Opportunities for Practice
On a recent return flight from FL, on my way home from a 7-day silent retreat, I arrived at the airport in a timely fashion to find the flight had a fifteen (15) minute delay. Not so bad, I thought. I took a seat by the windows to enjoy the remaining daylight, sitting near a young woman. The young woman (K) and I began a conversation, was really quite pleasant.
When I ponder this pleasant feeling now, I wonder did I notice what thoughts, emotions, or sensations were present that gave me the notion that this experience was pleasant?
Anyway, back to the flight delay. We began to board. I was an early boarder on this Southwest flight. I took an aisle seat and placed the knitting project on the seat next to me and began knitting. My intention was to keep the seat unavailable (despite my own judgment about those who pay for one Early Boarding Pass and then save numerous other seats, argh!). My hope was that perhaps the middle seat would remain empty, and if so, maybe K could seize that seat and we could continue our conversation.
Low and behold, K was the LAST person to board the flight, and, yes, I was knitting, and my knitting was still on that middle seat. Yay!!
We smiled as she hoisted her luggage into an overhead bin and sat next to me. Soon, an announcement from the flight attendant came through loud and clear saying “this flight is full, so if you are standing in the aisle, maneuver and find your way to an available seat.” Lucky us.
Not soon after, as boarding was completed, the Southwest person who had scanned our boarding passes, was standing up in front, making an announcement. She announced that there was a problem with the pilot’s seat, that it needed to be replaced, and that we would have to stay on the ground, in the plane for an hour to an hour fifteen minutes, while the replacement took place. An option to deboard and stay at the gate was offered as well.
Taking a mindful pause, breathing, feeling into my feet, my thought was, let me ask the flight attendant if she has a deck of cards. Resourcing myself (and K) with the option of playing cards versus reacting with “oh no, what….!” I chose playing cards.
I asked K if she would like to play cards, and her response was yes…so I asked the flight attendant if she had a deck of cards. Unfortunately, the answer was “no”. So, I asked if she would be willing to ask, over the loud speaker, if anyone had a deck of cards, her answer was “no, but you can”. The young man seated in front of me, overheard this, said that he had a deck of cards, stood up, opened his luggage in the overhead bin and voilà, a deck of cards! He also shared the details of how to play Kings in the Corner, so kind and helpful! We went on to play Kings in the Corner and Garbage for about an hour or so, and then we were informed that the plan to replace the pilot’s seat did not work out…SO a change of planes and gates was next up.
An opportunity for practice once again: Exploring available anchors: the breath, feeling into sensations of the hands or the feet, listening to the soundscape…allowing choice as I steadied my attention to rest on an anchor of my choice, one that would be supportive in THIS moment
There are SO many other details to share, but suffice to say that in the midst of challenge and TOO much, I was able to resource myself with presence, an anchor, connection, card games, a glass of wine on board (on the final plane), and humor (such a beautiful thing!). K and I are keeping in touch post-flight.