Amidst all the miracle talk, transfixed bystanders around the world projected their own stuff on to Yonni Barrios, better known as Chilean Miner No. 21, last week. While Barrios was trapped in the mine, it came to light that he’d had a mistress for 10 years.
If what that mistress, Susana Valenzuela, told The Sun is true, his first words to her when he emerged from the mine were, “I’m going to take you to bed for a few days.” His wife had opted not to come to the rescue operation. After months of wondering if he’d ever see the light of day again, Barrios took a stand.
Everyone, it seems, had an opinion on this, some knee-jerk, some thoughtful, some really thoughtful. It was like holding up a mirror and letting us take a look at ourselves. Or, for some, a chance to judge and finger point.
What did you see? How did you react to that situation? What does it say about you? And might it be the impetus for change in your life?
As one friend put it, “How would any of us deal with potential death and then having to address what we have kept hidden, but then truly doing it before the entire world? Would we be honest or try to play a convoluted game?”
Well, which is it?
I think this may be at the heart of a new exercise I’ll be doing with my life coaching clients. The idea is to imagine yourself in a situation where you’re fully conscious of the fact that you may never again live the life you were once living. Parts of that may be appealing – what are they? Parts of that may break your heart – what are they? What a starting point for enacting a plan for sweeping change.
Let’s look again at the Barrios scenario and some of the potential reactions. If, for example, you’re married and having a long-term affair, did it give you pause? Which part? Getting caught? Or perhaps the liberating feeling of coming clean? Either way, that should tell you something and spur some action.
Maybe you’re a spouse who has been cheated on and you felt that bitterness rise to the surface all over again. That could very well be an indicator that for your own sake you need to work through it and put it behind you, regardless of where your relationship stands now. Are you carrying around resentment that is messing with your quality of life? You would be doing yourself a favor to deal with those feelings.
On the flip side, maybe you have been cheated on and already dealt with it. Perhaps there is relief that your spouse has finally been honest about what you’ve suspected for a long time. In some ways you feel you have peace that others can’t even fathom.
Then there are those who may identify with the mistress, Valenzuela. What’s going on there? Are you just having some fun? Seriously lacking in self-esteem? Filling a void? Experiencing real love that has you morally conflicted? Would you want your married lover to ‘out’ your relationship? The answer to the latter question alone could give you a major reality check.
And then there’s the possibility the Miner 21 story didn’t make you think at all. To that I say, really? Truly? Could you afford to be a little more introspective, perhaps? Get in touch with your emotional, soulful self? Feel your mortality? Ask yourself some hard questions?
I think this column that I’ve filled with so many question marks says a lot about the places my mind went upon hearing this story, discussing it with friends and devouring reactions on the Internet. The idea of the bucket list popped back up for me. If I’m trapped underground and not all that convinced I’m getting out, what would be my regrets?
They’re pretty clear, actually. And, no, I’m not sharing them. But I will say they have nothing to do with money in the bank, the size of my home or living life on someone else’s terms.
Rest assured I’m getting cracking on them. Let it never be said I don’t know how to pay attention to a miracle.