Copenhagen Airport. No, I do not get on that plane. I do not know how I survived that flight from Estonia to Copenhagen just now. An overall sensation of being imprisoned, suffocated, stressed, too much adrenaline, too much heart beat, not enough air to breath, cold sweat and a shaking body. There is no way how I am going to go through this again. I did not get on that plane. I left the transit area. I abandoned my luggage. Sending it all alone further on to Germany.
Only my little black bag is with me. Enough to survive. It is summer anyway. I have some food, a book, music and my little pillow. I made my way to the railway station, got some Danish money from the ATM, queued in front of the ticket counter with some 100 other travellers. Are they stranded like me? At that time there was no smartphone, no apps, no mobile internet to check train connections. An international train connection, that is what I need now. The memories of taking this night train are sweet and warm, adventurous and relaxing. A feeling of an unknown but very cosy freedom. In a gentle way I am happy and at ease. Young backpackers from all over the world are on the train, partying all night long, but my compartment is quiet. I crouch up in my upper berth. Noises from the train mix with the music in my headphones. Only my little black bag is with me, but I have everything I need.
It was only later that it dawned on me that I had lost something that night. I lost my ability to trust. For the following years I led the life of a secretly disabled person. Almost no one knew about my fear of flying, I bypassed easily all situations that would make me board a plane. Our camper van was the perfect excuse why all holidays were spent on four wheels instead of two wings. Prices for flight tickets had risen immeasurably, you know. And, of course, flying is considered harmful to the environment. So I rather do not fly. I rather hide my anxiety behind morally and socially acceptable arguments.
Flying was not part of my life anymore, so most of the time I could ignore my shame and helplessness with what happened that day in Copenhagen. Yet deep inside, I was desperate because I lost my light-heartedness together with my old Me that had frequently travelled back and forth in Europe, and that had regularly taken long-distance flights to almost all the continents ever since I was a child, sleeping through turbulences and thunderstorms wrapped in confidence.
However, the more I avoided the aerial turbulences, the more I got shaken up here on earth. Having two feet on the ground is no guarantee to be safe and sound. Life taught me that I cannot control its swings and turns. In the course of a few years life took away my loved ones and many illusions. I felt literally shaken and stirred. It hurts to get ripped off things that one considered to be stable and secure. While I avoided to board an aircraft, I could – luckily – not refuse to be on board of life. I was weary but slowly something new was born. I started to open up for this, I dared to follow my calling to the North. And my life unfolded in a miraculously way. Then, exactly six years after Copenhagen, I got this knowing that now is the time. I bought my flight ticket.
Gate A36. Boarding time. Destination: Norway. I am home-bound. Some sensations of excitement shower through my body. Yet I still feel comfortable. In a couple of minutes we are about to take off. I realize that I have wings of trust. I realize I can fly.
Some tools and techniques help me to calm myself. The plane is vibrating, the engine is loud, some trembles can be felt where the skin touches the seat. In that moment the words ‘shaken and stirred’ pop up in my mind, reminding me of the time when everything was collapsing in and around me. Now I deeply understand the truth of how this desperation and depression was actually something very positive, something very healing and badly needed to propel me onwards and into my life in Norway. All of a sudden my synapses click in into this new connection. Disturbances do not mean danger. Disturbances promote development.
Relaxation spreads through my whole system as this conscious shift of my mindset happens. That’s it. The wobbly movements of the aircraft do not frighten me anymore. The pressure of acceleration is taking its seat on my chest, but I can bear it without panicking. My heart rate is within a tolerable range. I even dare to take a glimpse out of the window. I have cut through the curtain. I am able to fly again. When the pilot then announces the landing, I am eager to watch the landscape far down and fearlessly enjoy being so high up in the air.
May all have the courage to fly. (Vasant Swaha, Satsang March 5, 2018)
Text & Photo by Rachana
Rachana loves trees and snow and dogs. After long travels she now lives not far away from Hedalen. Being a sannyasin gives her the love and the energy to start being creative and make life more beautiful.