With the intention of visiting my parents, who live in Portugal, we decided as a family that we would take advantage of a distant trip like this to visit Paris on the way to Lisbon.
On the evening of Aug. 14, at 8:30 p.m. we embarked on our flight exhausted from all the pre-trip preparation’s, yet excited for this long overdue adventure. After an almost two-hour wait on the tarmac the passengers were informed that the flight would need to be cancelled due to a malfunctioning door on the plane. The reasonable part of me completely understood this challenge because as adventurous as I am, an uncloseable door on a plane traveling over the Atlantic Ocean is not a risk that even I would take. Nearly 400 extremely disappointed passengers disembarked the plane at 10:30 p.m. only to face hours of long lines while a small handful of airline agents desperately attempted to rebook everyone flights.
Yes, it was as ugly as it sounds and I was ready to be unreasonable.
After many, and I mean many obstacles, we finally decided to leave Boston at 2:30 a.m.and drive all the way back home and regroup.
The trip never happened. Not because I didn’t exhaust several attempts to rebook, but because after nearly a dozen major obstacles the airline agent and I both agreed that perhaps this trip was not meant to happen! (She admitted she had never said that to anyone before … )
My heart was broken. I needed to go visit my aging parents who had both been experiencing health challenges this year. Yet there was this little voice inside telling me there was perhaps a greater force keeping me here on “terra firma.” In fact, strangel, I had this inner peace. Hmmm? How could that be? How could I experience something so stressful, disappointing and sad, yet be calm? Who was this Izzy? Who kidnapped the Izzy that was capable of being a raging lunatic when things didn’t go as planned?!
Here is what I learned about myself: I learned that you cannot wait until you are completely famished to start eating healthy. In essence, I realized the calming tools and techniques I have been practicing over the last couple of years really work, especially when faced with adversity.
Tools like breathing deeply. Deep belly breaths in moments of stress help to produce calming chemicals in your body. Deep breaths also help us to pause and respond from the thinking brain as opposed to reacting from emotions..
Relaxing into whatever it was. Stop trying to force things to happen. Breaking away from the tension and walking outside helped to regroup and relax.
Name it and feel whatever emotion is present. If I was angry or sad I allowed myself to feel it. I didn’t hold back sharing that with others. That didn’t mean I yelled and screamed, it meant that if I was angry I told the agent that I felt “angry.” If I was sad I allowed myself to cry, even amongst strangers.
I practiced watching what was happening from a distance. I detached from the drama and didn’t take it personally. I observed myself experiencing each emotion and each reaction. Each time I handled an issue with calm and grace I noticed how good it felt inside.
And when I did everything I possibly could do to remedy the situation and it still wasn’t producing the desired outcome, I simply surrendered and allowed whatever was to be, to be … The practice of letting go of control.
These tools I mentioned above are tools that I have learned through yoga. They are called B-R-F-W-A (Breathe, Relax, Feel, Watch, and Allow). I have practiced these tools daily with the smallest and biggest of issues. They have become a habit. A habit that will be with me for a lifetime helping me to face whatever challenge — as a parent, wife, friend, daughter, individual, life coach, etc.
If you are curious and would like to learn more about the practice of BRFWA please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is to Peace,