The view from 30k feet upAug 12, 2021
We squeezed into our seats aboard the airplane, excited to be going on a trip to Chicago to sightsee. The early wake up had left me bleary eyed and tired but I was excited to spend quality time with my teenager, without the distraction of younger siblings. He sat in the window seat, eagerly looking out the window. He had been begging to fly anywhere for the last couple of years and here was his opportunity! He was soaking up every moment of it as he took in every detail around him.
I love looking out airplane windows. Watching the activity on the tarmac, the other planes taxiing, and then of course looking down on life going about it’s normal business while I sail above has always intrigued me. And so we watched with enjoyment as the plane barreled down the runway, took off and everything began to get smaller. The tops of the trees flew by and then, quite suddenly, everything disappeared behind low clouds.
As the world turned completely white, I made a comment about not being able to see anything. My son shrugged it off, completely unfazed, and kept looking out the window with joy. He could see plenty! Indeed, in a few moments, beautiful clouds appeared. And in that moment, I suddenly realized and saw so vividly how my expectations were keeping me from enjoying the present moment.
My son had no expectations and he continued to enjoy what was before him, having the gift of being purely in the moment, as children are apt to do. Meanwhile, I had created an internal expectation (of seeing something different) and when reality shifted, I was disappointed.
Do you see how sneaky these expectations are? The stories we create of how things ‘should’ go and then our disappointment or disconnection from the present moment? This is such a small example but it lays it out perfectly clearly.
And so, I invite you to look for any sneaky ways you might be creating expectations of how your day should go. If the situation is past, reflect on how you might’ve disconnected from the present moment and let your expectations bring down your enjoyment. And if you are lucky enough to catch yourself in one of these stories in progress, as I was, invite yourself to come back to the present moment, to ditch the story, and enjoy the view of those clouds floating by.
We of course need to plan our day. We have responsibilities and goals to achieve. We need to have a vision of how we want our time to go. But can you surrender to the little moments and allow them to unfold before you, once you have set your day in motion? Can you let go of what you cannot control? Can you embrace flexibility and step into universal flow? Give it a try with something as little as the view out your window. You never know where it might take you.
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