How to Drown Your iPhone and Still Come out A Winner

Unlike cute dresses and pockets, iPhones and toilet water don’t make for a great combination.

 Yep, I had recently dropped my first ever iPhone into the toilet. How? Well, like everyone else who has done so, because dumb choices. They make life more fun.

 On that day a few weeks ago, I was so stoked and so set on wearing this comfy slinky summer dress, with hidden pockets (!), to my future sister-in-law’s bridal shower. Why? First off, think cute, floral, and oh so mobile. Secondly, built-in storage, useful for such an event.

 My fashion savvy didn’t make up for the list of misjudgments I’d racked up. Fully aware that I had an hour-plus drive ahead of me, I had allowed myself to run so late I was now about to hit the wall of Bay Bridge traffic. I also had to make a stop at a Michael’s craft store, which I’d put off until then, to pick up some goodies for the bridal shower. And, I had the great idea of drinking my Peet’s deep roast coffee and a Costco-sized bottle of Suja super greens juice during said long drive. A fine combination of #firstworldproblems.

 By the time I had reached the store, I was about to explode (hello liquified greens, my to-go cuppa joe, traffic). I conveniently stuffed my wallet and iPhone in my dress pocket, because I could, and bolted in as fast as my bladder would allow. I found the items I needed to buy and peepee danced straight to the bathroom. I did my business and, continuing on my go-go-go track, instead of taking my time to fix my dress in proper post-potty fashion, I stood up from the toilet and quickly tugged, shimmied and jumped around to adjust my dress back into place. Well, simply because I could. And then I heard a thuddy splash.

 Before turning around to look, I let out the most hot-messy holy-eff of a gasp. Because I knew THE WORST EVER had just gone down. And, you know that sick feeling you get in your tummy when that something, which you realized at a previous moment could potentially happen and shook it off with a “nah, it wont happen to me,” actually happens? Yeah, that was the cherry on top of it all.

 Before I could even “Ewww,” I dunked my bare hand with accessories and all into the toilet and rescued my prized iPhone. I proceeded on maternal auto-pilot: I quickly pressed the on/off button, swiped right to power it down, dried it off, wrapped it in TP and prayed to the iPhone gods. I washed my hands repeatedly in hopes to make it all go away, and I was more haunted by what had just happened than the colony of who-knows-what on my hands.  I was convinced that it was a goner. From that point on, I kept my fancy hidden dress pockets empty; I refused to take anymore chances. With hands wet and full, I paid at the register and hurried to my car.

As if that was painful enough, now I had to sit with myself through an eternity of traffic, and with my drowned, germy, and lifeless iPhone on the center console, reminding me of it all. There was nothing I could do. I could not call anyone. I didn’t have a bag of rice in my back (err -- dress) pocket to instantly stick my phone in, and no tech geeks to consult (nor an iphone to google with) about the best tips for saving it. And, I had to be at that party NOW. All I could do was wait and drive. Alone. I felt helpless, and because of that, incredibly uncomfortable.

 In the first few minutes back on the road to the party, I kept replaying in slow motion my hurried shuffle in the stall that led to the tragic iPhone dunk, scanning for the exact moment that it all went wrong. I proceeded to beat myself up about how I ALREADY KNEW that my valuables could fall out. “So, why did I still choose to leave them in my pocket and rush around carelessly? Now I’m down a few hundred bucks to replace it. Maybe I don’t even deserve to have a new iPhone.” I began to list the mistakes I had made earlier in the day: “I took too long to get dressed; I was running late -- again; I procrastinated with my errands; I didn’t beat the traffic. I’m never going to change.”

 And to make it all worse, I realized had actually become one of THOSE people, who I’ve laughed at for being incapably capable of dropping their phone in the toilet (no offense).

 I’m sure it all sounds annoying, petty, and straight up hilarious. If you’ve ever dropped your precious smartphone in water, then you can totally relate. If you have not (yet!), I’m sure you’ve been in situations that warranted a similar reaction from you. In times like these, this was my default -- to beat myself up incessantly, even long after my blunder.

 This time I chose a different path. For a while, I’d been getting re-accustomed to this thing called self-love and choosing the more loving way, both with myself and others. With kindness and love as my backdrop, I noticed that my harsh thoughts and the stress of the situation simply did not work for me. Something shook my mind into silence and I managed to have a moment of quiet from the slaughter of self-judgement. This situation -- being stuck in my car with my soggy iPhone and an important gathering to be at  -- was THE perfect moment for me to put into practice the concept of surrender, self-love’s homie, which I’d recently been exploring. Obviously, my surrendering skills were iffy. Still, I was aware enough to catch myself and allow myself to surrender, instead of replaying my reminder reel of mistakes for days to come like the old me would’ve done.

 But what does it mean to surrender? What would that even look like and why would I want to do that?  I’m a total newb, so at the time, I didn’t know. What I instinctually knew -- and I believe we all know this -- was the necessity, first, to breathe. That is the first step of surrender, as it begins the process of letting goooo. At first it sucks but a few breaths later it actually feels good. Then, you can take a mental step back and see your situation differently and be open to a different experience.

 The struggle for many of us to do this makes me wonder:  Why is it that we are more comfortable holding onto and hurting ourselves with our errors? I’m learning that it has to do with our desire to feel some sense of control over an outcome, especially after messing up big time. Again, why would we want to give up  and surrender our control over an outcome? We gotta make things happen right?

 Well, what I do know for sure is that it feels a helluva lot better NOT to have the guilt, shame,  and stress hanging over me. Also, surrendering our ties to a past mistake as well as to outcomes allows for several benefits.

 First, surrendering leads to that scary F-word: forgiveness. Like I said, it feels so much nicer to stop blaming ourselves for something that’s already happened. So, I dropped my iPhone in the toilet. Ok, it’s done. Now, let it, and everything else, the eff go. Everything, including the outcome. Yes including the iPhone. Can I stop guilting myself over it and the events leading up to it? It’s not fun, and it’s not worth it.

 So I forgave myself for my misjudgments that day. It still didn’t fix my iPhone. Well, I realized that surrendering also meant surrendering what happened to it, the outcome itself.  I If you’ve ever tried to let go, of an iPhone especially, you’ll understand that this is so incredibly difficult and painful to do. But part of surrendering means everything. By doing this, yeah maybe you lose your prized possession, but in doing so you release your attachment to whatever it is your clinging to and your self-restriction to the disappointment of not getting what you expected. And even better, you open yourself up to other possibilities and a more positive experience.

 Letting it all go also allowed me to have gratitude, not only for my material possessions but for the experience itself. Surrendering rooted me back in the present. I actually enjoyed the rest of drive, listening to my favorite jams. And it expanded my sight to the bigger picture -- that I had a frikkin' awesome bridal shower to go to where I would be spending quality time with my future-sister-in-law and other amazing women. Hello! To think that I could've taken that away from myself with such a small meaningless mistake. I was able to move on and show up with a smile.

 I’ve realized, that when it comes down to it, to surrender means to love. In the end, because I accepted things as there were, I made it to the party just fine. With loving actions as my motivation, was able to think logically and take necessary steps (placing my phone in rice and leaving it alone!) to revive my phone successfully. When we surrender, we can trust the Universe always has our back.

So the moral of the story? If you do something like drop your iPhone in water, just surrender, do good and the phone will work just fine. I wish, but not really. Taken to more serious situations beyond busted iPhones, the act of surrendering reminds to re-focus on what’s truly important -- our abundance, to love all that we do have. It’s a reminder that when we surrender, we free ourselves to experience that much more as we accept the opportunity to grow and to learn. It’s all just practice for life, and in the end we always win.