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Being Unflappable

Perhaps it’s out-of-sight, out-of-mind thinking. Perhaps it’s getting older. Perhaps it’s the joys of traveling during Covid times which have added all kinds of hitherto unknown restraints and additional costs, but it feels like our annual travels in the past were a whole lot easier.

During the past five weeks Tom and I having been traveling in Spain, but we have found ourselves crankier and more on edge than ever before. It’s not the challenges of getting by in another language – we’ve done that many times before, and my Spanish is passable, but from the very beginning there have been hurdles and obstacles that have brought out the worst in us.

After several days of snapping nastily and constantly at each other, we knew something had to change. Not only was it making our trip miserable, but it was not the way we wished to treat each other, nor was it the way we wished to be in life. So, we sat down as we often do when things get out of alignment. We acknowledged that sometimes life brings irritations, that sometimes stuff just happens – but we also reminded each other that we have the tools to be more than just automatic reaction-machines. We knew that by making a conscious decision we could effect an inner shift so that we could be calmer, happier, and fully enjoy our travels with each other.

Taking the time to stop, we did some deep breathing and a few moments of meditation. We made the decision that we would no longer let petty irritations get to us and then we stated our intention to be “unflappable”.

But once uttered, it seemed that fate was doing everything it could to put our oath to the test. From the seemingly simple task of printing boarding passes because Ryanair will ding you ridiculous charges if you miss even one of their requirements…and finding that all the print shops showing on Google are no longer in business…requiring us to walk back and forth across town during the heat with a sore knee just to find out that it’s now siesta time and everything is closed…to having a phone stolen right out of your hand in Barcelona…to foolishly pouring wiper washing fluid into the radiator tank of the rented car…to being unable to access your bank account because they seem to have decided to change everything on their website at the exact time you have chosen to travel and the only way to confirm your account is via the Canadian sim card from the phone that was stolen!!!

All in all, it started to become a cluster f*ck of amazing proportions.

And, of course, just when you thought it couldn’t possibly get any worse: Google maps takes you to the wrong side of a mountain and with a mere half hour before your hotel reception closes, just as you make a u-turn to head back through the maze of narrow streets with throngs of people walking higglety, pigglety all over the road, you feel a sudden sharp, burning sensation in your leg. It seems some creature has decided that you need even one more challenge in order to observe your inability to remain unflappable.

Finally settled into the hotel room with cream from the pharmacia to ease the massive red swelling on your inner thigh, you discover that it’s a bank holiday throughout Spain and there are no tickets left for the very attraction you are booked into this extremely expensive hotel to attend!!!

More deep breathing. More meditation.

Getting online, we book tickets for two days hence which requires two more nights in the uber expensive (for us) hotel. Thanks, oh mighty tester of human intentions. We hear you loud and clear. We intend to slow down and savor whatever life has to offer. With Tom’s reminder that ‘we are so blessed and that every day contains magic’, we resolve to try again. This time we invite in some magic with the delightful incantation I first heard from the whimsical artist/writer Sark, “serendipity find me!” and we make our intention again to remain – somehow, against all odds – unflappable, with a side order of playfulness thrown in. Stay tuned…we’ll keep you posted.

– written by Michele Hall (aka Mrs. Transit) 2021