Some context: The last two months I’ve been working and traveling with my partner, my cat and my camper van through Spain and Portugal. It was a great experience for several reasons. The story below happened on the Beach of Nazaré in Portugal.
My partner and I went to Nazaré hoping to see some big wave surfing. But things went differently when we went to the beach the day of the good forecast for big waves.
We had brought some trash bags to collect trash at the beach. Our plan was to do so while watching surfers. The waves were big but also messy, so no surfers were out there. Anyway we had some great views on impressive waves and all the people that fought the wind and the rain as well.
When we went back to our van over the beach, we started to fill our trash bags. Slowly walking and picking up the stuff you encounter. You know how it goes; the more trash you collect the more you see.
At the point that our bags were quite heavy and I thought it’s time to leave the beach we bumped into a very dirty part. First of all it was discouraging because I felt we already collected a lot but it was nothing compared to what was lying here. And second it felt too much for the two of us to collect.
Anyway we started to work on this part and I saw some people further down the beach taking photos and watching waves. I thought to myself: ’I should ask them to help, it would go way faster’. But I also had this voice saying: ’But it’s awkward to ask that. What if they say no.’
From here I had a full fight in my head between the voices saying: ’ask these people for help’ and ’I feel too uncomfortable to ask that’. Until the point I said to my partner: ‘I’m going to ask people to help.’ And I still didn’t do it…
And yet it helped to express this, because it felt like there’s no turning back. So I started asking people: ’Do you want to help?’
And I got responses ranging from ’Yes, sure!’ to ’No, I’m going back to my car now’.
The summary of this is that approx. 15 people cleaned that part of the beach and we finished just before the water came.
I was euphoric because it’s so cool to clean up a stretch of beach with strangers and I was so proud that I had conquered my inner struggle.
Full of energy and chatty we went back to the van until I discovered that I lost my phone...
Long story short: at the point where I had accepted that I wouldn’t get my phone back, someone picked up my phone when my partner called and I was able to get it back.
But before that I really wondered: ’What is this karma trying to teach me?’
What I want to point out is that from a distance it often looks so obvious what the right thing to do is. And easy when it’s done. But we often don’t know what’s happening within someone. Let’s be curious and have compassion for ourselves and others. And celebrate yourself when we overcome these struggles until you lose your phone:)
Do you recognize these kinds of situations?