It is an amazing feeling to be able to confidently say looking back at this year, that this has been one of the best years of my life. Not because something amazing happened, although many amazing things did happen. But for reasons much deeper, and albeit much more simple than I ever knew to look for before. It was one of the best years because I took the time to understand what I truly wanted,
I took the time for the first time in my life, to truly listen to myself.
Then I took action, based on what felt true and right for me, no matter how scary it was. And boy were there some TERRIFYING moments this year. And after each and every scary moment, although sometimes days later, I felt so proud of myself and fulfilled in a way I’ve never known. In years past, I had been a big proponent of running away and numbing myself out. I would completely shut down and close myself off from situations, people, and feelings that I was scared to deal with.
But at the end of 2016, after hitting rock bottom, I made a promise to myself to be intentional in 2017 about facing and feeling everything, even when its scary. Because I learned how much worse the alternative is, and I didn’t ever want to carelessly travel down that road again when I know I can make another choice. Throughout 2017 there were many confronting, exciting, and scary moments. I still ran from some, most I eventually faced, but there are some moments that stick out that I feel very proud of.
I am reminding myself that I don’t need to prove anything to anyone, even myself, I don’t need to “do” anything to deserve my own love and approval. However, knowing what my internal landscape and mindset used to be, I can’t help but be a little awed by myself sometimes when I see the shifts both large and small taking place.
A few days ago, on Christmas Eve 2017, I manifested a spiritual assignment for myself to put everything I had been consciously working on into play. Of course I wasn’t aware of this going into it, but by the end of the day I felt 100% confident this situation had been carefully crafted by my soul, for my soul, and the souls around me in the Sacramento Airport.
Moments before take off on the runway, during my first ever solo flight, the second engine failed to start. We sat on the runway for an hour as they attempted to manually start the engine, with no such luck. Now going into this moment, the days leading up to the flight had been quite challenging as I had a story in my head telling me I was scared of flying and scared of heights.
I didn’t used to be scared of flying when I was younger, but having not flown in 3 years and never alone, I felt certain I was going to have a panic attack on the flight. Before the second engine failed to start, I had been listening to a guided meditation on my phone and thought I was relatively calm – even though that felt like walking a thin line. After they realized the engine wasn’t going to start, they de-boarded us and delayed our flight three and a half hours. Ouch.
This led to a small internal freak out as the stories started to run through my head of “Why did I do this”, “Why didn’t I just drive like I always do”, “I knew something bad would happen”. Thankfully after a talk with my mom and grabbing a smoothie in the food court, I took a seat, some deep breaths, and started to read. I could kill a few hours I thought, “This isn’t the end of the world, Christmas will still be there if you get in at 5 instead of 12”. Later I moved to sit at the completely empty, new gate for our delayed flight 5257.
Around 3:00 the ticket agents, pilots and crew showed up with a cart full of pizza boxes and drinks. The pilots personally handed out slices of pizza to the 30 of us who were waiting at the gate for our late flight. The crew were so kind, sweet, and funny. The gesture took the pressure off of many of us who were stressed and disappointed.
Looking around as we sat waiting for our replacement plane to fly in from San Jose, I felt like I was a part of this little family of strangers. My heart felt happy and I knew exactly why the plane had been delayed. These felt like special, real life “Spirit of Christmas” moments that I was lucky enough to be a part of. However, this was not the end of the day, far from it.
News arrived at 4:00 that the plane from San Jose had never taken off, the mileage meter was off and couldn’t leave the gate. So we were back to square one. Everyone received simultaneous notifications on their phones of our flights new departure time being 5:30. I have a feeling that people get pissed when their flight is delayed 6 hours on an average day, but given it was Christmas Eve made it all the worse.
I think we lost another 10 to 12 people after that delay, as they found other flights. And I would be lying if I said I was not thinking of jumping ship as well. The delays were getting ridiculous and I didn’t know what the best move was. The pilots and crew were devastated, they all had families they were trying to get home to in time for Christmas as well and hadn’t anticipated this delay either. The ticket agents were getting overwhelmed as they tried to find alternate flights for the people who were upset or missing connecting flights.
And as much as I wanted to get home as quickly as possible, I knew I had no real rush. My family would be there to pick me up whenever I arrived. I didn’t want to take a seat on another flight from someone who needed it. As I took the time to hear my intuition, I kept hearing to stay with this flight. So I did.
We got word that another plane was coming in from Seattle at 5:45 and that this one would be ours to LA. Everyone was very excited as the pilots reassured us “We are leaving at 6, no matter what.” So I tried to relax and began speaking more with a flight attendant who had been sitting next to me. The two of us had been talking on and off since 3, but as the hours went on we began to move from small talk into conversation. He reminded me of my grandpa, very sweet with heaps of dry humor, which made me so much more comfortable being myself in such an unfamiliar situation.
