Why I ended up in the hospital on my birthday, and what you can learn from that about suffering and happinessSep 04, 2019
(By Eldad Ben-Moshe ✨ Reading Time: 7 minutes)
That really wasn’t what I planned for my birthday.
But that wasn’t the reason why I was suffering.
Nor was the physical pain.
For my 43rd birthday (August 21st. Yes, I’m a Leo!) I wanted to go camping.
I love nature, and I love camping.
And it was planned to be Matan’s first camping ever -
which made it even more important and special to me
(he is our 4 months old angel of a boy. I’m so in love with him!).
We rented a camping spot on a beautiful blue lake surrounded by green trees,
for 3 days, starting the day before my birthday.
We scored the last waterfront camping spot, invited friends to join us,
and all was set for an amazing, perfect birthday.
But as the saying goes - ‘Man plans, and God laughs’...
I woke up to a morning of vomiting and diarrhea!
It went on for so long, and it got so bad that I got dehydrated.
Eventually, Erica’s reasonings and my dehydration got to me, and we went to the hospital.
That was the day before my birthday - the day we were supposed to start our camping trip.
But that wasn’t why I was suffering.
I was suffering because what I wanted was to go camping.
I was suffering because the reality was different than what I wanted it to be.
But why did I want to be camping instead of being in the hospital?
Because I believed I'll have more fun there.
I believed I'd be better off being there.
I believed my life would be better if I were there.
Now that sounds obvious, right?
To a person like me, who loves camping, nature, and freedom,
isn’t it obvious that life would be better in the campsite on the
beautiful blue lake, rather than in the hospital?
And even more so, on my birthday?
The honest truth though is that we don't know. We can never know.
Even when we’re sure that we know, we actually have no idea.
We simply guess, based on our beliefs, desires, and past events.
For example, maybe if we were at the lake, some terrible accident would have happened?
Maybe Erica and I would have gotten into a terrible fight?
And maybe being in the hospital saved us from that?
So it started with me wanting to be camping, wanting things to be different,
wanting to get released that very day so that we could still make it to the lake.
wanting things to be the way I want them.
When they told me they’re keeping me in the hospital for the night, I was bummed.
I was bummed, but I was clinging to the hope that was still there -
they said I might be released the next day by noon.
That next day was my birthday, and noon would give us just enough time
to go and spend wonderful 24 hours of camping on the beautiful blue lake,
surrounded by beautiful green trees.
And we could still have Matan’s first camping happen, and I was very happy
about the thought that it would happen on my birthday.
As Erica often says, I'm a sentimental guy...
And then came the turning point.
The turning point came when I was able to notice that the way
I was wanting this made me suffer.
It made me anxious.
I was telling the nurse that my birthday is tomorrow and I'd be really
happy to be released by noon.
I was telling the doctor I was planning to camp with my family and
friends on the lake and I hope to be out by tomorrow at noon.
I was respectful and not pushy, but I made sure they know.
It started to become this big deal, and the more important it became,
the more I was attached to things happening the way I wanted them to,
the more I suffered.
And inside, I was anxious.
Not to the extreme, not at all.
It was this subtle anxiousness, subtle enough to go under my radar
and keep me unaware of its existence for a while.
Subtle, but enough to make my mind agitated and not at peace.
But once I noticed that?
I remembered what I’m teaching.
I remembered my practices.
I remembered because I suddenly saw it all in action.
I saw that I was creating my suffering by believing I'll be happier if things were
different, or if things will be the way I want them to be by noon tomorrow -
and by clinging to that belief.
So I chose to let go.
Of course, I still had a preference to celebrate my birthday camping in the beautiful
lake with my beloved wife, my sweet, sweet boy, and my wonderful friends.
But from a desire that I was attached to,
it became a preference that I acknowledge and let go of.
I was truly and honestly at peace with the possibility that it will not happen.
How did I do that?
I remembered that I don’t really know what will be the best thing for me,
for others or for the world.
I remembered that I don't know why things happen and where they lead.
I remembered that I’m unhappy only because things aren’t the way I want
them to be, like a little boy that doesn’t get what he wants.
Once I could see all that, and experience the effects of that on my mind,
my heart, and my body, it was easy to release, as this is something I study,
teach, coach, and practice.
This is something I live by.
I immediately became peaceful and happy.
I was actually enjoying my night in the hospital.
It really felt like a good vacation from life.
It was so relaxing, full of insights and... fun!
I know, I’m writing this, and it’s hard for me to believe it even though it was me.
But I know it was so.
I still feel it as I'm writing about it now and my mind goes back to that experience.
And it turned into a great birthday gift from the universe.
Yes, I really mean that.
Hours of vomit, diarrhea, pain, and dehydration...
Spending 24 hours in the hospital (including half my birthday) instead
of camping in a beautiful lake with my family and friends...
All that became an amazing birthday gift from the universe,
one that I’m grateful for to this day.
All because I was able to see.
I was able to see what was going on in my mind,
see how my beliefs and my attachment to them created my suffering.
Able to acknowledge that and take responsibility for that.
Able to admit that I do not know what’s best for me,
and able to let go of my beliefs and my attachment to them.
...So what can we learn from all this?
Nothing in the external world changed.
The only change was a change in my mind, a shift in perception.
Yet my entire experience changed.
From being worried and anxious, I became peaceful, calm, and happy -
in spite of the circumstances.
I was unhappy because I wanted things to be different.
But then I let go of the belief that going camping would be the best thing for me,
the thing that would make me happy.
I doubted my mind’s story.
Then I admitted I don’t know and I can't know what would be the best thing for me.
I made room for the unknown, for not knowing what’s best.
And that changed everything.
So we learn that, and to never eat Indian food before an important event! 😉🙃
A happy ending.
The fact that eventually I was released the next day (on my birthday) at noon,
and that we had such a great time camping at the lake,
is just a charming anecdote.
Once I released it all, it didn’t really matter.
That's the whole point.
The change - and happiness - happened the day before.
And they would have stayed with me even had I spent another day in the hospital -
as long as I would have kept the right perception, the same mindset that made the
Yes, I might have been sad if I would not have been released from the hospital that day.
Emotional pain is an inevitable part of life and should be neither denied nor ignored.
But I would not have suffered.
I probably would have kept enjoying my time in the hospital,
the gift the universe gave me for my birthday.
This is what happens when you don’t let your stories about life get
in the way of your happiness, in the way of what really is.
To your better life,
with tons of 💖
Founder, Teacher, and Coach
Better Life Awareness Center
1. I’m so glad I get to share this beautiful gift I got for my birthday with you -
Better Life Awareness Center community and friends.
But I also made a special gift for you for my birthday.
I sent it out in last week’s email, but in case you somehow missed it,
here it is again:
Check it out and tell me what you think! I love hearing from you.
I read all your comments and emails, and I personally reply.
2. If you want to learn more about dealing with painful emotions,
overcoming destructive beliefs, and how to stop creating your suffering,
download my FREE guide here.
It’s both so good and so free (for now),
that it's literally priceless ;-)