The Sunrise in the Emergency Landing

“Sorry for the inconvenience but there is an issue, and we need to land- now”. That is the jolting announcement that wakes me from my sleep on the flight home tonight.  After about 25 minutes in the air, our plane from Miami is forced to land due to a generator failure.  Thankfully, they caught the issue before it became a real issue, so no Sully landing required.   Scary, but we’re okay.  And now we wait in the lonely West Palm Beach Airport awaiting a voucher, and hopefully a sense of direction for what is next.  I look around.  I can feel the stress of the situation.  Frustrated consultants worried about arriving late to their client in the morning.  A confused woman charmingly unaware of when or where she is to go next.   A young guy taking advantage of the free airport wifi to check out the West Palm Beach girls on Tinder.  And a lot of tired, disappointed passengers just wanting to get home.   Somehow, I’m mostly feeling gratitude that we’re all okay, and am not stressing out.  I know not too long ago, I too would have reacted with anger and fear regarding this situation.  Those meditation apps (and that positive psychology class and textbook)  are coming in handy after all.  As the chaos and stress hover around me, I choose to drift back to another unexpected moment I had just a few days back and savor that sunrise instead.

It’s Day 10 of our cruise across the Atlantic Ocean (You know what: crossing the ocean by boat wasn’t so scary after all!  Totally smooth sailing and not one sight of an iceberg).   Derrick is still asleep when I wake up, and instead of fighting it, I decide to get up.  I find earlier in the day is when my creative brain is at its prime (it’s a bit of a tragedy that after 10am it’s a downhill slide 😉 ) so I grab my laptop for the first time in almost 3 weeks in hopes to reconnect with my blog.  I try to sneak out of the room without turning the lights on, which in turn, is hugely more disturbing than if I had of just turned on a light.   Tripping over shoes, feeling for a wall, and taking about 5 times longer than if I had of just turned on the bathroom light.  Sorry Derrick!

As I step outside of our room, I decide to head to the back of the ship on deck 16.  This should be a perfect spot to stare out into the ocean, and hopefully find a bit of inspiration with my blog.  I step outside just as the sun is about to peak out over the endless ocean horizon.   The clouds look like a scene of out Finding Dory (L to R: some fish, stingray, shark, whale, baby whale).  It’s blue, orange, glowing, and stunning.  It’s so peaceful and captivating.  I put my laptop down, and decide to watch the world happen.

img_7233I have no idea how much time it’s been when I finally head back to the room to check on Derrick.  I found each moment the sunrise became more and more beautiful.  A gentle reminder that the world keeps on turning no matter what is going on.    No set task was accomplished.  Just a shared moment with me, the ocean, and the sun.  I’m feeing creative, relaxed, and happy.  That my friends is called flow: losing myself in a beautiful moment.

img_7273Flow is something that I usually resist.  I resist it because I have perceived it as distracting, and out of my control.  I think that I like to be in control, and be on a schedule because it provides a sense of accomplishment, and something to cross off.  It keeps me moving in a “busy direction”.  I think I might be missing something here.  I’m not suggesting that it’s about doing nothing, but about doing something with whatever presents itself.  Appreciating a random connection on a plane ride without looking at my phone, taking up a free ticket that someone offers because I have an open night, or helping a stranger needing help with directions without a sense of resentment for making me late for an already late appointment.  Maybe it’s giving time to see the sun rise in the morning.

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So here we sit at the airport in West Palm Beach.  Our plane would have touched down in Philly a hour ago, and we would be home with our own pillows by now.  Instead we’re still in an airport 4 hours later only 70 miles from where we started, waiting for that hotel voucher, while seizing the unexpected opportunity to write a blog post :). I decide to choose the sunrise in this unplanned situation, and am grateful that we’re safe and sound on the ground.

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When was the last time you got lost in a sunrise or sunset? What do you think about the idea that you  choose your reaction to any given situation?   When do you find yourself in a state of flow?  Any American Airline fans out there?

Song of the Day: You Will Find Me (Alex and Sierra) 

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