No matter how often I travel to Indonesia (6 times) I am always blown away by the beautiful water, the people, local cuisine and the hospitality. However, this time, as I sat my ass on a beach, I noticed something else. There was an object that attracted my eye and gave me pause; it made me think. It was seemingly so ridiculously inconsequential, but I just knew I was meant to observe it.
My best friend and I staked our claim to a couple of bean bag chairs and set up camp. We undressed down to our swim suits, lathered up with sunscreen and then dropped heavy onto the 1970’s inspired cushions; creating full body outlines. As the sun beat down on us, I was extremely grateful to have a large overhead umbrella creating bearable shade to chill under, while we 'people watched' and drank Bintang, the local beer.
This umbrella was massive; think big and then think bigger.
Because it was directly over our heads, at times, I would look up with squinty eyes at the guts of the umbrella. I observed how strong and sturdy this thing must be in order to endure tropical winds, rain and the intense heat. That “something” that drew my attention was the wood that was used to create the hinges. I thought it was odd how each hinge holding the umbrella open, 8 in total, was “pinned” with completely different items; a nail, a screw, a small stick, a dowel cut perfectly to fit and so on. I don’t remember all of the materials used, but one particular “branch” of this system was remarkably repaired. It looked as though the piece of wood had snapped and another stronger more durable wood was placed along side and then duct taped together. Now that was ingenuity!
Duct tape has clearly made its mark around the world.
For some reason, emotion swept over me. It appeared as if the poor thing had lived a long life and now was being fixed up merely to survive. Back home we would have thrown it away; no good! Doesn’t work! Too much energy to repair! Need newer and better!!! Ugh, and yet this umbrella worked just fine and in fact was doing a phenomenal job of making my sunless sunning experience a complete treat! My mind was racing… wait a minute, the umbrella wasn’t broken at all; it was simply altered at a time when it needed to shift into a stronger more powerful item. In order for it to keep doing the job it was intended for; the umbrella had to take the support and make appropriate changes so it could thrive.
You may not know…
I have used duct tape to hold my heart steady. I have a variety of “pins” throughout my body reminding me of glory days and the moments of mental anguish that brought me crashing to my knees. I have felt the sun beating down on my soul and the windy rain that beat the shit out of me as I held my hands over my face and cried till there were no more tears left to flow. Throughout all of this, I held my ground. I stayed in position ready to continue my life’s work. My feet were and are deeply rooted in the mucky sand that not even my illness, my separation, my fears, my mental grief, my lack of self-love could knock me down and keep me there.
Like a fixed up umbrella, I too, have created a new life.
We are not damaged. We are simply modified from the life we thought we’d have, to the life that is playing out even more spectacularly before us. You and I will always have situations that leave us deeply wounded requiring heavy duty tape to support. But what a mind blowing trip; to be able to constantly renew, revitalize and re-route our lives. Open your umbrella to its maximum intensity and notice how fucking connected, introspective and strong you have become.
Now… seriously… is that someone who’s broken?