Slow [plane] to China

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8/26/13

LAX

If you’re pondering being fully connected to your body, toddlers are wonderful teachers.  Sitting on the floor in terminal 4 in LAX, I was watching people walk by.  Noting how they hurl their bodies forward, drive it ever onward, lay back in it and see where it goes, hold on to every fiber…  in my musing about the way people sit in their frames and drive them around, a stroller-clad mother sat down in the chair in front of me, and her toddler-aged son immediately took charge of the open space at the end of the chair cluster.  His body needed to *move* and he obliged it gladly.  He wiggled his hips. He stood on his toes. He jumped.  He dropped into a plank. He swayed on his spiderman sneakers while in plank.  He dropped to his belly and arched his back.  He sprung back up and began walking around in deep squats.

He did a toddler version of the yoga tape that I often start my day with- exercises intended to wake up the organs and get circulation moving.

How marvelously wise the body is!  How naturally it leads us to what is good for us if we listen to it…

NEED TO PLUG IN?

After doing a few stretching exercises, I found a spot against the wall in the terminal so I could stretch my legs out.  They’d be hanging below me for 13+ hours, so I thought it wise to take advantage of the opportunity.

Situation between the corridor to the phones and restrooms and one of the meager charging stations, I don’t know how many people I saw, cord in hand, desperately looking for an outlet to plug in to.

After my conversation on the commuter flight from Phoenix to LA with a woman about juggling multiple projects, living between the East Coast and West Coast, and doing caregiving for her grandfather, I was struck by the metaphor of how many people were frantic to find an outlet—how many needed to plug-in.

Somewhere in the early ‘00s, I was at a friend’s house for dinner in a southern province in The Netherlands.  The conversation had turned to the way that technology was moving into more and more sectors of our lives.  The discussion was about whether that was a movement that would bring us closer together, or a wedge to drive us further apart.   My friend posited that the technology we were seeing take full grip- mobile phones and SMS—were reflections of our own capacity.  “If we didn’t have the capacity to do it ourselves, we wouldn’t dream it, no? How can we imagine what is not in us?”

The conversation moved quickly on, but I hung in that space for a while.  I wanted to savor the glorious possibility she stated so matter-of-factly.

What a metaphor for our times: dazed and desperate travelers seeking an outlet in the short time they have before jetting off to the next bullet point in their itinerary.  Though they’d all likely gotten the large overnight charge, they now needed a pick-me-up.  An extra bump to get them through the next transition until there would be more outlets to charge more fully.   The occasional text or FB message makes it easy enough to stay charged through the day, but logging on to check flights, reading books, watching movies, listening to music and otherwise tapping more of the phone’s features than normal wears the battery down much quicker than the more typical use does.

And so it is with life.

The idea that you have to live in a quiet retreat in order to nourish your body and mind is as unrealistic as it is undesirable.  Retreating to peel back layers, get new perspective, and take self-care to a more profound level is important, but if it’s the only time you’re pluggin in, you’re going to be met with a blank screen when you need functionality the most.

If you’re running lots of programs, its that much more important that you plug-in more frequently- even if its not for a full-charge.   What are your outlets? Where can you plug-in?

What is the thing that you say you love but claim you don’t have time for?  How can you get a sip instead of waiting until you can finish a full gallon in one sitting?

Nature helps me put things into perspective.  It refreshes and energizes me.  So does dancing. And color. I only need to dip into any of these things for a few minutes and I feel “like myself again”.  When I last worked for someone else, I would spend the last 10 minutes of my lunch break outside against a tree with my toes in the grass. Dropping fully into my breath, I would ground myself there and let anything that I was holding on to just melt away into the tree, the grass, the earth.  Five minutes was good, and 10 was more than enough to feel completely refreshed and ready to take on the afternoon.  I couldn’t wait until I had a 3-day weekend to get to a place where there’s beautiful trails and phenomenal vistas to release and cultivate gratitude and awe.  I needed it now. So I found a patch of grass and a tree.  If you weren’t waiting for the perfect all-in-amazing picture-book version to come along before you charged, what could you do? Where are those pockets you can drop in to?  Please share in the comments so we can get ideas!

BOARDING IS COMPLETE

Boarding the plane for Shanghai was like being in New York City.  Everyone is milling around, loud, animated, and passionately discussing the arrangement of luggage in the overhead compartment.  When the pilot announced that boarding was complete, the plane felt like a Saturday at the market.  The idea that boarding was complete and we were ready to start moving made me smile- but as chaotic as the process was to get on to the plane, everyone took their seats swiftly and gracefully. In a scant handful of minutes, everyone was seated and buckled in, ready for the cabin crew’s inspection.

Something tells me that this is how China moves.  Its m.o. has already been working its mojo in my life getting ready for this trip—now its time to fully relax into it and know that it will all work out in the end- and much swifter than I would have thought possible.

Bye-bye Cali! Time to visit skies much more polluted than yours.

Bye-bye Cali! Time to visit skies much more polluted than yours.

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About "Rites O'Passage Ceremony & Coaching

Sheherezade using stories to transform the wounded and vengeful Sultan in 1001 Nights is my inspiration to fold stories and folktales into my coaching practice at Rites O'Passage I taught writing, literature, and women's studies for 13 years and got my start coaching as an academic coach at a medical school. "Women Who Run With the Wolves" stayed on my reading list pretty much the entire time I taught, and coaching gives me the opportunity to hold the classes and workshops I always dreamed of-- using archetypes for emotional alchemy

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