Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Don't let Fear hold you back!

Two days ago, something came up in regard to our sewing retreat that is planned for November.  This will be the sixth time we've had a retreat, and each time it's been held at a beautiful retreat center just north of Saskatoon.  Each time, we've enjoyed the stunning setting, the comfortable timber-frame building, the delicious meals, fabulous company of friends and fellow quilters, and uninterrupted, prolonged sewing time!!

Well, we've started collecting the fees, and then we had some people come in and cancel their booking.  They had heard that the facility had found some bed-bugs.. Oh no! my heart sank at hearing this.
We were instantly on the phone to find out what was going on. Basically, there had been a function in August where some people had been traveling, and some of these little critters had hitched a ride on their luggage.  The people at the retreat facility discovered this a couple weeks later, when the room was used again.  Immediately they had Poulin pest control experts in to address the problem, and they did so, (removed mattresses, treated everything, inspected, did a follow-up visit later, etc). 
I still felt un-easy, after all, how could I ask people to go some place where there had been these pests?  Would I even feel comfortable going there?
After sleeping on this last night, I can see that I have irrational fears.  Objectively, the hotel industry must encounter this problem on an on-going basis, it's just that I never hear about a specific place that I might be planning to visit.  Last month, during our trip we stayed in 10 different hotels and the thought of bed-bugs never even entered my mind.  However, it seems that in recent years, they have made a come-back after being very rare --"after the pests' virtual eradication in the USA by the 1960s, globalization and a curtailed use of pesticides have sparked a resurgence of bedbugs in everything from college dorms to nursing homes." (usa today)
"Daily inspections notwithstanding, the fact that bedbugs are resilient hitchhikers means a room could be bug-free one day but not the next, says Laura Krueger of the California Department of Health Services. And, she adds, there's no room for complacency: 'When it comes to bedbugs, we're at orange alert'."(ibid)
So what's a hotel (or retreat facility!) to do?  Just what they did-- call an exterminator and keep vigilant.  After all, they can be pest-free one day, and then someone might just stay there who brings in a new bug.  They can't just close their building forever, nor do they need to.

So why the ongoing "ick" factor?   Maybe  we automatically associate bugs with negligence or dirt or disease, even as in this case,  bugs can easily land in a hospital or a five-star hotel.  After reading more about them, I found that they don't carry diseases, but do have a bite similar to a mosquito bite.  Many people don't even react to them, while others may have more of an allergic reaction.  Maybe because they were so rare in the past that we haven't encountered this before, and have no set response for how to react.

As for me, it became clear that I don't need to have a panic response.  Yes, I had a few queasy moments.  Do I trust the experts who assure me that all is fine now?  Why not? They know what they're doing.   If my fears are groundless, they why let an irrational fear keep me from doing something that can bring me a lot of pleasure?

When I was young, I was enrolled in figure skating.  I liked the idea of swooping around the ice on blades, and leaping through the air, accompanied by that music that blared through the cavernous space.  In reality, I clung to the boards that surrounded the ice, timidly watching others.  I still regret that my fears of letting go or my inhibitions or whatever, kept me from taking full advantage of the opportunity. I resolved that I would not let other opportunities go to waste.

In the early 90's I was much impressed by this quote,

Our deepest fear is not that we are
inadequate, our deepest fear is that we
are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness that
most frightens us. We ask ourselves,

“Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
talented and fabulous?” Actually, who
are you NOT to be?

You are a child of God. Your playing
small does NOT serve the world. There
is nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won’t feel insecure
around you.

We were born to manifest the glory
that is within us. And as we let our
light shine we unconsciously give other
people permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own
fear, our presence automatically
liberates others.

Written by Marianne Williamson

It was then that I began to notice how fear can hold us back from what we would really like to do.  And in decision-making,  when fear is given a seat at the table, it makes for very poor decisions.  I resolved to not operate from a position of fear. Fear is irrational, and pointless.  If the facts point to a logical decision, then take fear out of the equation and make the choice.

So I have decided to not be afraid of the bogeyman or monsters hiding under the bed.  I will go ahead with the retreat without letting any worries ruin my fun.
And, I really hope that you feel the same!!

(This is a message I just got from Shekinah this morning, -- "let me assure you that the bed bug problem has been dealt with. We had bed bugs in one room and have since brought in professional exterminators (Poulins from Saskatoon). They sprayed not only the infected room but the rooms beside it and the hall as well. This was done twice to make sure the situation was taken care of. We have been monitoring these rooms for the past month and there is NO evidence of any bed bugs anywhere. We have had the Timber Lodge rented out many times since, and no one has had any concerns. Please advise your clients that we have taken this very seriously and that it is a safe and very clean facility.")


  1. Oh Michelle!! There is always something, isn't there? You are right, those pesky little critters could be anywhere, in any hotel room!
    Hope everyone is reassured with the management of this and signs back up again. Sorry I am going to miss this retreat, we will be away.

  2. Oh my goodness! I do hope that your retreat is wonderful and successful!

  3. I'm really looking forward to the retreat this year! I must admit the idea of bed bugs really grossed me out too. But I'm with you and I won't let my fears interfere with my fun either! And I really love the quote you included. See you soon!

  4. Hi Michelle
    Just returned from the USA and a fabulous quilting retreat at Lake Morey Vermont with a group of 12 Brits. we had a great time 'stitching and bitching' with the best. This retreat was part of a 2 week tour holiday organized by one of our Magazine editors and the one hotel we stayed at was quite bluntly awful! we complained and moved rooms (better but not much!!!)however I would not have missed it for the world! I say GO AHEAD we need all the sewing time we can get and the hotel does seem to have done it's bit to sort out the mess. If these ladies decide not to go on the retreat its their problem not yours so stop worrying, those who organize this type of event are'quilting heroine's and will never please all the folks all the time.
    Lorraine over at Monkey Business & Quilts

  5. Hi,
    I just read that poem two days ago!

    I'm sure the retreat will be lovely - perhaps I should go:)


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