Going Home – 7 lessons in 70 days of quarantine (onboard cruise ships)

‘Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light

JK Rowling

Life is fair, normal, usual, routine-like when everything goes as planned, everything falls into place and you get what you wanted. Life is fantastic when you surprise yourself and do even better than you thought! Hey- I probably deserved it – you’d tell yourself. 

It is when life surprises you to the point where you don’t know where to turn to -this is all new to you- and you look up to the sky and ask ‘ why me?’ – ‘why now?’ – ‘why this?’ – that you actually start growing. That there is a shift, that you start questioning yourself, you stop taking things for granted. ( dunno why but Fight Club comes to mind)

Its once we get out of the confort zone that we finally realize that we are at some level a bunch of control freaks, that we cannot master everything and even if we would try- we would fail miserably. Fail to change the un changeable, that which is beyond our power. It’s then we would most probably be still and give ourselves a pat on the back with a disappointed ‘at least I tried’.

Today is the 71st day since my control-free process started- since we entered the quarantine, basically since it all began. Feels like a lifetime. Today is also the last day on the ship!!!!  (For a while) as tomorrow I am supposed to fly home- this time for good ( one more controlling lesson since my last flight cancellation- and with the biggest smile on my face now I will just say- never trust anything till you step into the damn plane!  🤪)

In these past weeks I have filled two notebooks of thoughts, impressions, affirmations, anger, frustrations and practices compassion for me and others. However here you will find just a short outline of what this whole time meant to me. 

In an effortless moment, after packing ( deja vu all over again), I sat on the couch, grabbed a coffee and pondered on what I lessons I am taking home with me tomorrow. 

I know that it has been forever since I saw the world, connected to the land, walked barefoot, played with a dog, hugged a tree (yes I do that sometimes!) and of course saw my loved ones – especially now after the whole virus hysteria.

This is not about the difficulties though- but the overcoming, the process. Slowly, when you’re facing the same situation over and over again, your system starts to defend itself in some ways and starts doing things differently with the aim of lowering the impact and making it easier on yourself. You want to find your own space, your shelter, your bubble (first lesson) and so you feel more like yourself , you find your own element.

For sure the invitation to introspection was something that we all were aware of since the beginning. We observed that finding that space within really helped coping with what’s going on these days, raising your vibration and keeping your mood up became top priority ( at least for me since otherwise hey, had days I didn’t know why I should get out of bed!) 

Hence, maybe we picked up some confidence with meditation, realized it is something we can actually do and it does magic! Talking from experience -meditation (along with writing) were the instruments I knew I had to help me build this shelter, in coping with my emotional fluctuations. (And if you haven’t done yet, you should try it now! I recommend insight timer app for meditation- it’s free, full of options and it even has a timer! As for writing, there are tons of journaling courses, just get a notebook and a pen and let it out!)

On the other hand, when the shit hits the fan, when you are told your flight got cancelled you won’t get on the yoga mat and blissfully close your eyes mumbling ommmms ! No! You simply can’t. You will be angry, dismissive and to hell with everything! What’s the point? Temperature, masks, gloves, washing for the 10,000 time and then repeat? 

Hey I am telling you- it’s normal! You are not alone! We reach the point of fighting it, the rebellion, (2nd lesson)for sure as we want things to be as they used to. Especially because it’s not like we can track it and know at least for how long it will still go. 

We have no idea what the future will look like, we have all these question marks in our heads and nobody can answer us. Damn right we’ll be furious. You know why? Well you got it right- we don’t do well with uncertainty. And once again- you gotta let that out. You have to stop and breathe. Just breathe. 

 It’s been a great lesson of adaptation (3rd lesson) wasn’t it? Not to mention creativity (4th lesson)– how much more obvious can this be for me and you to understand that we create our own reality? Building new habits, unlearning other less useful ones, find that movement is such a great privilege- get out of that confort zone, pay attention to those excuses, whether you create your own workout plan, do some online yoga or take long walks wherever.

After so much resistance and struggle we learn to slowly let go and in the event of even losing more of our freedoms- we learn to do the best with what we have and appreciate simplicity.

Simplicity (5th lesson)- what’s your relationship with simplicity? Didn’t you notice how simple life is and how little you need overall? Self-sufficiency, mindful consumption and constant appreciation (6th lesson) are key here. 

What is there to appreciate? I am sure that during these past weeks we have changed our connection to the world surrounding us- to the elements,nature, animals – we are more appreciative even for the little time we have outside and then of course- our home ( which now became our little universe full of possibilities 😌), food and last but not least connection!. 

If you would ask me what’s my biggest intake in this whole period I will undoubtedly say – friendship ! ( 7th perfected lesson) connected with friends  People that speak my language – and I m not talking about linguistics here – so that you don’t have to translate your soul ( as a saying very well puts it).  We shared, laughed, recollected those good old times and completely forgot about space and time! ( reminds me of this romantic Croatian term ‘pomalo’ which means free from time!) 

Life is made of moments and I must say that these times have warmed my heart and helped me go through those sleepless dark nights. Hardship and adversity is part of the process of learning- but how incredibly interesting it is to see how different we are- how perspectives change, as if we have different set of eyeglasses to reproduce the world around us. 

Each from our own bubble, yet being there for each other, celebrating togetherness, find ourselves in others’ fears, longing for normality, hoping for a better tomorrow. I can say that I mostly cherished this beautiful, compassionate human connection and found that the answer is not only within us, it is also between us!

Tomorrow is my moment – I am finally going home! I have been there for long in my imagination- felt the warmth of my mother, the smoothness of my bed, the green trees and the birds singing. Tomorrow a new chapter begins – for I will step out of the ship- grateful to have received me for all this time, for the people I shared so much and that became my family. Tomorrow I will finally see this new world, real world! Wish me luck, for I haven’t stepped in the plane yet!🤪😁 ✈️ ☀️

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