Last weekend, my husband and I went on a trip to the Nacional Park Los Haitises in the Dominican Republic.
This trip was a perfect example of how we can create happiness or misery. It is all up to us. My husband did the research and planning. Then we decided to visit and see if we wanted to invite our Family and go there again at a later date.
But as the weekend approached, I started to think about all the potential challenges I would face. Then I remembered how when I was a child felt so excited about upcoming field trips–Pure joy and excitement!. Of course now I know about all the potential troubles. Heat, mosquitoes, severe thunderstorms, accidents, etc. and I almost did not want to go anymore.
But we had to pay for our reservation anyway, so we went. First I was told by my husband that it would be a four hour ride. Usually 3 hours is tolerable for me. But okay I could deal with a four hour ride (in the Dominican Republic you never know what the condition of a road might be) I figured looking at Google Map that this particular route 103 was like the other highways, – Highway 1 is from Santiago where we live to Santo Domingo and I am fairly familiar with that route (it is the main highway that goes from one side of the country to the other); then Highway 3, then Highway 4 – all very nice.
But then we came to Highway 103. It is very curvy, many patches with lots of holes and not paved-I was very worried about the car! – How many spare tires would be needed on this trip I thought. We were not even sure if this was really the road to our destination.
I was getting more and more upset because after we were well on our way I was told that this would be at least a five hour drive.
In my mind I decided that this was the last trip I am going to take with my husband since the story seems to be changing all the time. I finally decided that instead of focusing on the miserable road to open the window and enjoy the incredible beauty of the scenery. I realized that this was the trade of – Once the roads would be completed and comfortable for anyone to drive; Nature would take a backseat.
Now that I’ve changed my attitude our trip became an amazing adventure and I was able to enjoy the breathtaking beauty of this portion of the country.
We finally arrived at our destination – an Eco Hotel – could I survive the night without Air Conditioning? It was very hot – 95 F. What about the food? Nothing can be taken for granted.
Entrance to one of the Caves at Los Haitises National Park in Samana Area, Dominican Republic
Now we needed to decide what kind of tour we wanted to take the next day. We were told by one of the Tour guides to make sure to take mosquito repellent. I did not think of bringing any. This type of hotel does not sell sundries. Now I got scared — what kind of an adventure would that be. I know in countries like the Dominican Republic things don’t mean quite the same as in the U.S.
You can see people riding mopeds with two or three small kids with them! No problem.
I did not have a good sleep. But that is not unusual for me even with air conditioning. So as I was lying awake I started to think maybe I just take a walk on one of the beautiful trails. But thankfully I decided to go with the tour, which was a boat ride to the caves; the boat stopped at two different cave-entrances and we were able to go inside. It really was an amazing experience. The reader can explore these caves on google further.
In the morning I finally decided to let go of any anxiety and just enjoy the moment.-Trust that everything would be fine.
And everything was not only okay, but absolutely beautiful. It turned out to be a gorgeous day with a breeze. I took a wet towel with me which proved to provide amazing comfort. Where were the dreaded mosquitos? We got to see large caves with amazing beauty; Taino paintings on the walls == Mangroves — a variety of beautiful birds like Pelicans etc. We should have brought our binoculars.
It is worth to go and visit again. (we will bring our family). Now I am very comfortable. Dominican people are very caring and will do anything they can to make anyone comfortable. Yes it is not nearly as organized and regulated as in the US but for that everything is much closer to its natural setting.
Now I am thinking, how much and how many times my constant anxiety and fear of the unknown have robbed me of so much enjoyment in my life. For some of us it has to be a conscious decision again and again to let go, trust and enjoy the moment. That’s what I did as a child naturally. Now I have to make a conscious effort.
How to Stop Worrying and Start Living (truly living). I am a habitual worrier and for some reason I believed throughout my adult life, that worrying would keep me and others from harm. But instead it kept me from enjoying life.
Fortunately, through reading about mindfulness and be more observant about my thoughts — I am now able to change and it is becoming more and more a habit – being present — thinking on purpose about all the things I can be grateful for each and every day..
Still many times especially at night I feel like the whole world’s problems are on my shoulders. I have to make a lot of effort to unload that and be very clear about what I watch or read. — Does it help me in any way, does it motivate me, lift me up? Can I do something about what I see or read? I have mental files and one of them is for useless stuff which I discard on a regular basis.
When I think of my kids and grand kids; the state of our world – it is important to intentionally process the news. The key is not to avoid thinking about the problems, but put them in neat containers or files and only keep the ones we can and will deal with in our mental inbox.
One particular book by Matthieu Ricard — “Happiness” has helped me to live a happier life, to change some of my deep seated but faulty beliefs.