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Seeking Peace During The Storm

Updated: Jan 1, 2022

The trip to Rio de Janiero, Brazil for the 2016 Summer Olympics was finally here. I was so excited to go, especially since I missed my Sept 2015 trip to Dubai with my girlfriends. That was the month I admitted myself into the hospital for the first time for this illness and didn’t make it out until a month later. So this trip here, meant the world to me. I needed a break from “what was”, I needed to get away from my current surroundings and needed to find some peace and happiness. Now I understand that peace and happiness lies within your heart, and that is not something you can search for, I believe that it is something that you have to manifest within you. But sometimes you have to clear your mind from the stressors that surround you and ground yourself so that you can manifest that peace and happiness that you seek. And sometimes in order to do that you have to go away and change your surroundings. Get away from what is reminding you of your pain and holding you down.

Well that’s exactly what I did. I took a trip to Rio for the Olympics. I got a nice flat to stay in and learned the transit system to get around to all the Olympic events. Once again I did not take my supplemental oxygen but I did make sure I had my medications. Rio was amazing, it was so colorful and the culture was so rich. Everyone there I met was super friendly and very helpful when it came to navigating the city. I was able to stay not far from a “favela” (low income area in the city), and I would walk around the area and meet locals. There was somewhat of a language barrier because I don’t speak Portuguese, but they seemed to know enough English to communicate with me well. Along with taking in the sites, I had to walk almost miles to get to my Olympic events I had tickets for. This was truly a wake up call for me. Walking these distances after getting off the transit was brutal. I had to constantly drink water and stop and take breaths every 200 to 400 feet. It was so horrible. I would feel like my chest was tight and not allowing air to flow in. It was difficult to take in deep breaths and I never felt like I was getting enough air in my lungs. But because I was a former collegiate athlete for that matter, I knew how to push through and eventually make it. I managed to get around well, considering my horrible condition. But once again I was playing with my life by not using my oxygen. I wanted to overcome this so bad and didn’t want to be dependent on that device.

I had a chance to see the Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer Statue). It was the last train that was taking people up the mountain and the weather was not the best with severe fog, very cool, and it was dusk out. Nevertheless I made it to the mountain and was able to look up to the sky to visualize this amazing statue that stood before me. It was incredible, it was so high up the mountain and with the clouds so low touching my cheeks I felt closer to God than ever before. It was such a regal, majestic feeling that surrounded me being in the presence of this great Wonder of the World.

I found a small chapel that was under the base of the statue. I went inside, although it was roped off. It was a small chamber like space that could only maybe fit 15 people comfortably. It was well lit, with fresh flowers and sanctuary furniture, similar to what you would see in a Catholic Church. There was a small altar in the front that could be used to pray. I walked up to it and literally fell to my knees. I grew up Methodist and I definitely believe in God and Jesus Christ. But I am no saint at all. I’m not the one to study the Bible back and forth, and I’m the type to attend church if I get up on time. If not I will catch it online, or just say a prayer when I wake up and go on about my day. I consider myself more spiritual than religious if you were to ask me.

But on this day, in this moment, at this particular spot on Earth, something came over me and I took the opportunity to pray, and cry, and pray, and cry for almost 45 mins. I asked God to help me accept the “now”, help me to change the way I look at myself now, help me to be more empathetic despite what I am going through, I asked for clarity, for guidance, for peace and hope. I just wanted God or a higher power to flow through me and fill my cup with everything I needed to get through what I was going through. I cleared my mind and just focused and meditated on the words I was saying. This allowed me to believe that everything I was saying would be manifested. I left Brazil not high on the olympics necessarily, but on the experience I had at Christ the Redeemer Statue. I almost felt like I was led to go on the trip just so I could have that divine experience there.

When I returned to work after the trip, I was much more pleasant, refreshed, and empathetic. I was now working mostly in pediatrics in an underserved population, and my level of compassion was at an all time high.

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