For someone who teaches classes about dealing with Chaos and Drama, and relaxing and going with the Universal Flow, I need to practice more what I preach. For me going to an airport, through security, and especially flying, really freak me out. Handling it as best I can is a huge challenge. Employing what I have learned to drop any fear, anxiety and worry, and pick up on the ‘go with the flow’ good attitude is hard in my most fearful situation. So at least I can stay connected to my students in that we are all human, we all have flaws, have problem areas, none of us is perfect. Especially me! You could say that being in an airport, and being at the mercy of someone else, especially turbulence and landing, are the perfect learning ground for me.
I can sit in traffic for hours and never mind being unable to get through, or having a long wait, or a long-unknown detour. But there is something about the total lack of control of being at the mercy of the airlines, getting one delay after the other. Getting a text message every hour telling me of another unexplained two-hour delay felt like the movie Groundhog Day. At least I had my Zane Grey book to read and some Godiva Chocolates to sooth me. But my mind whirls with all the changes to our schedule if I can’t make it today. (This has happened before with delayed flights and logistical nightmares.) I often jump to conclusions and the worst case scenario comes to mind. Mom has doctor and hair appointments tomorrow. We have shopping to do, I’d lose a day of vacation, and I don’t want to disappointment my mother. I’d have to get my car out of long-term parking, pay, drive back home an hour, go back to work half a day tomorrow, and do it all over again. Have I mentioned I have a deep fear of flying? The alternative of driving to where she is from here would take two whole days one way, with just me at the wheel. Using up all of my vacation in one fell swoop. No. Thank. You.
My flight out of town this spring to visit my mother, who is going on 87, was delayed four times. There is a direct flight only during the warm weather season, and only one flight per day. Otherwise I have to take a connection, and that means being up at 4:00 am, getting a flight, sitting at the connecting airport for hours, hoping weather and mechanical problems don’t slow us down on the next flight, and getting in late at night. Then having to drive three hours north in a rental car. It’s a likelihood for twice as many problems when you can’t get a direct flight and it’s a pain in the ass.
Suffice it to say I was upset at the four unexplained delays, sitting in the airport for six hours having no idea how the day would play out. I was more worried about what I’d have to do to fix all appointments at my Mother’s end of the trip. I had my little rant, my complaining, which by the way is very much going against the flow. It negates What Is. I know better. I texted a good friend who was very helpful at telling me to remember to go with the flow. She is usually my voice of reason. Yeah, silly me! Got to practice what I preach.
At one point during my long wait I got a telemarketing call from a company that I had received four or five calls from in the last two days. It was super annoying and I had already asked pretty please take me off your list. So this time I was super irritated. I told the salesperson what my feelings were about being bothered with calls after I was in bed sleeping the other night, and now I was traveling and please, please stop bothering me. The person on the other end of the line said “Okay, but please just be happy!“ and promptly hung up. It happened so fast I thought, did this really happen? Did the Universe just tell me to stop my whining already and get happy? Kinda funny in retrospect that a telemarketer was telling me to shape up!
My own very vulnerable feelings were an embarrassment. It took me a bit longer to dump the drama and get back to a happy center than I’d like to admit. Nothing would really be terrible if I flew in a day late. My mother had a companion that would drive her to those appointments, and I could arrange for another day of vacation, and change my flight. So I decided to hunker down and really think about what was bugging me, and then dump it and get that good inner vibe/inner hum, back to normal. The laws of attraction are always in play, so instead of spinning a negative experience, let’s get back to a good, happy place.
I was able to determine that my new life away from a very controlling husband, who even controlled and noticed every single sigh, twitch, or look from me which might send him into a week long rage, was being recreated in this airport situation. That marriage almost killed me. Feeling controlled by someone else was a key insight to working on my current anxiety. Feeling vulnerable and unable to ‘get out’ was a key feeling to follow up on. The root fear was one of being trapped. I can’t stand it. But now I found what I could work on. My exercise in flipping it was not enough in this scenario because these feelings ran deep. My new, successful single life was fun, wonderful, and freeing! But I was constantly in control of my life. Making sure everything runs correctly, is in working order, and goes to my own internal wishes or schedule. That’s part of the freedom of being on your own. But by wanting to have everything in my new life in its proper place, is not exactly going with the flow. Time to make changes and get in the sweet spot again. This was a great opportunity for growth.
Now is my time to learn to go with the flow in every situation. Especially those situations that feel groundless and uncertain. At the airport, I had found my Achilles heel. My kryptonite. At my realization I decided to drop my frustration and feelings of vulnerability, of being trapped, and not being fully in control of my situation. For some reason sitting in traffic is not hard at all, because I’m at the wheel. But in a situation where I am not at the wheel (perhaps an illusion of control?) I was very unhappy. My decision to loosen up, to go with the flow, made everything right. There is much wisdom in learning to be comfortable with total uncertainty! It’s a Buddhist mindset and I love their line of thinking.
At the airport, waiting for my flight, I went to toss out some trash. There were two gentlemen looking out the window, and I struck up a conversation with them. They were returning to Amsterdam. We chatted for almost an hour and time flew by quickly. Then the new plane was here and we were finally to board. In the end, I got a new seat on the aisle, much further toward the front of the plane. It was much preferred to the center seat I was originally assigned and I was the only one in that row! The plane was larger than the one that was broken down. My new aisle seat was so roomy that I could stretch my legs out fully and still not touch the seat in front of me. My friend from Amsterdam gave me a free drink ticket, which I traded in for a small bottle of tequila (those tiny bottles) I got a slice of lime and got into my Zane Grey book.
At the other end of my trip at the car rental place, (remember I was very late for this car pickup due to four delays in my flight) they upgraded me to a huge Jeep Cherokee SUV with a GPS, for no extra charge. Things were looking up! Home was three hours away but strangely I was very awake at this late hour. The trip up North was quick. Home in no time flat, with no danger of falling asleep at the wheel. Upon arriving I poked my head in my mother’s bedroom to hear her snoring and see her sleeping. I crept into my own bed and was asleep in no time. In the morning, I went downstairs to be greeted by my mother, we hugged and had a cup of hot coffee. I was home and nothing else mattered. All was right with the world.