on airplanes

It is easy to find boredom on airplanes. We have been trained to constant status updates, notifications, phone calls, text messages, conversation, multitasking, television, food, cigarettes, stimulation. 

But on airplanes you are isolated. You step into the cabin, find your seat, place your luggage in the overhead storage compartment, sit down and fasten your seatbelt, and then... "please turn off all electronic devices." Uh-oh. What now? Hope your brought a book or stocked up your iTunes playlist because you are in for the long haul. Maybe you even twiddle your thumbs.

Weirdly, it's ok. This isolation is accepted easily by colleagues, friends, family. It is one of the most excusable reasons for missing a phone call, failing to reply to a text, being absent from social media, skipping a work email. You're 36,000 feet in the air. Not a cell tower to be found. Definitely no Starbucks wi-fi.

Actually, though, airplanes are opportunities for self-reflection and finding peace. It is on airplanes where you are truly disconnected from society. You and your hundred fellow passengers stare straight ahead or bury your face in books or hoodies or blankets, but essentially you all ignore each other (usually). Now is your chance to embrace guilt-free reflection and dive into your tumultuous inner world. A tumultuous inner world that can now be made peaceful. 

Take a deep breath. Relax. Focus your attention on each toe: visualize it and feel it. And then do the same for each foot, ankle, calf, knee... just move up your body and experience yourself. You'll feel gradually more present and more connection to the real world from which you're isolated.

After all, they say absence makes the heart grow fonder. Your absence from the world helps you pause and reflect on this world from an isolated sanctuary (note: isolated sanctuary, NOT cramped tiny chair next to a smelly grandpa in trackpants and a dress shirt - it's all about perspective). 

Imagine long flights as isolation chambers in which you have the opportunity to feel your body and reconnect with the world... all while resolving some stormy inner conflicts that may have plagued your mind. And when you deplane, you are ready again to face the world.

Mike SaccoComment