The day I left for my ancestral journey to Norway, my right eye started to feel irritated. Later, during the 9-hour flight, my eye started to turn pink.
Uh oh, I thought. Pink Eye? I’ve been waiting for this trip for months, only to get pink eye the day I leave … ?
So I spent my first day in Norway wearing glasses, something I almost never do, and it was a small miracle I even had them with me.
But instead of succumbing to anger or annoyance, I decided I was not going to let pink eye ruin my ancestral journey. I turned to the universe and said, “What do I need to believe for this to be gone by tomorrow?” I heard, “Believe it’s done.” So that’s what I did. I made the choice for it to be gone by the next day and it was.
A day later, I noticed that the seam in my sweater had torn.
I had packed lightly, so it was a piece of clothing I had planned on wearing a lot (read every day) over the next two weeks, and now it had a 2-inch hole in it! Besides, it was my favorite sweater.
Determined not to let this hole get in my way, I set my mission to find a sewing kit in Norway and I asked the Universe for help.
Several hours later, I was empty handed. I decided to take a break and venture into a department store that was selling Bunads, the Norwegian folk costume. I love Bunads. They are colorful, fun and add an element of ancestral connection I find missing as an American.
Anyway, as I looked at every belt, shoe and blouse, I noticed, hidden in the corner, next to the shoes, there was a knitting supply area.
Imagine the women’s clothing department at Macy’s selling knitting supplies right next to the shoes. How often does that happen?
I immediately made a beeline for the yarn, hopeful that I might find a needle and thread, and miracle of all miracles, I found exactly what I needed. The thread was the exact color of my sweater.
I went back to the hotel and sewed it up. You could barely tell there was ever a hole. (Thanks, Mom, for teaching me how to sew when I was a kid!)
Two days later, as we prepared to leave Oslo and board a train for Flam, the zipper slider slid right off my brand new boots.
The pink eye and sweater I could deal with, but the shoe situation was problematic. I only had one other pair of shoes with me and they were not the right kind of shoes for most of my trip.
I sat down on the hotel bed, put my head in my hands and screamed (quietly, because we were in a hotel).
Then I tried everything I could imagine to get the zipper slider back onto the zipper. Nothing worked. I also noticed that the zipper had pulled apart from the boot leather; the seam was unraveling.
I paced the floor, angrily.
I shouted to Scott, “What the #$%! am I supposed to do now? We have to leave for the train in an hour and I can’t wear these other shoes!”
I began to seriously question the benefits of travelling light. Under other circumstances, I would have had three or four pairs of shoes with me.
So there I sat, wondering what to do, and I realized I had a choice: I could fight this or call on Divine help for a solution.
It was then that I told the Universe I was willing to do whatever was needed to create a functional boot for my trip and would it please give me some suggestions. This or something better, I added, for good measure.
I immediately had the idea to cut the bottom of the zipper, so I got the only scissor-like thing I had with me – my nail clipper – and hacked away at the bottom of the zipper.
Once it was cut, I re-threaded the zipper slider onto the zipper and sewed the seam and the bottom of the zipper back together (because I had needles and thread due to my sweater fiasco), then I used safety pins to ensure the pull would not come loose again.
Did I mention the only reason I had safety pins in the first place was because I received an intuitive message to pack them? They were a last minute “toss this in the suitcase” kind of gesture. (I also got an intuitive message to take a sewing kit, but I ignored that one. Duh.)
Fortunately, the fix lasted the rest of my trip and all was well …
Yet I wonder: what message was the universe trying to tell me. Was I coming apart at the seams? I certainly was literally, but how about metaphorically?
Or was it all some kind of test in letting go and trusting?
All of this happened within the first three days of being in Norway, and I was bound and determined not to let anything stop me from having a fabulous time. As each problem occurred, I had to make a decision. I could have let the pink eye ruin my trip (because I hate wearing glasses, especially in the rain). I could have let the holey (holy?) sweater bum me out. And I could have let my boots get the best of me.
But instead, every time I had a problem I turned it over to the Divine and every time, it resolved itself beautifully, if not “perfectly”, and I was able to forget about each thing almost as soon as it happened.
Norway ended up being the most thrilling experience of my life. I’ll share more about it later, but for now ask yourself this question:
When things go bad, what do you do?
Do you struggle and try to will your way toward a solution?
Do you give up in exasperation?
Or do you surrender to the Divine and ask for guidance?
The choice is yours to make, but I’ve found that the last option usually yields the best results.