San Diego was great. The sunshine, the warm temps, the ocean views, the fresh seafood and fab Mexican food, and all the long walks on the beach were wonderful. Certainly worth the anxiety of flying.
The moment I stepped outside today for my daily outdoor commitment walk and took a full, deep breath — the kind that goes all the way to the toes — I felt more than thought: Home. The hour of yoga practice just before going outside didn’t relax and loosen me up the way that first breath of outside air did. The combination of the two was pretty powerful stuff. Joyfully, happily powerful.
My meditation prompt today was: Look for joy. While walking around the pond I thought, “I don’t need to look for joy. I’ve already found it. It’s right here, right now.”
How lucky is that, to live where one truly feels at home? The smell of the air, the colors, the sounds, and the feel of the land are all, for me, just right. The modern version of the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears popped into my head with that last sentence. The mind works in mysterious ways.
Or perhaps not so mysterious. I remember reading somewhere that the tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears can be interpreted as finding the middle path, the place that’s just right, rather than choosing from one extreme or another. Balance, centering, moderation, that sort of thing.
Our trip home yesterday was long (about 15 hours, door to door) and uneventful. The planes did not crash. The two flights (the first to Chicago, the second to Akron) were relatively smooth. I had a brief moment of panic boarding the second plane. It was one of those small, commuter jets. Why that should bother me more than a large plane is beyond me. Walking out on the tarmac and then up the stairs was more nerve wracking than the usual walk through the jetway/airbridge that connects the airport terminal gate to the plane.
I am extremely grateful for and to the woman who sat across the aisle from me on our second flight. When M and I boarded the small jet it was immediately apparent that we were not seated together. It was one of those planes that have a row of single seats and a row of double seating. While I’m sure I would have survived sitting by myself, the woman that would have been seated with M or with me was kind enough to switch and take the single seat across the aisle. I explained to her that I have a fear of flying, although the explanation wasn’t necessary as she was willing to move as soon as we asked. But that’s not all she did.
My fear of flying is worse during take-offs and landings. The descent through the clouds (and there usually are clouds, especially when coming back to the Bogs) when we land are the worst moments for me. Just after the pilot announced we’d be descending and landing soon, the woman across the aisle reached over, patted my hand, and asked, “How are you doing?” It was a simple, sincere question. I told her I was okay so far. Still breathing (rather than holding my breath in panic). She jokingly remarked that at least I wasn’t screaming or trying to escape from the plane. I don’t know why that relaxed me, but it did. We talked for a little while and before I knew it, the plane was touching down and we were on the ground. I never even noticed the bumps and thumps of moving through the turbulence in the clouds (and yes, there were clouds as it was overcast when we arrived).
After the anxiety of flying, a 2am wake-up call to make our flight, and a lack of sleep two nights in a row, I had no trouble at all getting to sleep last night. Or staying that way. In fact, I slept in until 10am, having woken up once (at 6am) and decided I’d sleep for as long as I needed to.
As for my outdoor commitment, I was worried I might not be able to fit in the minimum 30 minutes of outside time with the long day of travel yesterday. United Airlines provided me with the opportunity. With many conventioneers (there were approximately 30,000 people attending the same conference/convention as M) leaving San Diego yesterday morning, they had to line us all up outside. The line stretched and looped a long way. We stood outside for at least 30-40 minutes. While it’s not the nature walk I’m used to taking, it was outdoor time. Because the winds were from the west (off the ocean), the fog was fairly thick. There was a bit of a breeze and it felt a little chilly.
Today, here in the Bogs, it was brisk (45 degrees and breezy) and mostly sunny with the occasional puffy cloud adding white spots of interest to the sky. I was greeted by a crow, a mourning dove, and a red-tailed hawk.
It’s good to be home, in both the wide view…
… and in the close-up, smaller view.