Tuesday, June 28, 2011

on flight

This is not a blog about levitation. So stop reading if you wanted to hear about how I started floating during meditation. Hasn’t happened. Yet.

As I write this, I’m aboard a small plane headed from the east coast back to the Midwest. My two-week vacation of yoga, family, food and rest is over.

Most people, especially nowadays, experience some level of anxiety when they travel. This includes but is not limited to: packing anxiety, worry regarding time, fears about the safety of traveling and that other scary T-word that you’re not even supposed to think about when you’re within 10 square miles of any airport because the government may hunt you down and pat you on your private parts.

Like many people, I find packing to be a very painful activity. There really should be a way for me to bring my entire closet with me wherever I go. But I can still somehow manage to squeeze two weeks of clothing and personal needs into a carry-on.

My real panic begins about 20 minutes from any airport. The bottom of my stomach start to shift and churn and I’m sure I’m about to go number two right there in the car. I’m not sure why, but it happens every single time.

I always have my boarding pass ready to go when I get to the airport so I don’t have to speak to a soul until I ask for my ginger ale on the plane. I head straight to security to possibly get naked and take my bag apart for the under-qualified, underpaid teenagers they have protecting our airports.

Even though I am quite careful not to transport any illegal items when I travel, I’m always afraid I’ll get patted down and someone will discover something I’m not supposed to have. Read: I watch too much Law and Order.

Once I get to the gate, I sit quietly. Sometimes I cry after saying goodbye to loved ones. Sometimes I listen to music. Sometimes I read. Sometimes I stare unflinchingly at strangers without an ounce of shame. Okay, full disclosure: most times I do the latter.

As soon as everyone has boarded the plane, settled in and secured safely via their seatbelts, I sit back and fixate on the employees on the tarmac. I’ve always wanted to job shadow someone out there. It’s like some foreign world. You have to have thick skin to hang out with planes outdoors all day long, all year long.

After a bit more obtrusive staring at strangers, I’ve been known to pass out before the plane taxis and not wake up until my ears start popping during the descent.

When I can’t or choose not to sleep, I find myself letting out a very long, slow moving exhale once we’re in the air and we’re not in that crooked, sky-rocket-in-flight position.

From this point, until we land, I am at peace. I am neither here nor there. The vehicle in which I travel is going quite fast, but I just feel suspended in time and space. There was a seven-month period when I was in a 1,000-mile, long-distance relationship, and even though parting ways with my boyfriend was a really difficult thing to do, I remember getting up high in the air, exhaling and feeling perfectly peaceful mingling with the clouds.

I imagine this is the “just be” mentality for which many yogis and yoginis strive. Just suspended in space and time, with the inevitable subtitles containing thoughts of where you just were and where you’re going, but those fade in and out while you just sort of hover until it isn’t time to hover anymore.

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