As he and I were talking, everyone got another notification, the flight had been delayed till 7:15. I had never heard so many people sigh at once. The ticket agent called Seattle to find out why the plane was delayed. It had started snowing and they needed to de-ice the plane.
Another family chose to switch flights at that point so they wouldn’t miss their connecting flight to Rome. I looked around at the 15 people that were left, everyone looked exhausted and sad, including the pilots. The feeling of collective disappointment was palpable.
I went to the bathroom at that point to cry for a moment. I didn’t understand if I had done something wrong or what the block was with me getting to LA. I let myself fully soak in my moment of disappointment, acknowledging how sad I was going through this on my own.
Of course, then I remembered that I wasn’t. I always know that now, even when I forget for a bit. I went back to talk with Agheel (the flight attendant) and shared a bit of my sadness when we discussed the delay. That moment in and of itself was very new and uncomfortable with me, I barely talk about my feelings with my family, let alone a stranger. While I was still reserved and very composed in how much I opened and shared, it felt like a perfect start.
Another hour passed, they were still de-icing the plane, which resulted in another hour delay. Finally, right before 8pm the plane from Seattle landed in Sacramento. When the plane had been de-boarded and our crew was about to board, we all erupted in applause.
The passengers left around me on that flight honestly felt like the best of the best. The people who stuck around till the end were clearly abundant in patience, kindness, and understanding. Once again I was wrapped in the overwhelming feeling of being a part of a family. I was so relieved and happy in that moment.
When we boarded the plane, it was now so empty that no one was sitting next to me, in front of, or behind. With the seats in first class being empty, two families with little kids took the seats so their kids could experience something especially fun. The pilots were so apologetic and kind, and promised to get us safely to LA in record time (which they absolutely accomplished!).
They opened the bar, so I ordered my first drink on a plane as I hadn’t flown since I turned 21. Agheel handed me so many free snacks and treats I could’ve been fed for a week. And as I sat in my seat, preparing for take off (again), I felt so much lighter and much less scared. I felt safe, warm, loved, and very abundant with all the free goodies coming my way. As we took off and I looked down at the night lights of the city, I realized exactly why the day unfolded as it did.
Alignment, Alignment, Alignment. Nobody is kidding when they say alignment is messy and painful, but so darn worth it. That flight felt special and safe. I had gotten to know the crew and trusted them completely. I made a new friend, who took care of me during the flight and while we had waited, so I didn’t feel alone anymore. Flying into LAX on Christmas Eve I felt like Santa, looking down at neighborhoods flooded with Christmas lights.
Alignment is not always the easy path (even though it can be), it is not always the first shot out the gate (though it can be), and you will doubt yourself over and over again (although I hope in time, that will be less). Alignment can really throw a wrench in your mind’s plan, but when your intention is to live according to your soul’s plan, then your mind will just have to sit back and enjoy the ride. My intention was clear heading into that day, so I shouldn’t have been surprised with how the day unfolded, but of course my mind fought me at every mishap and delay.
It was a wonderful reminder that while I was anxious to get home to my family, family is not limited to what we are born into. You can feel at home with a group of strangers, our family extends to every living being on earth, even though that’s easy to forget. On that plane I felt so grateful that I got to be a part of such an exceptional experience and group of people. And this time when we took off, instead of trying hard not to focus on my fear and anxiety, I was intently focused on the overwhelming love and gratitude I felt.
The only words floating through my mind during take off were Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. Along with a mantra aimed towards my angels that really helped me:
“My love is greater than my fear.
And I love you enough to trust you.”
I’ve used this one a few times since that day when I start to feel my need for control overpowering the urge to surrender. That day required me to embody and practice many of the core concepts I actively worked on this year.
Patience. Deep Trust and Surrender. Relax and Have Fun - no matter what. Let Go of Control. Be the Light. Commitment. Gratitude. Lean into Connection. Soften and Open. and Embody Ease and Grace in stressful situations.
If you have actually read through all of this, I thank you. I wanted to tell the full story, to try and share some of the magic I received from that situation. I hope you all had the most wonderful year, and if not, please try and find the good that is always there. Even if it’s simple. And next year choose to focus on those good aspects again, and multiply them. What we appreciate truly does appreciate.
So I want to say how much I truly appreciate anyone and everyone who has visited or benefited from Learning to Glow. We have made so much beautiful progress this year, and I am SO excited to see how she blossoms next year with some more TLC, from my heart to all of yours through this site. I wish you all the best new years, filled with love, light, and some magic moments of your own. Here’s to a bright and epic 2018 for us all.