What’s your View?

Last week, I got bitten by something. I was in Philadelphia to speak at the 34th Annual Yoga Research Society Conference and I woke up in the middle of the night with what looked like multiple bites on my leg. I was horrified and became quite nauseous. Even though it was an upscale hotel, I wondered whether it was bed bugs. The next day, I ended up filing a report with hotel security and they moved me to another room. I had the foresight to take pictures of my leg. Although I was still nauseous and ended up taking an earlier train back to New York, my workshop was well received. I was grateful for that.

Since I was still nauseous the next day, and was about to travel to Florida, my mom prompted me to go to the doctor just in case. My nephew had looked up various bites on the internet and we determined it may be a spider bite which could have very serious effects. As soon as the doctor looked at my leg, she started getting nervous – which, of course, made me nervous. As I was thinking ‘how bad could it really be?’, she said “you have MRSA – a superbug.” That diagnosis, and the information she gave me, sounded awful. She sent me home with prescriptions for three different antibiotics and instructions on how to dress my “wound.” Since the area on my leg was thought to be contagious, I had to wash my hands constantly and change the dressing every four hours. On top of all of that, I had to avoid the sun because of the antibiotics.

As I landed in Fort Lauderdale (with my host of medicines), it was a perfect beach day. For weeks, I had been looking forward to catching some sun and finally getting a moment to rest. Now things had obviously changed. I could have been quite miserable since the weather was gorgeous outside, and I was banished inside. However, instead when I walked into my room overlooking the ocean, I was once again extremely grateful. I decided to make the most of my enclosed balcony and beautiful view. I sat on the balcony for most of my meals. At nightfall, after my scheduled panel discussion, I walked on the beach. Early in the morning, before the sun was blazing, I walked some more. I was delighted to simply feel the sand and ocean water on my feet. Even though my initial plans had to be changed, and I missed out on suntanning and many of the yoga workshops I had intended to take, I still enjoyed myself immensely. The experience reminded me of this Buddha quote:

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become.”

The day after I returned from Florida, I went to an infectious disease specialist (that in itself was a scary thought!). The results of my blood test and culture came back negative. With that, and a look at the picture of the original “wound”, the doctor concluded that I probably had an allergic reaction to a spider bite after all. I did not have MRSA, and thus didn’t have to take all of those antibiotics and, therefore, could have enjoyed some beach time!! At that moment, I could have been upset. However, I was relieved and simply called my mom to ease her mind.

Instead of thinking “woe is me”, I had decided to focus on the good. I was able to see the beauty around me and experience joy despite altered circumstances. I am so grateful for my habit of gratitude and the constant reminder that life is about perspective. Take a moment and think about what lenses you are viewing the world through. Are you looking for the good or dwelling on the bad? Make a commitment to check your view from time to time so you can see things from a higher perspective. Read more in “The Power of… PERSPECTIVE.”

With Purpose & Power,