July 15

To Stress, Or Not To Stress: A Blessing In Balinese Disguise


Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it.

―Ann Landers

I wrote last week about the possibility that there are no problems, just a series of situations, some of which we have no control over, and cannot change. Within each situation, we can make a choice; we either choose to try to hold on to that uncontrollable and increasingly frustrating ‘what the hell is this’ place – or we can choose to move on. If we do choose to move on, strangely enough, we enable a degree of control from the seemingly uncontrollable. We gain momentum from stepping out of that deep, oozy, sticky mud holding us rock solid, and gain a new appreciation of our blessings, and are able to control our emotional responses, our stress levels, and our overall levels of satisfaction and contentment.

Over the last week, myself, my little unit of family amazingness, and some great friends have been #stuckinbali (yes, there’s an official hashtag), not knowing for five days whether we were confirmed on a flight home, or even where we were sleeping. Meanwhile, at home, and in my business, commitments needed to be moved, rescheduled, reorganised – because of course the world didn’t stop turning just because I was waiting for a cloud of ash to lift.  

From the moment the news of the volcano impacted us, I cracked down hard onto that cycle of control. You know how it goes – run around like a blue-arsed fly in panic, hyperventilate, start to explore how to ensure you can stay on top of what happens next, try everything in your power to appear as the most important person out of the thousands that needs to get home… and then.

Reality. The resignation that there is nothing you can do after endless phones calls and e-mails, the sodden hiccuping breakdown in tears (granted, this could just be me) and then, the choice:

Control and stress – or let go and be.

Looking back now, I lost two whole days stressing about getting home, after being told repeatedly it would be the 30th July at the earliest, then proceeding to attach myself to every digital device possible, talking incessantly about the lack of ‘communication’ (another blog on this to come); feeling low, stressed and out of control. I was even shedding tears at the buffet breakfast when the coffee didn’t taste quite right!  

When, all along, I knew in my head and heart that at the end of the day, the powers that be would get us out of Bali, and that it is in their interests to do so as quickly as possible (especially when faced with my social media efforts). In the meantime, we could choose to have some #stuckinbali fun (as seen in the #stuckinbali photo efforts)…


Now, I get that there could be worse places to be stuck. I mean, seriously, a tropical island! There was sunshine when at home, they were experiencing the worst winter ever; there were cocktails on tap… and equally I appreciate that there are many in significantly worse situations – those that haven’t even had the opportunity for a much needed and much saved for holiday, and also those stranded in Bali with no cash and no insurance. 

I saw the range of choices that were being made: the cup half full versus cup half empty; the anger and blame versus appreciation and trust. 

I am very much looking forward to heading home, as I sit here waiting for my flight, and I can definitely support what I have written. You do only ever face situations. Your opportunities to make choices don’t stop; your experiences don’t ever end. We simply keep growing and learning, and these are blessings indeed.

For me, my #baliblessings have been: 

  1. Understanding that panic leads to fear – which in turn leads to a crippling of clarity of thinking 
  2. You shouldn’t expect things to be 100% perfect. Instead, appreciate what others are doing to help you. I was amazed at the care and apologies shared – that goes for the Jetstar call centre staff,through to the local taxi drivers and restaurant owners, to the staff at the #holidayinnbaruna when trying to organise a family of five needing accommodation on a daily basis, to my tribe and their understanding of the situation, my gorgeous clients and their willingness to rejuggle workshops and meetings – and my team for holding the fort. 
  3. Don’t underestimate the collaborative nature of social media – I was thrilled with the virtual connection, fun, conversation and business opportunities generated (again, another blog later). 
  4. When it’s clear, after going in to damage control and back-up plan creation,  that you can’t control what’s next – have the courage to let go, and the faith that all will be fine. 
  5. Control the things that you can, keep your energy positive, be grateful for what you have, and know that there always is a learning or a positive however vague it may seem now, if you choose to see it.

Above all, for me it’s been about this. Don’t let the negativity kick in and take away the fabulous memories and experiences, the wonderful cultural learnings, the beauty of Bali and its people and this moment in time that we have created as a family. 

At the end of the day – I am grateful for the time we had together, the chance to rejuvenate, and, above all, that we are safe, healthy, happy and together. 

Terima kasih for a great holiday, Bali. 

Now – I choose to go home!

janine blue logo


Bali, Blessings, Choice, Collaborate, Janine Garner, LBDGroup, Stress

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