Getting stung by a jellyfish: What I've learnt
Firstly, a moment of gratitude. I am so lucky that I was able to go to Mexico for Christmas. The weather was gorgeous, the beaches were dreamy and ocean-side yoga wasn't half bad. Before I left I was in a really self-pitying mentality. 2017 had worn me down. Even the excitement of going to Mexico was struggling to lighten my spirits. I was anxious about everything and anything. From tsunamis, lost luggage and cancelled flights. You name it, I was negatively focusing on it. Needless to say I wasn't living in the moment.
When we arrived into our apartment the weather was pretty terrible. On the first day I refused to go in the water because it was too windy. Then, when we finally went in the following day, I was making fun of a family friend who was scared of sharks. I was making gestures in the water to scare him and jokes about not wading out to far. All of this negative karma well and truly bit me back. About 5 minutes later, I was stung by a jellyfish. At first I didn't realise because I was pretty sunburnt and I thought it was just a weird extension of that on my leg. It wasn't until the next day when we were on the bus to Playa del Carmen that it became irritated. My skin began to blister and the heat radiating off the burn was nauseating. It was making walking hard. Rubbing on my jean shorts was really uncomfortable. By the time I got home I had a really bad fever. All I could do was lay on my side, as my kind family members rubbed ibuprofen gel onto the wound and wrapped it in bandages.
It took five days before I could wear shorts or jeans. Every time I took an item of clothing off my legs it would rub and I would wince in pain. Not to mention, the risk of infection became an all-consuming worry. Safety was the air-conditioned room facing the water that I stayed in for days. On doctor's orders I couldn't even expose my leg to sunlight. The irony? I got exactly what I'd been manifesting before the holiday. My vacation was ruined for things that were completely out of my control. I had a choice to make: either get back in the proverbial ocean or continue to wallow in self pity. I chose the former and here are the unintended consequences I received:
The time I took laying on my side in the apartment was full of reflection. Here I was in one of the most beautiful places in the world and I was stuck inside. I had tremendous appreciation for my health. I've been lucky to never really been unhealthy like this before. Also, I missed being able to workout and to stretch - when I did get back to exercise I really appreciated it!
2) Facing fears
Getting back in the ocean after my sting took a lot of confidence. In fact, some of my family thought I was crazy. Burn me twice shame on me and all that. But, water has always been really important to me. Swimming is a sanctuary and I knew if I didn't rip the proverbial band-aid off as quick as possible it might manifest into a genuine phobia. I knew this from experience after the time I fell off a horse - I'm still trying to heal that confidence wound now.
3) Reminder to stay present
Stuck inside, without enough books to read, meant I took the time to really be present. I started up my meditation practice again and scribbled in my Wreck This journal. Finally, when I could go outside again everything was heightened. From the feeling of sun on my shoulders to the sound of the waves crashing. Perspective is everything. I've often heard of people who contract a serious illness, as having an exaggerated version of this. You always have a choice between gratitude and self pity. Take a moment now to be thankful for your health in your life.
4) Beauty isn't everything
Having a pretty horrific scar on my leg forced me to recalibrate my sense of self beauty. It's easy to smile as you look in the mirror when your body is just the way you want it. Be that weight, skin colour or definition-wise. But, having this gory scar that everyone would point at as I walked past made me realise how fragile stereotypical beauty is. When this scar heals I'm even considering covering it with a tattoo representing the ocean - marking my skin has already happened - so what have I got to lose?
5) Control is an illusion
When I was on the plane dreaming up all the terrible ways my trip could get ruined I didn't even consider a jellyfish sting. The point is imagining what could possible happen is a control mechanism. I truly believe that fear in all it's manifestation is an extension of losing control. Maybe you associate losing control, as a negative. I used to. Now, I viewed it as an overwhelming positive. Surrendering to the possibilities to the world can dream up experiences you could never have conceived of. Stay curious and open to let the good times roll.
I'd love to hear if you've had a similar situation that's forced you to reconsider the world around you. As ever, leave a comment down below or drop me a message!
All my love, Sam💖
Ps. Yes, I've started colouring and sketching jellyfishes in some form of cathartic way.