Doing what I do for a living doesn't exactly make me a globetrotter. I'm not versed in navigating airports, flight delays, or jetlag. And for obvious reasons, I haven't been traveling much at all during the last 2 years. Bearing those facts in mind, and as I face repetitive and increasingly worsening flight delays, I fluctuate between a few points: powerlessness and uncertainty. I sit befuddled, exhausted and immobilized, facing the reality that all I really want to do is to go home.
Suffice to say, this is an extraordinary opportunity to practice mindfulness. The repetitive messages of the past 3 days of a psychotherapy conference are fresh in my mind but maybe not quite ripe for the picking. Not one but at least 5 different presenters over these 3 days referenced a meditation practice as essential to emotional wellbeing. I wish their ideas and suggestions had more time to germinate. But instead, here I sit, in the hotel lobby, hours past the time of day I'd expected to be home, waiting on hold with the airline. I could go a bit crazy with rage. I feel it all bubbling inside of me, aided by physical exhaustion that's been jacked up by too many cups of coffee and a generous dose of disorientation. How exactly is this happening and when will it end? All too familiar questions for the times in which we live.
Breathe in, breathe out. Focusing on that point at the bottom of my stomach, behind my belly button, a point easy enough to find again and again and again as it slips in and out of my mind's eye again and again and again.
Rev. Angel Kyoto Williams says to ask 3 questions following the meditation: 1) what's my present temperature, 2) what's the turbulence in my practice and 3) what time am I investing? My present temperature is stuck, constrained, pent up and waiting for resolution. The turbulence pulling me away from the point is the wondering when and how I'll get home. There's no question that I will get home but when ...... now ........ now ......... now? And I feel resentment at having to accept this bind because I'm unquestionably caught in it and have to go through it to get out. Lastly, time. At current count, I've invested 90 minutes of time on call to the airline and several more hours to the overall delay.
At least the airline plays decent music while you're on hold. At least, I have power cords to keep my phone and laptop alive, and a comfortable place to sit and wait. And I have the privilege of a white body, intelligence, and perhaps most importantly, resources, to fix this situation as circumstances dictate.
Breathe in, breathe out. Waiting.