“We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.”
~ The 12-Step Promises
“My mind is quiet, calm, and deeply still. All tension is released and the great inner peace flows out through every nerve.”
Across the Aisle
A recent 2-hour flight became a transformative lesson in flexibility and a chance to practice releasing the old, and embracing the new.
I’ve been an aisle person as far back as I can recall. Probably left over from my drinking days when I was restless, fidgety, and impatient. I needed frequent bathroom trips from the steady stream of liquids I consumed. Plus, I didn’t enjoy my passive / aggressive emotions toward the seat mates I had to climb over.
Whenever I fly Southwest, my timer is always set to exactly 24 hours preflight to log on and secure an “A” group boarding pass. No room for error in aisle seat attainment.
So I felt relaxed and confident having secured my preassigned 27F seat for my recent Alaska Airlines flight. Once on board, I hoisted my carry-on into the overhead compartment and arranged my magazines and snacks in my area. As I prepared to settle in, a family of 5 converged on my row and began divvying up the kids with the adults. There were 3 seats on either side of the 1 aisle.
All eyes locked on me after all 5 boarding passes were checked. “What is your seat number?” the mom asked politely.
“I’m 27F. Aisle,” I emphasized. The grandma pointed to the diagram, and sure enough, F was the window seat.
Feeling a tinge of anxiety, I heard myself say, “That doesn’t seem right. I always get an aisle seat.” The dad confessed he was of the window seat persuasion, and we momentarily discussed switching. The mom said it was fine with her, but the aisle seat is smack in the midst of their family. This meant passing items back and forth across the aisle, therefore across my lap and face.
I had to face reality. Window seat, here I come.
Immediately, I learned the window is the perfect place to focus and physically lean into when not feeling chatty on the outside, yet inwardly having an affirmative monologue.
Once airborne, I immediately saw beautiful patterns take form on the landscape below. Dozens of the puffiest white clouds hung seemingly at arm’s length. I couldn’t recall experiencing this as a sober person. Winding waterways snaked through jagged mountain ranges; beautiful and peaceful panoramic scenery in every direction.
Soon came the icing on the cake. The pilot announced “Passengers on the right side of the cabin, [which included 27F] we are flying right over Yosemite.” This was amazing – I could clearly identify El Capitan. I could clearly make out Half Dome – my favorite place, but from an angle I had never seen before.
I turned to the family to share this moment, and invite them peek out my wonderful window. But they were engrossed in their snoozing or electronic games and didn’t even glance up. I didn’t get the chance to tell them that I was having a transformational moment, nor to thank them for being a part of it.
Aisle seat addiction released. I can’t wait to fly again, and when I do, I will set my timer to ensure a window seat. The world is gorgeous.
What preferences do you have that could actually be limiting?
Are you comfortable mixing things up or are you prefer consistency and continuity?
What’s something you saw from a different angle (literally or figuratively) that shifted your point of view?
In gratitude, harmony and support,