Two Wings and a Prayer

Ever since I was a little girl, airplanes have fascinated me. I remember my grandmother taking a flight occasionally and how she seemed to do it with ease. Every time I saw one of those gigantic objects in the sky, I simply could not understand how it could possibly stay in the air, not to mention fly from place to place. I had secretly sworn to myself that I would never fly.

Little did I know at the time, that those feelings of fear and apprehension would manifest securely into my adult life. I knew that I was not alone in my fear of flying, better known as aerophobia.  I of course came to understand with much more clarity what was happening in adulthood than when I was a kid. I realized that there were maybe 2 little men flying this large piece of equipment.How could these planes possibly stay in the air? Couple that with dozens of passengers with baggage adding to the weight of this already over-sized aircraft. Being aware of these facts only made my fear of flying stronger, if that were possible.

I wondered for years about this, but was not so curious to find out for myself. However, deep inside I knew that I wanted to conquer this fear but how? I wasn’t even able to accept the fact these planes could stay in the air, even though I had seen it a hundred times with my own eyes. But, I couldn’t help but be curious about how cool it must be to fly from one place to the next and arrive fresh and collected. Would this ever be a possibility for me? Or would I just resolve myself to driving everywhere? There went my dreams of seeing California and Rodeo Drive, considering my east coast residency.

An opportunity came up in August 2008 giving me the chance to conquer my fear of flying once and for all. My sister was planning a mini-vacation to Baltimore, MD and D.C. and asked if I wanted to come along with her and my niece. I jumped at the chance. I knew that once I purchased tickets for my son and I, there would be no turning back! I was extremely excited about it, nervous, but excited.  I was finally going to go on a real vacation and fly some place to do it! It was a first flight for myself, my son and my niece.

The flight went well and I handled it with much more ease than I ever thought I would. The take off was totally exhilarating! Once we landed, thoughts rushed into my head promptly reminding me that I still had to make a return flight back. Thankfully, the flight back went smoothly as well. I had prayed, I had flown, I had done it! I had finally accomplished something that has been haunting me for years! But would I do it again?

I caught a late night episode of Nightline recently and what do you think was the featured subject? People with a fear of flying! Evidently, there’s a retired USAF pilot turned therapist called the Plane Whisperer! Who knew? Where was this man when I needed him? He offers these classes where people with this fear, take lengthy flights to try and conquer their fears of flying. A  good portion of these classes center around teaching people to learn to control their breathing when feeling anxious. The Plane Whisperer also supports that there is a 1 in 60 million chance of dying as a result of flying, no matter how often a person flies. Amazing! Somehow, I think that even had I been armed with this information prior to my own flight, I don’t know that it would have made much difference.

During a flight with the Plane Whisperer and other passengers, one woman was practically hyperventilating and became very nervous and agitated and wanted to stop and open the windows. It’s like she didn’t have any air.  Her feelings of anxiety were very evident and I felt like I could relate to what she must have been experiencing. The fact that she wasn’t in control of the plane was the biggest thing for her to get over. By the end of the segment, she was calm and was making her way to putting her fear(s) behind her. It had taken her 4 classes to make the flight to Las Vegas, but she did it. Another man, changed his mind about the flight after his fear overtook him. This very fear had prevented him from attending his own parents’ funeral. But he still couldn’t bring himself to get on that plane. He just wasn’t ready.

It would be safe to conclude that the only way to conquer this fear or any other for that matter is to just do it! But you have to resolve it in your mind that you will not let your fear(s) keep you from living and doing the things you love. So say a prayer, then take to the skies by way of 2 wings and a prayer that are only going to help get you there! Happy flying!!

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If you quit, I will support you…..

 

When you read the title of this article, what comes to mind? When it was said to me, it blew my mind! I learned some very sobering truths during what turned out to be an enlightening conversation with a friend. Now, I was already aware that she is a very hardworking person and is very driven in her career and is very successful as a result. She shared with me that her mom has always been against her decision to become a doctor; hence the title of this post. Have you ever heard of such a thing? This would be some parents’ dream; their son or daughter aspiring to become a doctor and working diligently to make that happen.

Nonetheless, my friend’s mom has consistently, even to this day, encouraged her daughter to try other professions; anything other than the medical field. I could only look my friend with pure amazement and curiosity. As I continued to listen, her mother’s thinking began to have a very sensible rationale behind it; one that never occurred to me. It turns out her mom was only trying to spare her daughter the harsh realities of the vicious grind and obscene trespassing that would overtake her personal life; both non-negotiable and unavoidable factors of aspiring to this profession. This truly was an “aha” moment for me! I totally get where my friend’s mom is coming from. But, I still want to know what you think! Would you ever say this to your children, spouse, friend, etc.? Or, would you just let them be?

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