Aisle or Window Seat
The most challenging aspect of 2020 for me has been not seeing my aging parents. They are 92 and 95 years old and live alone in NYC. I have lost many nights of sleep, worrying about their safety and fearing the worst. I spontaneously decided last week to take the risk and fly to NY. It was nerve-wracking as well as a logistical nightmare, but I was guided by my intuition that the risk of travel was not as grave as the risk of not seeing them for another unknown period of time. I boarded the plane looking like a character in a sci-fi movie, wearing a mask and face shield, spraying the surfaces with disinfectant and obsessively wiping my hands with sanitizer. I looked down at my boarding pass and noticed that I had a window seat. How could that be? I have to sit in an aisle seat! My brain began to react to this "threat" and I could feel myself wanting to "fight" by demanding my seat of choice. But I chose to take a few long deep breaths instead. A few minutes later I was nestled in my window seat, praying that I would make it for six hours without getting claustrophobic. After I meditated, I began to relax and reflect. Aisle seats had always afforded me the opportunity to get up, go to the restroom and/or walk the aisles. I felt safe in my aisle seat. I was not boxed in; I had easy access out. For most of my life, I was perpetually on the go, rarely resting or staying in one place, physically, mentally or emotionally. Being on the go and getting things done were my trademark. But in the years since becoming a meditator and meditation leader, I have been slowly embracing the beauty in stillness and in the wisdom of "staying" as Pema Chodron calls it. I did something I had never done before. I lifted the shade and looked out the window. Although I could feel the fear in my body, I took a good look at where I was in the moment, flying above the clouds. I was in flight, traveling from the west coast where I have lived for a decade and the east coast where I had lived for half a century, where my parents, siblings and two of my four children still live. I welled up with tears. I didn't want to look away anymore, I wanted to be fully present- to what is difficult as well as what is joyous. A window of opportunity... A window into your soul... Windows of the world... How often we use the analogy to describe a clearing, an opening, a soulful moment or vision. I needed a window more than I knew. Dr. Daniel Siegel coined the term the "window of tolerance" to describe the optimal arousal level of brain/body reactions, suggesting that when we are in that "window of tolerance" we can manage the ebb and flow of our emotions without going into fight, flight or freeze mode. When we begin to go into a more hyper-arousal (anxious) state, meditating and breathing are recommended! For the first time in my life, I did not get up once during the flight. I read, wrote, reflected and looked out the window, committed to seeing the moment, my life, the world as it actually is, with love at its core.
Carl Sandburg expressed it beautifully. Give me hunger, O you gods that sit and give The world its orders. Give me hunger, pain and want, Shut me out with shame and failure From your doors of gold and fame, Give me your shabbiest, weariest hunger! But leave me a little love, A voice to speak to me in the day end, A hand to touch me in the dark room Breaking the long loneliness. In the dusk of day-shapes Blurring the sunset, One little wandering, western star Thrust out from the changing shores of shadow. Let me go to the window, Watch there the day-shapes of dusk And wait and know the coming Of a little love.
I am committed to continuing to work with individuals and groups, guiding them inside to listen to their still, small voice and together creating a world with more love and authenticity. Join us on Sunday at 4 pm PT for a Gathering, a time to do just that. It's an opportunity for you to be with yourself for an hour of calm becoming stronger, more focused and more present. REGISTER HERE: https://www.thegathering-la.com/events-1/sunday-hour-of-calm-9 Please forward this newsletter to someone you think could use a little nurturing.
With Love and Light,
Lawyer/Entrepreneur/Mom/Immersive Meditation Leader/Ripple Maker
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