Tuesday February 25th, 2020
My departure day
Back to my winter mountains
With joy in my heart
I slept fitfully last night and decided to sleep in a little past my alarm. Today is a big travel day for me and I want to go into it as well rested as I can. I’m looking forward to my travels and winged journeys today. I’m looking forward to landing in Missoula when the day ends, where my people and my sweet little house reside. I’m turning in ocean for mountains; warmth for cold; blooming flowers for snow – and I’ll tell you: it’s a good trade.
One moment, here.
One moment, elsewhere.
An imprint of energy,
a momentary lingering,
a reminding fragrance
of something long ago.
I am a guest in this place.
I will be a guest in the next.
Just passing through.
My mental landscape was very much angled in the direction of home this morning during my sit. Few and far between were the moments when I was fully with my breathing in the present moment. Sometimes that happens.
The rising sun is slowly alighting the hillside situated out the west facing bank of windows here in the DH. It’s a blue sky day here in southern California. When I lay my head to pillow tonight, I’ll be in my own bed, in my own dwelling place, in my own town. And I’ll need to adjust on a few levels: of being back in the world of stimulus; of being solo without Mike; of having many things to do and places to go and people to check in with.
Part of me has always figured I’d make a good flight attendant. It’s the part of me that has to tuck her head in-between her knees for the 20 minutes prior to landing that has reservations. But other than the debilitating wave of vertigo and nausea that strikes me upon descent I’d be a shoe-in.
I love flying and I love people. It’s not that I love the flying itself. I love the flying experience. And it’s not so much that I love people individually but more that I love the experience of people.
As I’ve met only 1 or 2 others who don’t detest participating in metal-winged travel, I’d take great pride in being the flight attendant to help shift the collective pool of shared consciousness. The way I see it, we’ve been programmed to hate flying. And our hate spreads like the plague infecting everyone in our wake, thereby perpetuating and strengthening our cultural distaste.
The super good news is that hate isn’t the only thing that spreads. Positivity spreads, too. With my brass wings pin glinting in unison with my smile I’d win over one sour-puss traveler at a time, convincing them that enjoying the flight far exceeds loathing it, in the quality-of-life department.
As I made my way through the cabin handing out tiny, scratchy pillows, tiny plastic cups filled with 80% ice and 20% ginger ale, and tiny packets of peanuts, I’d throw in my cheery disposition free of charge, slyly coaxing others to rewrite a new internal story about what it means to partake in the awesomeness of flight travel.
P.S This post and yesterday’s post I borrowed from my writer’s facebook page, but many of my FB posts don’t travel here to my blog. If you’re interested in reading my daily musings please check out my page: https://www.facebook.com/InMindfulMotion/
It’s funny how wildly different one person’s idea of a bad day can be from another’s. And by “funny” I mean tragic.
This morning I read a short travel story entitled: The Flight from Hell, amid a collection in the book I’m currently reading. It would take a pile of harrowing and painful occurrences for me to even consider branding a travel experience with that honorific stamp. I’m pretty sure those hanging oxygen bags said to drop down in the event the cabin loses air pressure would need to be deployed. It might even take an unscheduled water landing for me to start pondering the merits of later telling my friends and family that I had, in fact, had the “flight from hell.”
I can only assume that the fellow who penned the story had lived a charmed life before his fateful trip from Jamaica to L.A. And perhaps his perspective had been so incredibly skewed by having never encountered real suffering that he simply had no frame of reference. I kept waiting for the hellish part to present itself. Then the story ended, leaving me still waiting. His idea of a “flight from hell” was basically the equivalent of a minor paper cut.
I’m hoping that upon discovering that his travel story is sandwiched in-between accounts of other writers having been ping-ponged over middle-eastern borders and arrested promptly in each new country, swarmed by army ants and hand-sized tarantulas falling from the ceiling, stranded at sea off the Java coast surrounded by vomit, and rafting down a river full of sewage he came to realize that his “flight from hell”, which literally amounted to sitting on the tarmac for 90 minutes at LAX and then having to wait 10 minutes for his luggage to arrive, sorta paled in comparison.
This morning as I was reading the news I came across an article entitled: Why Do So Many People Hate US Airports (here’s the article if you’re interested) As I too have often wondered about this widespread phenomena I clicked on the article in hopes to gain some insight. I mean, sure, there are long lines and security checks that aren’t the most fun things in the world to go through. And if your plane gets delayed or cancelled then that’s not the greatest thing either. But in general it seems our traveling experience isn’t really that terrible, so what’s the big deal? Why do so many people gripe and complain so much about airports and flying?
The article poses reasons such as outdated terminals in need of upgrading and overcrowding but I think the real dissatisfaction comes not from our lack of shiny new buildings or the inability to boast butterfly, cactus, and orchid gardens like the Changi Airport in Singapore or an ice-skating rink and golf-driving range like an airport in South Korea. Don’t get me wrong, being able to visit a garden with 1,000 butterflies and a waterfall during a long layover sounds pretty great – and while I don’t ice skate or play golf I think it’s equally great to have those options available as well. However, I think our constant fussing and frustration has more to do with something much more ordinary and simplistic. I think we just aren’t used to stepping outside of our comfort zones often enough. Airports and airplanes toss us forcefully into an area we try with a great deal of force in our everyday lives to avoid at all costs: discomfort. We’re sitting super close to strangers in tightly crammed seats, standing in long lines actually having to wait for something to happen, and have limited food choices (gasp!). We’re also solidly transfixed on arriving somewhere else as opposed to being present in the moment, which doesn’t help matters.
Big dharma hall collage, Deer Park Monastery
Deer Park, Day Twenty-Nine: Homeward Bound (Part 2)
(written on Saturday February 8th)
10:00am (mountain time).
I flew into Seattle yesterday from LAX and found the word CANCELLED next to my flight number on the electronic departure board. I headed to the Alaska Airlines customer service desk to find that our flight’s crew had “timed out.” Apparently that meant that we either did not have a full crew to fly or they were unable to fly due to being over their allotted hours. A couple of passengers were frustrated, understandably so, especially for one man who might miss his brother’s wedding. While I was looking forward to seeing my husband and son I also felt very well taken care of in light of my new travel plans. The airline put me up in a nice hotel, the Double Tree, and booked me on a flight in the morning. I took a well-heated shuttle bus to my hotel (it was very cold in Seattle) and when I arrived I was greeted with a nice warm chocolate chip and walnut cookie (a Double Tree specialty), which was simply delicious! It was around 8:30pm when I arrived in Seattle last night and as that has been about the time I’ve been going to bed while on retreat I was quite tired. So I was very grateful to be given a warm cookie and a warm comfortable bed. Life always happens just as it is meant to, even when the conditions are unexpected.
En route to Missoula…perhaps. At the gate in Salt Lake City, where I picked up my connecting flight after Seattle, we were told that while there is currently good visibility in Missoula that it is subject to change. If the weather changes there’s a chance we will land instead in Kalispell, where the airline would then bus us to Missoula. Only time will tell if my travel adventures will end soon or continue on.