My wife and I recently experienced the joys of cruising with a very diverse international crowd through the Mediterranean Sea. The towns, cities, villages, and ports in the south of Spain, France, and the coasts of western Italy are certainly breathtaking and majestic.
It is truly amazing to walk the same cobblestone streets and climb the stone steps that over thousands of years historic figures such as Spartacus, Julius Caesar, Augustus, Galileo, and citizens of the former Pompeii strolled.
Legend says even Neptune and Triton lived in the seas around these beautiful rock islands.
It’s not just old dead guys though. Opera sensation Andrea Bocelli, rocker Lenny Kravitz, tennis superstar Rafael Nadal, fashion designer Valentino, and singer, song writer, and actress Beyoncé and her rap star husband Jay Z are known visitors and residents.
Sponge Bob Square Pants and his starfish sidekick Patrick have been reportedly spotted in the waters as well.
Even if you’re not a contemporary jet-setter who hangs out with Beyoncé (call me!) on the island of Capri off the coast of Italy, you are likely familiar with the ocean rock formation named the “Faraglionis” (meaning lighthouse in Italian).
Fragrance company Dolce & Gabbana made this natural beauty famous in advertisements for their Light Blue brand.
Faraglioni Islands – Capri
Caprese… Gelato… Pizza
Have you enjoyed a Caprese salad, which originated in Capri? Tasted a smooth creamy Gelato, the modern version of which is from Italy? Shared a pizza, which originated in Napoli (Naples), Italy?
I’ve delighted in all many, many times, and have decided that this is my new daily nutrition plan. Balanced, yeah! There’s a good chance that you have too, and thus are a cultural citizen of this region.
Most days were spent visiting the local sites and locales. Long days led to long and deep conversations back on the ship, swapping stories of the people, food, architecture, and travels.
One such conversation was a little different. A fellow passenger recounted a time on a previous cruise when he was relaxing in the hot tub after a long day with a few other people.
Hot Tub Conversation
As people left the steamy hot water for their rooms and to eat for the 12th time that day, two persons remained. My cruise friend – you know the people you’ll look for to hang out while on the ship like you’re best buds, even though you’ve only known him for maybe 36 hours, and that you will never, ever see again – looked over to the other guy in the boiling water to engage him in conversation.
After introducing himself, he noticed the gentleman was asleep. A few minutes later he thought he’d try again, but no still response.
This guy either has had a really difficult day while visiting the port, or he sleeps like a bear in hibernation he thought. He poked him gently. He prodded and nudged him. He even shook him. Nothing.
Shock set in. As this fellow passenger continued to share what was now not your normal, “yeah, we took pictures at the Trevi Fountain, walked up the historic Spanish Steps, and had a glass of wine in a cute little sidewalk café” story, I moved in a little closer for the rest of his now intriguing saga.
My cruise bud said of course he notified the staff. They cleared the hot-tub and, yup, he was in cruise heaven. The passenger sadly passed. Not a bad way to go though, laying out in a bubbly bath of steamy water, floating on the water in a giant city in the ocean.
This gentleman’s family was notified by the empathetic captain and staff that their beloved uncle had passed, and they were given an option.
Head Back? Or Head On?
They would be happy to turn the huge boat around and head back to port, or they could – at their choice – put their uncle on ice in the ship’s lower compartment (nowhere near the hundreds of pounds of steaks, shrimp, eggs, or frozen sugary ice creams for the passengers they assured). This would preserve him until they returned home.
Wow, what a dilemma. “What did they do?”, I asked. They choose to put him on ice and continue with their years-in-the-making vacation holiday, he shared.
“Why disrupt our family vacation? Our uncle would have wanted us to continue and enjoy the trip.” This was what the family shared.
I still was somewhat in a state of awe just listening to the story. No examples of “I ate three entrees at dinner”, or “Have you seen the show?”; but a fellow passenger passed away, in the hot-tub, while sitting in it, with people around him…
What Would You Do?
As my friend continued with his story, other guests gathered around to hear more. Someone asked the obvious question: “What would you do if this happened to you?”
I left the conversation (what can I say, another meal was calling…), but was still thinking about my response.
It firstly depends on whom. Many would likely agree with this.
I began to look at this question, and my response, a little differently however. Not necessarily from a family dying perspective, but one of looking ahead, of moving forward, of continuing the journey.
What Can Be…
This family took that to heart. They wanted to look into what can be, not what was in the past.
When a significant, life changing event occurs, it is important to live in it for a moment. How long does this moment need to last? Again, without leaning too much on a “it depends” fallback, it really does depend.
A friend lost not one, but two children over a period of several years. He shared that he should be over this after three months. My response was that he cannot put a (in this case short) limiting time for his emotional recovery. This is not fair to him, and to his moving ahead.
Live In It…
Live in it for a moment. Then move on. Your moment may be minutes, it may be hours, it may take weeks, or months, or possibly years.
Then Move Ahead…
But you must move ahead. You must look forward. You must continue your journey, as this family did.
In Success Principles this is labeled “Complete the Past to Embrace the Future”. In doing this you will live in the present and bring joy back into your life.
Change Your Tomorrow
As Colin Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State under President George W. Bush aptly shared: “None of us can change our yesterdays, but all of us can change our tomorrows.”
Our wonderful cruise continued. We had the chance to visit amazing destinations. We met some pretty interesting and fun people. We enjoyed some amazing delicacies. We looked ahead.
Our car windshields are larger than the rear-view mirrors for a reason: It is important to look back once and a while, to see the road behind.
Focus on What Lies Ahead…
It is more important to focus on what lies ahead though, on our path in front, and to change our tomorrows.
Will You Cruise Forward On Your Amazing Journey?
Are you looking ahead? Is your business setting a path to move forward? Which mirror are you focusing on? Will you put your past on ice and continue your cruise on your amazing journey?