Sometimes you have to fight fear, let it know who’s boss.
Trip of a Lifetime
Almost three years ago, in November 2017, I was in New South Wales, Australia. I wanted to study Reiki from Frans Stiene and at the time his next Reiki I class was in his home base, the Blue Mountains north of Sydney.
It was my first time in Australia and I enjoyed every minute of my short time there. The class lasted a weekend, but I was allowed an extra day to overcome the jet lag from my fourteen hour flight. Wandering around the beautifully landscaped grounds of the International House of Reiki Tomah Retreat, there were new garden vignettes at every turn. Most noteworthy, an adult tree house rose near a garden with camellias blooming just beyond. Next I found a small pond with koi. Wandering farther, I found a labyrinth of low growing shrubs. As I walked the circle, I wondered what the weekend would bring.
The class far exceeded my expectations. And what fun to be the only American with eight Australians from all over the continent. Sunday arrived sooner than expected and we started thinking about heading home. Luckily, one of the other Reiki students lived in Sydney and she not only let me ride along, she delivered me directly to the front desk of my downtown 5-star, glass wonder Sydney hotel. That’s real Australian hospitality!
Similarly, the glass exterior was repeated in the room design. The bathroom was almost like one of those scenes in a carnival house of mirrors, where you think it’s the way out only to find, once again, you took a wrong turn. The difference was this hotel was elegant, warm and inviting. Something about the bathtub drew me to it. Maybe it was the marble tile edge, or the reflection of the soothing turquoise green plexiglas by the sink. I thought, what a nice way to relax before venturing out to find an evening meal.
In contrast, the prefab tub and shower combination at home was not at all inviting. But the non-slip coating on the tub floor and the rounded edge were just what I needed to hoist my plus-size body out of an Epson Salt bath I’d had a few months prior.
What Could Go Wrong?
I gently lowered myself into the warm water. The lovely scent of the bath gel and the softness of the washcloth reminded me what 5-star quality feels like. My arthritic knees were soothed and soon my toes were wrinkled as the water cooled. I reached forward and was surprised how easy it was to reach the drain release.
“What’s different here?” I asked myself.
I proceeded to turn my body sideways in order to get to my knees, which is the only way I can get out of the tub at home. But I couldn’t turn. The tub was too small and I was too big. Uh-oh. I sat upright as fear swept over me.
“I can’t get out,” I murmured.
“Okay, okay. Just relax.”
I took three cleansing breaths. That felt better. How about throwing my leg over the edge onto the floor? I tried, but I didn’t have enough strength to overcome the weight of my ample butt and I slipped right back in.
As I sat there, naked, damp, getting cold, all I could imagine was the shame of being found by the cleaning lady the next day. There it was, the look of disgust on her face. That’s when I started to get angry with myself.
“Dammit, there has to be some way I can get myself out of here.”
Will This Never End?
Sometimes you have to fight fear. Certainly the slight adrenaline rush of my anger helped me. I tried to get purchase behind me on the marble edge of the tub. My butt was off the bottom of the tub, my feet pressed against the end by the drain. I slipped. I got more angry. Through sheer will, I managed to find the strength to get up far enough to scoot one foot beneath me, pain searing through my knee. I fumbled myself into a partially upright position and managed to throw my left leg over the edge and onto the floor.
I lay crumpled on the floor weeping with relief. As I crawled to my knees, I lay my forearm over the toilet, gripping the side and was finally upright. I toweled off and pulled the plush bathrobe around myself, covering my nakedness, still trembling.
Exhausted, I found the menu and ordered room service; hamburger, fries and a Diet Coke. As I took my first bite, I closed my eyes, savored the texture, aroma, and charbroiled flavor of the best hamburger I’ve ever eaten.
Sated, I walked to my window and watched the lights come on as darkness descended. Right below me, across the street was Sydney’s Town Hall, a beautiful, historic Victorian building dwarfed by the towering modern skyscrapers.
“I know how you feel, old friend. But we endure, don’t we.”
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