I had a great day yesterday. I mean really great. And it had everything to do with what I did. I mean I traveled from Montana home, through Phoenix. I really need to talk to the person who booked my flights (me) and tell her that she really needs to pay more attention to what she is doing when booking. The three hour layover in Phoenix was a little ridiculous.
But there are no accidents in this world. None. And me getting routed through Phoenix and then sitting in a bar eating dinner at the bar no accident either. But I will get to that…
My intention for the whole day was to spread love to everyone I came into contact with…now this is a lofty fucking goal. And I didn’t hit it. I mean sometimes spreading the love means just not being a jerk. So in that regard I did meet my goal. But loving everyone, especially when flooded with people at an airport just isn’t possible because there are just too many of them. And I realized yesterday that in order for love to flow, there has to be some connection.
But regardless, I tried my best to be an epicenter for love to flow outward and to perceive others behaving lovingly as much as I possibly could. And you know what? It worked and I had an amazing day!
The first thing that I noticed was that I was in a great mood. Just the intention of being happy and radiating that out was enough to make me happy. No one had to do anything or give me something or really pay any attention to me at all. I was just happy to be present and loving.
And people responded. Once I got out there into the world, people engaged with me because I engaged with them. The woman at the ticket counter, the lady that was sitting next to me at the airport, the gate agent who gave me candy. We laughed and joked about how no one knows what the term “scheduled” means on a Southwest departure board…I mean not even them. We laughed about the fact that I was happy that I was not flying on an unscheduled flight because that would be super weird.
In the end, our mutual conclusion was that it was airline speak for “we aren’t sure what time we are actually going to leave, but passengers can rest assured that they are on a scheduled flight.” Which everyone knows means “we aren’t going to tell you the flight is delayed until the last fucking second.” The gate agents and I had a good laugh about all of that. And they gave me chocolate. It was such a positive and fun exchange. And I would have missed it had I not set this intention…seriously. I would have been put off by the “scheduled” term and then irritated that it likely meant that my flight was going to be delayed…and I would have missed a lovely exchange with two other humans working through life. And I would have been wrong because we left right on time…
When I got to my three hour layover in Phoenix which I like to now call my mini Arizona vacation, I was hungry. So I went to search for food. The airport was packed and there were long lines everywhere. There was only one restaurant in my terminal — Mexican. Perfect. My favorite. There were no tables available so I sat at the one seat left at the bar. I was the only woman in a sea full of belly up men. And they were drinking.
It always shocks me how much seemingly regular people drink. I mean it was 4:45 on a Monday and all of them were drinking, and drinking hard stuff. All of them admitted to doing this all weekend and that they pretty much live their lives like this…No judgment on my part, if they are able to lead their lives with alcohol as a release and show up for work and function in their lives, more fucking power to them! That is not my story, I fight hockey teams when I drink. And there is nothing functional about that.
So I am sitting there having good conversations with the men on either side of me. No one hit on me or made it weird. We just talked. And then the one guy left and another one sat down…with a thud. As he sat down, he said, “I fucking need a drink.” This of course spawned a conversation…He asked me where I lived and I told him. He made a joke about me being a life coach or something since that is what he thinks so many people do in California. We laughed harder when I told him I was a divorce coach! Ha!
But then he opened up and told me that his marriage was falling apart. The guy on the other side of me told us about his divorce. Two men who were trying to figure this whole relationship thing out. So I talked to them. I coached the one and listened to the other. And to the guy whose wife is on the way out, I listened. I empathized. I related. Really all marriages end because of three things: addiction/mental health issues, failure to grow together and talk about that, and infidelity. I am sure there are likely other things that could be mentioned here but those are the top three and they come in that order.
So I tried to give him my best ear and heart. And I hope I helped. He gave me a fist bump at the end so seems he appreciated the talk. The other man told me it was really nice meeting me. No one made it weird or pretended that we had anything other than a fleeting connection in an airport bar. But it was meaningful, at least to me. I got to remember that we are all the same. Struggling with jobs, finances, romance, parenting. We are all just trying to do right by ourselves in this life and are mostly baffled by where we end up and why. No one has it all figured out and I am was impressed by each man’s willingness to share intimate details about their lives with me, a complete stranger. I pray that whatever I said was helpful. I pray that they left our conversation more hopeful and better in some small way. I showed up and gave them the love. I hope they felt that.
