Saturday, October 12, 2013

Journey of Understanding

Night before last I was soaring above the clouds.  The sun was setting and lit the edges of the sky in neon orange outlined in fading cerulean blue.  A storm blew far beneath us but we felt it, every bit of chaotic temperature changing updraft.  The craft we were in, cramped in tiny little seats listening to the captain announce that the tower staff indicated this turbulence would only last another 10 minutes or so.  With the fight or flight response triggering adrenaline in epic proportions within my physical vessel I slipped out of my body to a space I could better analyze what was happening within my own being.  I immediately came to the conclusion that fight or flight response is a bit comical when you are squished into the window seat of an air plane flying at 34,000 feet.  Where would you go?  As I felt the adrenaline continue to rush, I went into a deep state of peace allowing every bump, creak and crackle of the internal tube of the plane push me deeper into a relaxed state.  I watched from somewhere else breathing in the beauty of the sky around me, in my mind I pushed a shield of stable current and temperature around the plane (kept the mind occupied) and decided that despite the fear I was going home and that was all that mattered.

I slipped part way back into my body and again felt the jostling motion of, at times, very heavy turbulence fighting the thought "I'm never flying again" and decided to instead remember two nights before I left on my business trip.  It had been a very warm day in sunny California and my partner and I stepped out after dinner to go for a long walk around a very big block.  I recalled every single step in such fine detail I was surprised by my own ability to remember.  I could feel the warmth of the ground coming up through the soles of my shoes.  When we reached the edge of a beautiful tree-lined path and gazed at the sun, such an amazing sight we held.  Angelwing clouds appeared to be holding the sun picture perfectly in the sky.  It set the tone for our walk and as we took each step, I remembered the energy, the feeling within me beyond words but joy is close.  The joy of being outside, to be walking on the Earth and to be alive at this point in time.  Witnessing such a beautiful sunset is a treasure I hold close.  I spent time recalling the feelings and before I knew it, we were sailing smoothly through the air as if carried by unseen hands.  I kept going with my memories as I glanced out the airplane window watching the sun disappear.  Transposed over my vision was the same moment two nights before just as our walk ended.  We stood on an overpass watching frenetically speeding cars on the freeway below.  The clouds that had been holding up the sun as we started our walk were now on fire with silver and golden light with the sun gone below the horizon.  We stood there in awe just enjoying the view.

Another slight jolt of the airplane brought me fully back to my body and present awareness.  A glance towards the ground and I could see the faint signs of civilization.  Without even being conscious of it, I  began to smile outwardly.  We were so close to home, I could feel it.  A few moments more and the mountains came into view and more sparkling lights in the darkness of the Earth below.  It reminded me of so many nights I spent on the ground looking up at the twinkling stars.  Just then more peace descended.  Landing at my airport is never a smooth endeavor but by then I was too tired to care.  I was so happy to be so close to home after being gone a few days.  The captain announced we were 90 miles out and would be landing soon.  No motion felt mattered at that point as this part of the journey would soon be over.

I'm not a comfortable flier by any stretch of the imagination and while I won't be scheduling any flights again soon, I'll remember that moment when the captain announced we'd be landing.  While I breathed in the present with joy even when difficult for me, all I could see was the quick drive I'd make to pick up my youngest daughter and then back home to my partner.  This was a journey I never thought I'd take.  I don't fly much being a recovering flight phobic but I got an opportunity to travel for work and although I didn't have to go, I went.  The journey in this case was the destination and I learned from the experience that there are a lot of emotions that we all go through.  Every person feels the rush of adrenaline for different reasons and manages accordingly.  I remember the guy in the seat next to me when we were experiencing the worst of the turbulence saying with much sarcasm, "10 more minutes?  Great!"  He expressed my thoughts so perfectly and I smiled.  I was feeling very fearful myself and just laughed and said, "I know, right?"  When fear is in the mix, something isn't right...and not always what you think isn't right.  What I learned on my journey is that thoughts breed fear but if you sit back into the true feeling and sense knowing that no matter what you're always ok that lies beneath the fear, you can survive fearful moments.  Avoiding fear is a silly endeavor.  Here in this place, the beautiful Earth in our amazing Milky Way galaxy, there are all manner of things to be afraid of but its only our thoughts about this or that generating fear that make us suffer so.  Getting at the thoughts that generate fear and circumventing them is key.  Not an easy task but a doable one.  Will I get on a plane again?  Yes, I know I will.  There are places I really want to see but I think I will be less reliant on destination focus.  The journey itself holds the wealth of wisdom and understanding we truly seek.  Hard to extract that wisdom when the adrenaline is pumping but worth it to try, try and try.

My trip was not about getting to some place for business.  Although I enjoyed visiting a new city and people I've not seen in a long time,  I took the trip to experience the journey.  I wanted to face a fear and better understand it.  I don't know that I'll ever be able to fly without adrenaline pumping whenever there is turbulence but I know that I will manage myself because I know that I'll always be okay.   No matter what happens, I'll always be okay. ~Blessings of great courage, strength and love beautiful dreamers.

(c) 2013 Jaie Hart (photo/words)

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