I can honestly say that I don’t get attached to “stuff.” In fact, I can count on one finger the item that would bring me great sadness if I lost it. That finger is my ring finger and that item is my wedding ring.
You can probably guess where this is going…
Yes, I lost my wedding ring at the beginning of my recent trip to Italy. It was actually stolen from my purse that I left on the plane. I discovered that I forgot my purse soon after I deplaned in Rome. Long story short, I got the purse back with all the contents inside except 100 euros and my wedding ring.
Of course, I had a moment of shock and disbelief. Tears welled up in my eyes and I literally felt the loss in my body. After pulling myself together, I went into problem-solving mode. The purse was not abandoned that long. All I needed to do was establish who found the purse and what the chain of custody was between the airplane cleaning crew and Airport Lost and Found. This is hard to do when you don’t speak the language and airline/airport personnel were not interested in helping. Long story short, I bounced around Rome airport without any progress. The only option given to me was to file a report with the Carabinier (Italian Police) at my final destination. Really? How is a local police department possibly going to do a meaningful investigation? With that, I felt hopeless and knew that it was very likely that I would not get my ring back. My brain was high jacked with all kinds of thoughts centered around guilt, despair, anger, grief, frustration.
The downward spiral lasted until we landed in Verona. From that point on, I made a conscious decision to tune back into the present moment and use the tools and teachings that I have been cultivating for the last 10 years. Which includes a deep dive into the Science of Positive Psychology, my yoga studies, my meditation practice along with following the work of Abraham Hicks, Byron Katie, Eckhart Tolle, Wayne Dyer, Marianne Williamson, and Deepak Chopra. Needless to say, I’ve done A LOT of work on understanding how the mind works and learning how to manage my mind. This work has paid off in my daily life. I suffer far less than I used to over challenging situations and have found more peace in my life. Now with that said, not reacting to a difficult conversation or losing a parking space is a lot easier than losing my wedding ring. This was truly a significant challenge to practice what I’ve learned.
Here is how I found a way out of suffering.
- I worked my way up Abraham Hicks’ emotional guidance scale. Although I started at the bottom with grief and powerlessness, I moved up to guilt, then to anger, then to disappointment. I was softening but clearly had more work to do.
- I managed my energy. I believe that time and money are forms of energy. Yes, my ring was a big loss but wasting my present moments stuck in negative emotion only compounds the loss. OK…feeling a bit better.
- I used the power of gratitude. I was grateful that not everything was taken from my purse. My credit card, most of the cash, my watch, and my wedding band was still there. Positive emotions are building.
- I got centered in the present moment. I was celebrating my 50th birthday…with one of my dearest friends…on a retreat…in ITALY. I began to absorb the significance of that blessing. That moved the needle!
- I found some perspective. The dear friend that I was traveling with, unintentionally, lent a boatload of perspective. She had recently and unexpectedly lost her husband of 25 years. How could I not accept my loss when she graciously continues to navigate one of the greatest losses ever? That really moved the needle!
- I committed to finding enthusiasm, joy, and happiness in every moment of this trip. I savored the views, the food, and the wine of Italy. I leaned into all the new experiences and deeply connected with the most amazing people that I met along the way. I feel so much better just by acting my way into it.
By sharing this experience, my hope is that you can use some of these practices to navigate your own losses and find some degree of peace. I’m back home and admittedly continue to have some negative emotions around this situation. But, before I go too far down that road, I remind myself that someone may be able to steal my wedding ring, but they can never take away the love I feel for my husband, or the commitment I have to my marriage. Now that thought feels good!
Abraham Hicks came up with a series of emotions that can help you move from feeling bad to feeling better about whatever you are experiencing just by choosing a new thought. Give it a try.