I had a sort-of meltdown at the Vancouver Airport’s Air Canada check-in counter this week.
I missed my flight.
No big deal. I’ve missed flights before. But for some reason – no not some reason – a specific reason – I was triggered.
The trigger: We can’t control anything in life. We may delude ourselves into thinking we can by manipulating or controlling or micromanaging or exercising our agendas, but the physics of the universe tell a different story.
Life itself is a let go and it forces us to feel.
If I want to be happy. If I want to remain sane. If I want to be functional and healthy. If I want to have a relatively stress-free life, it’s about letting go of things that are inherently uncontrollable. Which is all of life – because nothing is controllable.
At times we may think we’ve got life by the balls. It’s seductive to think this way.
I’m on a TV show.
I’m with a powerful agency.
Guess what? All those things will change.
The only constant in life is change. And change is ultimately uncontrollable.
That acknowledgment can be scary because it places us squarely in our vulnerability of what it truly means to be human. And that’s why we control. Because we aren’t comfortable with feeling.
In my years of working with artists, I’ve discovered that human beings have a lot of shame around our doing things “incorrectly” or “failing” or taking action and making mistakes and then blaming ourselves for it and making ourselves feel awful. The Shame And Blame Bus is over-crowded in our culture because having to take responsibility for – and having to actually feel our feelings of vulnerability instead – is a lot harder.
I missed my flight. It brought up my stuff and I immediately saw that it was no one’s fault but my own. (Except for Peter the rude Air Canada customer service agent.) No, no. It was me. (Except for my friend Alison who drove me to the airport like a grandma, making me late.) No, no. It was me. (Except for these stupid TSA rules that say a flight is closed an hour before departure.) No, no it was me.
But having to actually forgive myself for making a mistake and not blaming someone else means having to let go of control, take responsibility and feel.
It’s hard at first but with practice, you’ll get the hang of it. And you’ll discover that there’s always a solution.
But often the solution isn’t what we think.
There’s a coda to the story. I got on another flight and it all worked out. But sitting on the plane I realized that we like to look for the answers in the external. We say to ourselves, “There’s got to be a reason for this.” And then we go searching for it. Out there. “Maybe I’m going to sit next to a really hot single guy who will become my boyfriend.” Nope. More like a crying baby and her stressed out mom. “I’m going to meet an agent who’s going to turn my life around.” Nope. The plane looked more like it was filled with a bunch of Sarah Palin enthusiasts who were heading to Disneyland. “Maybe I’ll sit next to Rihanna!” Nope. Kind of hard when you’re at the back of the plane next to the toilets.
Flying at 30,000 feet I realized that the answers aren’t out there. The answers we seek for the deep, perplexing, human questions we want answers for are inside of us. Waiting for the lesson to occur – if we are but present enough to receive it – and awaken the true meaning of our own lives inside each of us.
That let go was worth a missed flight any day.