the way, the estimated time of arrival was 4 hours, then there would be a tow hooked up so the vessel could be towed back to dock. The end result was another day off with much of it to be spent on a boat without power being pulled across a vast body of water.
The next advice was to relax and even make the best of the situation. But how? Everything was uncomfortable. She was on a boat without power, drifting in a choppy sea with an endless abyss of darkness. Dormant fears sprang to life and her body tightened. As adrenaline diluted her senses Sherri felt herself losing control and falling into an ocean of uncertainty within. As cold flushing sensations crawled like swarms of ants all over her body, she suddenly became aware of her complete lack of ability to control the moment.
An onslaught of dizziness accompanied by lightheadedness made way for the inevitable loss of consciousness. On the way out she felt her legs give way and breath that she had been holding escape her body. Then there were voices. Distant at first, then more familiar. It was the others on the boat. She was ok. Somehow, indescribably relieved that others were there to experience what she was going through.
She was being helped up, handed a glass of cold water and gently ushered to a candlelit table. It was then that a simple thought entered her mind. “What if I stopped fighting and let myself enjoy what this situation has to offer?” Her next step was deciding to just go with the flow.
That night she had deeply meaningful, truthful discussions and felt more connected to everyone she was with than she would have dared to feel in different circumstances. She crossed just about all of her personal boundaries that night. Everyone there, despite their differences bonded. It was then she realized the consequences of truth could be amazing. Nobody was better than anyone else that night. Standard of living was something that didn’t even make it into the discussion. That night became all about a small group drifting in a vast ocean, baring their souls to one another and offering support, acceptance and empathy.
About 45 minutes before dawn the towboats arrived and secured the powerless drifting vessel. As the gentle hum of tow motors drummed on, dawn showed promise of illuminating a starry black sky. As the group watched the sun breach the horizon they shared a silent breakfast full of gratitude. New feelings that needed to sink in to be understood flooded Sherri’s entire being. After breakfast, the group disbanded to their rooms for rest and reflection.
As slumber once again greeted Sherri, new realizations followed. Everything she desired was within reach, yet something called a comfort zone that was constructed of ideas about standard of living and the fear of being without reinforced a cage of resignation. Feeling trapped by attempting to accept and endure a situation she was not comfortable with was her cause of suffering as well.
That previous night, that whole trip for that matter, had brought all that internal struggle and fight to a pinnacle beyond what she could bear. Being forced outside of what she knew as familiar and comfortable, despite being miserable a lot of the time, was overwhelming. However, what was beyond the sense of feeling overwhelmed was release and freedom! It was the realization that her thoughts were holding in place all the circumstances for discomfort -- and the fear of loss prevented her from letting go.
It was only after she felt everything was lost that she became comfortable in unknown territory. She decided to embrace who she was! Life was not going to be the same. She understood how she had gone about keeping herself uncomfortable all those years, and it was because of her own devices. Now she knew better. She decided to live from that moment on more open. More accepting and more free! Sherri understood the concept of choice with a new wisdom.
About the author:
Paul Bunting uses his understanding of “The 5 Elements” as a Transformation Coach in areas of wellness, business, personal health/fitness and emotional well being.