The overhead announcement calls people to their flights to their intermediate or final destinations, overlapping with the low murmur of passengers waiting to board. The television personality is sharing the morning’s news in her pleasant and well trained voice. Snapping my wintergreen gum helps to keep me calm and centered as I too await the beckoning to board. I knew that when I scheduled my flight from Philly to Portland, via a wonderful flight attendant friend who arranged a companion pass, that all was (no pun intended) up in the air and that I would need to be flexible. Good thing I am a yogini who practices both on and off the mat. When I didn’t get on my originally intended flight, I sighed and surrendered and then walked to the customer service desk and requested, at my friend’s suggestion that I attempt to re-route from Chicago to Phoenix. Fingers and toes crossed that soon I am comfortably esconced in my seat, closing my eyes as the plane wings Westward.
When I was messaging her, her response was “Welcome to my world, some days are better than others. I am subjected to this every time I come & go to work. (or play).” I often marvel at how she and two other flight attendant friends who are also in our circle, live that way. What would it be like to have your departure and arrival be so uncertain? It occurs to me that we ALL live that way.
Even though leavin’ on a jet plane daily is not what I do professionally, I am and we are, in free flight every day. When I wake up in the morning (as I did at 5 a.m. to catch the original flight), I have no clue what will occur. I have intentions. I have plans. Sometimes they unfold as I would like. Other times, not so much. It is then that I am called to sigh and surrender. I am convinced at the moment that I will get on the perfect flight. I have learned that ‘delays are not denials.’ I assign meaning to everything and wonder if this is because I am supposed to meet someone and have a conversation that I would not have otherwise. Maybe I am to learn a lesson in patience and trust. When I look back at previous experiences that have felt frustrating or otherwise challenging, I have come to recognize the ‘blesson’ (blessing and lesson) in it.
There are times when I do feel as it my life is on standby. I make all kinds of decisions about where I am to go and who I think my travel companions should be. Sometimes I will land somewhere totally different than where I plan. Sometimes desired flightmates take other planes or remain grounded while I am aloft. I have two choices. I can fight what is, throwing a whopper of an internal two year old temper tantrum, or I can accept what the Divine Air Traffic Controller has in the works.
In conversation with a friend last week, he brought up the idea that there are two ‘C words’ that relate to life stuff. The first is Control. The second is Choice. As much as I want to be in the first mode, often I am not. That’s where choice comes in. I always get to decide how I respond to any eventuality.
This really is a ‘test of the emergency sanity system’.
As much as I want to have my internal itinerary met, I know that there will be times when I need to enjoy the scenery; in this case, indulging in one of my favorite activities; people watching and chatting with those who sit in the rows of plastic seats in the gate area awaiting their own call to travel to who knows where.
Happy landings to you all.
Previously published on huffpost
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