The Road to Spain, Update 4 ~ Mental Readiness

As the countdown calendar on my blog has turned to days (28 as of today) until I arrive in Spain, I feel the pressure mounting to get things done.  I have struggled with an internal battle in my mind—highs and lows—that leave me emotionally exhausted and stressed.

Immersing in the language

Immersing in the language

I suppose it’s only natural considering that I’m short on funds for the trip, wrapping up a challenging high school transition year for my son, and making decisions for a major remodel project on our home that will take place while I’m gone.  It has been hard to put all of that aside and cling to the joy that awaits me in Spain.

Over these last several months, the Lord has stripped me of so many expectations.  It started with the cancellation of a side trip to France to share my testimony.  Then there was the letting go of my desire to speak in Spain.  Last week I had another reality check when I realized that the Spanish Ebook for “Walking My Mother Home” won’t be ready in time.

As painful as those realizations have been, letting go of those expectations is allowing me to focus more on preparing my body, mind, and spirit for the trip.  (See my last Spain update for how I am preparing my body.)

Immersing in the country

Immersing in the country

Immersing my Mind

The biggest task to preparing mentally is to learn Spanish.  Although I took two years of Spanish in high school (way too many years ago), I knew re-learning would be difficult.  I hate having to rely so heavily on this family being my constant translator.  (Lo siento, Pedro.)  Besides that, the last week of my trip I’m on my own.  Regardless of how much I learn by June 24th, I am hoping that being immersed in the language and culture for six weeks will allow the language to just sink in to some degree.

I’ve also been immersing myself in the music, and reading about Spain in my spare time.  My love of Spanish music started three years ago after a gift of CDs from Pedro’s family.  My family has long since tired of hearing them, but not me.  I can almost sing the lyrics myself, but I have no idea what they mean.

Immersing in the music

Immersing in the music

Another way I am preparing for this trip is to de-clutter my mind.  I turned off the audible email alerts on my smart phone.  Unfortunately, I noticed I had an unnerving habit of checking my phone for messages.  (Can anyone relate to that?)  So last week, I unsubscribed to virtually every email list that I was on.  I was shocked to see that I had over 50 bloggers and marketing companies bombarding me with email.

The last piece of immersion I will do over the next few weeks is to re-read parts of my journal and emails during the time that Rosa and I first started to communicate.  I want to be in a frame of mind that makes those memories easy to access so Rosa and I can talk about it.  But if the story immersion doesn’t happen, I’ll need to let go of those expectations as well.

It’s a First!28 Days to Spain

This trip is the trip of a lifetime for me.  At times I fear it may be my only trip to Spain and try to pack in everything I can possibly think of to do or to prepare.  (My day job used to be as a project manager, by the way.)  Other times I am in such awe of how God has orchestrated this relationship and can’t imagine there not being future trips or a full-length book being published. That is the essence of the war that seems to be going on in my mind.

I know my mind will be at ease by the time I step off that plane.  My challenge for the next 28 days is to remember that regardless of whether or not there are future trips to Spain or what gets done in advance, there will never be the anticipation for my first trip to Spain or the first time I meet Rosa.  That is what I need to hold onto over the next four weeks.  That, and lots of prayer are the best defense for my mental readiness for Spain.

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2 Comments

  1. Oh dear Ardis! You are so real and reflect the image of what us humans think like when we focus on “what’s in it for me.” You have been driven to move beyond your comfort zone in so many ways. Scrap any ideas about expectations and now that you have an idea of who you are seeing, what you are going to do, when you are going to do it, where you are going to do it, and you know why you want to do it, I pray that how you do it simply becomes the IS. “This is HOW I’m doing it” because in the moment it will be what it is. This is a great time to relax and simply wrap up your loose ends, sleep well, don’t sweat the small stuff and enjoy today. I need to practice what I preach so this was a great time for me to read your blog. Your trip to Spain will be wonderful if you just take one second at a time. I managed just fine without knowing the language of many places I’ve traveled. It always works out and makes it fun when you have to communicate without knowing each other’s language. You do end up with what you need. I have many testimonies about that. I’m so excited for you!! And….thrilled your blog post reveals your true self so that others can see from reading your story how we can change our thinking to reflect no fear, simply peace, joy and love in what we set out to do. I get off track so often! I wish I could be 24/7 on that one! Working on it! Have a most-wonderful time! You will be in awe! I’m looking forward to reading more about your journey. You’ve come a long ways! Love you my friend! Thanks for helping me as you share your story!

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    • Susan, I hope my post doesn’t sound like I’ve been striving for ‘what’s in it for me’. My problem over the last several months is that I got sidetracked on coincidences that I thought were from God. After all, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” But not every opportunity is an opportunity that God is calling us into. I hope that by showing my struggle to discern God’s will that others will also be encouraged when things don’t turn out the way they hoped–or thought God was directing them. There is always a lesson in it. Thankfully God has gently corrected me along the way. It doesn’t need to define us. I am definitely a work in process.

      Thank you for sharing your Godly wisdom and your insights on traveling in Spain. Your words are a cheerful reminder of how God always shows up when we least expect him too. Thanks, my friend. İVaya con Dios! Ardis

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    I'm an author, writer, speaker, mentor & mom. I've struggled to find my voice all my life as I lived in the shadows of a mother with mental illness. Thankfully that was not the legacy that she handed down to me. It took a lot of recovery and deep healing work to rise above it.

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