Then I got on the short flight to LA. I rarely talk to my seat mates. But it was a full flight and short. So while I usually work, write or read on flights, I was tired and just felt like sitting there. The California sunset was visible from Phoenix last night. I wish that my plane window was cleaner so that I could show you the magnificent sunset that stretched from the California coast all the way to the middle of the Arizona desert but my iPhone could not make up for the poor angle and dirty window. But trust me when I say, I have never seen anything like it in my life. The sky ablaze in blazing red, orange and pink fire set against the blacked earth and blue tinted sky. It was dramatic and a sight to behold. And I was incredibly grateful that I accidentally flew through Phoenix.
Toward the end of the flight the pretty woman sitting next to me and I started talking. About work mostly and then kids. And before we could land, she was telling me about how unhappy she is in her marriage. When she found out what I do for a living, she asked for my card. We are going to be talking later today. We deplaned and walked to baggage claim together to continue the conversation. We got our bags and went curbside to wait on our rides. We talked the entire time, her unburdening herself about how unhappy she is and how stuck she feels in her life and marriage. I listened and told her what I knew about the way out.
I saw a tired woman who was simply trying to get home to her kids burst into a woman with energy and life. Just the presence of someone who understood and could let her talk was a gift and it showed.
There are no accidents in this life.
And then a new guy picked me up to take me home. Same guy that drove me to LAX last Thursday but I missed the opportunity to connect with him because I was tired and self consumed. I was just there, being transported from one place to the other. Last night, I was really, really there.
We had the best talk. I mean we talked about music (he is a very talented singer), we listened to his music. And I really listened to it. It was beautiful and soulful and warm and inviting. It made me feel good. Before I would have just listen to like the first two minutes then been annoyed that he kept playing song after song. But not last night, last night I felt the love and gave the love to him. We talked about marriage and children and relationships and love. We talked about Buddhism and meditation. If you would have asked me if this man who was driving me home would have ever had the depth of thought or feeling, I would have told you, arrogantly, no. I would have been so wrong.
And that is my conclusion after yesterday. I am wrong a lot. About everything. There are all these souls walking the earth just waiting for someone to love them with attention, the gift of listening to them so that their lives feel validated into importance. And I realized that loving really is just being present. Giving our full attention to another. Letting them show us and tell us who they are. And when one is capable of doing that, it isn’t just the other person who benefits. I benefitted too because I felt connected. I felt loved right back and it was the best feeling I have had in a very long time.
I also texted all day with a man I have never met but connected to back in October. A random chance encounter with a fellow traveler on the path. I spoke at his home group on the East Coast and we connected and have been in contact ever since. First just occasionally but now more often. And yesterday we connected all day. Both supporting each other through our respective days. Funny memes and gifs, witty banter and periodic check ins about our day. I am not sure about anything in this life, but I am sure that there are people that come to us in times of need and those people change our lives for the better. He is one of those people. And I was grateful to spend the day involved in his life, giving him love too.
I arrived home late and spent. My dog almost knocked me over with excitement as did my daughter. All the beings were happy to see me as much as I was happy to see them! It was great to be home. My daughter talked my ear off as we each got ready for bed. She told me about her friends, her life, her struggles and her joys. It was the best. We fell asleep talking about our respective weekends. And I felt the love so deeply and poignantly.
And just to put a fine point on how loving my day was, my mom left me flowers and chocolate. Beautiful white roses (my favorite) and good quality chocolate. So after taking care of my life while I was gone, she went out of her way to do nice stuff for me on Valentine’s Day. Am I fucking lucky or what?
What I learned is that you really do get back ten fold what you put out there. I had the best Valentine’s Day that I think I have ever had because my only intention was to give, not receive. But what I learned yesterday is that you can’t do one without the other. Because if you do, you ruin it. A loving heart has to be open and flowing in all directions: giving and receiving. And if you are brave enough to do this, you will see all the ways your heart and mind shut down. And if you are really fucking courageous, you will see where your mind and heart close and you will be present enough in your life to notice and then make the rockstar choice of opening up instead of closing down. And that can change your day and your life.
I was a better person yesterday because I loved more. And the by-product of me working extra hard to make sure that others felt the love, was to feel loved and loving for which there is no better high. And we all know, that I am always, still, about the high. Except this time, this high, is all about others, radiating out energy and love to them for no other reason except that they exist, and were put in my path and are deserving. And for that effort I was given the best Valentine’s Day I have ever had. Thank you.