I won Dancing with the Stars on the Cruise

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Nov
4

Larry and I arrived home on Sunday after our 2 week cruise to Australia. We really enjoyed the cruise, especially the food, staff and entertainment. We spent many hours just being together, dancing, reading, and loving one another. One of the highlights for me was winning the jive for “Dancing with the Stars.” What a thrill to perform with my dance partner in the theatre in front of a few thousand people. I really felt like a STAR.
It feels like something has “shifted” inside of me since the cruise and I don’t know what it is, but I know something is different. I am giving myself time to process it. I made the decision before I left to completely “unplug” from the world, which meant no phone, email, texts or Facebook for 2 weeks. I knew I would miss it, but I didn’t want anything to distract me from “living in the moment” and my time with Larry. I felt excited because I sensed it was going to be a powerful time together. My intention was to relax, be peaceful, be in the moment, have fun, pray, play, rest, enjoy, dance & be a vessel of love. I experienced all of the above and more.
I journaled daily so I was able to look back over the days and see what transpired for me. After we arrived on the MS Noordam and got settled into our room, Larry and I made a commitment to one another that we would not complain about anything, but be grateful for everything that happened. I immediately started a gratitude book that I wrote in daily.
Although there were many things to be grateful for, we had lots of “opportunities” to practice our commitment not to complain about anything. There are always lessons to be learned in life and it takes practice to become a master at what you are learning. We were learning about living in the NOW because it is all we have. The next minute is not promised. I asked myself, “Do I want to waste this precious moment complaining because I don’t like what’s happening or will I choose to be grateful, knowing that whatever is happening is for my highest good and a gift and opportunity to grow and learn?”
After only 5 days of cruising on the ocean, I woke up feeling a sense of “boredom.” I missed Maui, my girlfriends, my painting and my phone! I tried not to judge myself (a cruise of a lifetime with my beloved and I am feeling bored, what is wrong with you girl?) I shared it with Larry and he had just finished reading something from Eckhart Tolle’s book “Stillness Speaks” that talked about boredom. Tolle wrote, “Just feel it, just like you would sadness or anger. Go into it, rather than giving it meaning, because it’s not you.”
As I sat with it and prayed about it, I realized that I am fearful sometimes when I have nothing to do or nothing planned, even though I love the days where nothing is planned and I let the day unfold naturally. I still feel some anxiety when I don’t know what the next thing I am going to do is rather than enjoying the moment, living in the NOW and going with the flow. I asked myself, “Is this about my need to control and needing to know what’s next?” It definitely was. Since living in Maui, I have been practicing going with the flow and living in the moment so I was surprised to see there was more healing that I needed. It feels like I am being invited to a deeper level of BEING, trusting and letting go of control. Since I have come home, I feel more peaceful and relaxed. I haven’t “hit the ground running” like I always do when I return from a trip.
We had a wonderful experience on our cruise, but I am so happy to be home. I’ve discovered that I’m not a true and blue traveler and missed Maui and our home digs.

Pat shared that we had decided not to complain about anything, but to stay in a place of gratitude, acceptance and peace. A few occasions arose that truly challenged me to practice this. First of all, after 5 or 6 days on the ship I started to get a sore throat that turned into a full blown cold and cough. My response to that in the past would have been, “Poor me, I paid all this money on a cruise anticipating a wonderful time and I get sick.” But I didn’t go there and didn’t complain. Then Pat got sick which was kind of expected. She also stayed positive and was able to function well. We spent lots of time reading, relaxing and spending quality time together, which is exactly what the doctor ordered.

I’m reading Eckhart Tolle’s book “Stillness Speaks” in which he suggests that we are not our thoughts, we are not our sickness or trials, we are “WHO” is aware of them. He invites us to not take our thoughts to seriously, to not own our sickness or trials and to not hold onto them, but to allow ourselves to go through them to the other side, to awareness. With these intentions in mind, this is what I tried to do when I got sick. I was only incapacitated for one day, then started to feel better. Pat spoke to the doctor on the ship and he told her these coughs were lasting for 7-14 days and his lasted for 6 months.

The second challenge came after we disembarked from the ship at 8 a.m. in the morning. The taxi picked us up to take us to our hotel. Our flight back to Maui was at 9:30 p.m., so we had all day to tour Sydney. We booked a hotel for the day through Travelocity so we could relax and take a shower before our 10 hour flight back.

The taxi cab driver kept driving around in circles trying to find the hotel (as I watched his meter going higher and higher.) Would you believe there was no hotel when we arrived at the address given to us? We tried calling the hotel, but there was no answer. There we were at 9 a.m. in the morning with 6 suitcases and no hotel for us to stay. It would have been so easy for me to feel angry, frustrated and fearful, but I didn’t go there. I was able to almost see the comedic aspect of the whole thing as I looked over at Pat with her eyes closed repeating, “Everything is flowing with peace, ease and grace, everything is flowing with peace, ease and grace.”

Meanwhile, the cab had pulled over to the curb and stopped in front of another hotel. I asked the manager of the hotel if he had a room available and he said, “Yes, but you are lucky because they were completely booked for Friday and Saturday. So we were able to get a room right away at the same price we had paid for at the phantom hotel.

We made plans for the same taxi driver Sam to pick us up at 7:00 p.m.and drive us to the airport for our flight at 9:30 p.m. We waited for him in front of the hotel until 7:15 p.m. but no cab driver in sight. We knew if we didn’t leave very soon we would miss our flight. We called another taxi company that arrived ten minutes later and off we went racing to the airport. Again, we didn’t complain and didn’t allow fear, frustration, or anger to enter our energy. On the way to the airport, I turned to Pat and said, “We have to send “Sam” love and forgiveness” and she agreed.

I am learning little by little that if I can live in the moment and trust the energy of love, situations can be resolved in a way that doesn’t require us to get upset, stressed out and life is so much more enjoyable. I’m really happy that after all these years I am beginning to remember that I always have a choice, in difficult situations: to get frustrated, angry and stressed out or to stay present in the moment and trust there is an energy, if I am open to it that is peaceful and will offer a solution to the problem.

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Pat Hastings

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