I enjoy flying. To me it means that I can travel to places I enjoy, see friends that are separated by distance and share the work I do with different areas of the world. I know that international travel can be fraught with uncertainty or fear these days, annoyances and challenges.
Recently I’ve been travelling again and during my movement I considered travel, planes and different aspects of the voyage in terms of the mind, the subconscious and how we look at the journey.
The People you Meet in 49J
There are times when I fly and pull my hood up and tuck myself off for a 45 minute nap as soon as I settle in my seat. There are other times when I have listened to, and heard, some fabulous adventures from those I’m sitting beside.
I love the entertainment systems on airplanes these days. I catch up on movies I’ve missed and am exposed to a wider variety of international films that give me some interesting insights into what is entertainment around the globe (as well as views on family, work and a host of other issues). And while I do spend a lot of time reflecting on the shows that I’ll be seeing, I remember that they are still merely distractions. They fill my time, often pleasantly, but are monologues where I am a passive absorber.
Conversations with real people are alive and participatory. You generally don’t know who you’ll be sitting beside and with a little support, those people will tend to reveal some interesting bits about themselves and their travels, hopes and dreams.
The company of strangers is an interesting phenomenon to me. If you are a good listener who makes it safe for someone else, it’s amazing what others will share with you.
Over the years I’ve learned the ‘inside track’ on all kinds of venues, sights, and places I was either going to immediately or in the future. I’ve learned more about how others feel in their place in the world, and gather insight about cultural views that I wouldn’t have from newspapers and academic journals. I feel really lucky to learn so much from others in these brief encounters.
Have I ever met anyone who has ‘talked my ear off’? Or given only negative input? Yes, but the numbers are substantially smaller than those that enhanced my life.
Looking at this from a mind perspective, our openness tends to present more opportunities than when we close ourselves off. Similarly, we can distract and amuse ourselves with a static (although consistent) pattern or habit, but it often doesn’t add to our deeper meaning and connections in our lives. Even knowing that, we sometimes protect ourselves against the ‘few’ who may negate our desire to reach out to others.
Usually during those odd occasions I’ve learned an interesting and important lesson about myself, or have understood some challenge or pain that the other person is carrying, and have been able to practice my compassion and empathy.
I’ve generally found that the mind rules of “perception is reality” and “where your attention goes your energy flows” seem to dovetail nicely here. I have the general expectation that the people I am drawn to will enhance my life experience.
The “Scary” Suitcase (or extra baggage)
But what about the dangers? Interestingly, I found that the repeated messages by airlines and airports about watching out for unattended baggage popped into my awareness (as subconscious learning tends to do with the conscious mind).
There was a woman who was sitting beside a roller bag near where I was sitting and proceeded to walk away from it. By the time I realized it, she was off down the hall, so I followed her. I’m not sure exactly what I was doing – aiming to get away from a potentially hazardous situation, or ask her about her bag.
She ended up buying a candy (story later) and returning to the same area where I asked her about it (as we had passed right by it on the way back). She didn’t speak English but expressed it wasn’t hers. Meanwhile, the bag disappeared – rejoined with its rightful owner, I suppose.
With the devastating situations that have happened in airports around the world, it is healthy to have an awareness and consideration for anomalies that may be hazardous to one’s health and wellbeing.
Similarly, fear, one of the wonderful yet often misunderstood emotions in the subconscious, can be a good thing. If there is the potential for something bad to happen, fear can be a wake-up call for us to change something or protect ourselves in some constructive way. However, when we begin to see potential horror behind every turn, we often start to be LESS able to support ourselves and care for our physical, mental or emotional wellbeing in a way that works for us.
While I’m not sure my reaction was the most beneficial (especially for those around me), it was more productive than sitting and watching the unattended bag and worrying about whether it would explode or not. I’ve started to look at areas of my life where I seem to be doing the same thing – inaction with apprehension – and seeing what other approaches I can take with this extra baggage in my life.
Standing in another’s “obuv’”
So back at the airport, my ‘bag’ lady walked to a coffee kiosk to get a candy that was in an open bowl. We were in Houston and she was heading back to Moscow. As I later found from personal experience, she didn’t speak a word of English, so her interaction with the sales person was a little confused. As an international pointer (when I don’t have the words to fill in the space), I understood what she wanted, but there was a short delay before she passed her coins over to the woman behind the counter and took her candy.
I decided to get a coffee while I was there and heard the exasperated tones of the kiosk workers (basically expressing to themselves that people should speak English). So I simply said, “It’s so easy for me to get a cup of coffee here – I’m off to Moscow and wonder how I’m going to order a cup without knowing any Russian…”
Was it a concern of mine because I was transiting for a longer period in Moscow (yes!) or suggesting a different perspective for others (maybe?), but it was certainly a reminder for me to imagine I’m speaking a different kind of language whether actual or metaphoric) when I’m having trouble communicating with others.
By the way, I believe “obuv’” means shoes or footwear in Russian.
Flight – many metaphors
As always I like to find metaphors in the experiences I have. One of the ones I’ve repeated often is the idea of tiny shifts with big results. A pilot makes only small alterations within a flight path to change destinations at the other end. Sometimes my clients bring in a ‘laundry list’ of changes they want to make. All. Now. Yet when we start with one ‘simple’ one, it’s amazing how that shift in direction makes the others on the list seem to fall in line more easily.
I’ve recently heard that of some research that revealed that the more automated a pilot’s job, the more chances there are for errors or problems. I can’t confirm that but I do know the mind. While we can positively automate certain shifts in our thoughts, behaviours or feelings, it’s in the shift that we keep ourselves on track.
The only constant is change, and as we increase our information, insight and understanding, we can shift our perspectives and our participation in ways that work for us right now. Taking our hands off the wheel (or yoke in aeronautic terms?) tends to lead to more problems down the way.
Finally, I like to equate hypnosis work with supersonic flight. Within a very short period of time you can find yourself in a very different world.
If you’d like some support taking that journey, please let me know – I’m here to help.