Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Long Flights and Long Goodbyes

Long flights and relationship break ups have a lot in common for me. And to be fair I shouldn't say "break up" because I could still just be in a rough patch. My facebook status hasn't changed or anything, so perhaps I'm being dramatic and I could just say "relationship difficulties."

I've already given this one a flying metaphor as I said I felt like I was waiting at the gate to get on a flight I didn't want to take. Using that same analogy, now I'm on the flight, and it's a long one. I've been on a few long flights in my life and they're intense. There's take off and landing and turbulence and people and stuff and meals and movies and thoughts of death and what I'm doing with my life and all of that. Oh yea, and there's trying to get some sleep! When I'm having "relationship difficulties," which in the past have always resulted in break ups, I have that same tight feeling as when I'm in the air. The same reflection on my life and also the awareness of my death and how fragile my life is.

I stopped making that process in flight wrong years ago. I looked at it as an opportunity to clarify some things and to just use that heightened awareness to bring me to another place in my life. Same thing with break ups, I mean relationship malfunctions. I use them to clarify things. To clean up dark areas, to dust out the regions of my personality that cling. Long flights and relationship bumps both give me a chance to be in a temporarily intense space to focus my mind and look at some issues with a magnifying glass. Neither are ever comfortable for me - but they both serve big purposes. They get me to new or other places.

So I'm looking. I'm seeing. I'm breathing and I know the flight will be over soon and then I'll be back on the ground and things will be normal again. In the meantime I notice every bump in the air, every slight turn, listen carefully to every word from the pilot, I watch the little map that shows me how long I've got left to go and just where in the world we are, and then I look forward to landing.

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