There’s very little doubt about it, flying has become one of the most stressful experiences for those of us in first world countries. Seats are smaller, lines are longer, prices are higher. But even now, flying home for Christmas, I am reminded why I love flying.
Perspective. Sometimes we need to see the world differently, literally. That can mean noticing the smallest details close up to distantly experiencing that which surrounds us every day. On a plane, it is this second perspective which is illuminated. The countryside appears as blocks of color, dotted with tiny buildings. Green, yellow, red, the source of our life. One sees a city in the full expanse of its existence. Not just a few buildings on a block, but an entire network of structures, working together. Flying into Seattle today, I saw the Space Needle and the Experience Music Museum, encompassed by their surroundings, no longer single entities, but part of a whole.
The Sweet Grass Hills, Montana. This is home.
Time to do nothing. While flying, we literally have to disconnect. Yes, we have our iPads with our books, and our games, but we no longer have Facebook, endless web surfing, or emails. This is probably my favorite part of flying. Just sitting. Just being. I so rarely give myself time to do this in my everyday life. I don’t know why. I blame Netflix, I am, after all, a champion binge watcher. I don’t meditate, and yet I believe that it is necessary and good. I use my time in the air to just sit with my thoughts, so let them flow by like the land and water below.
The anticipation of arrival. Anticipation is a double edged sword. It feels wonderful to be excited about something, but it can often feel miserable. Time can drag and we can suffer in our waiting. But with practice, anticipation can be a peaceful and calming experience. It’s a time to dream and hope for what is to come when the plane lands.
My recommendation to those of you who get stressed out when flying is this: slow down. Give yourself time to move slowly and to enjoy the act of simply watching. It will take some practice, and even the best of us get frustrated and antsy sometimes, but with time you will begin to enjoy the process.