Flying over land

Forced Relaxation and the Silence of Flying

We’re two hours and twenty-one minutes in. At least, I’m estimating from the time we were scheduled to take off. 5:10 p.m.

I need an outlet.

I keep glancing out the window, but it is darker than dark. We’re not close enough to Springfield yet (the next landmark on my in-flight progress map) for the pinpricks to shine through the velvet.

My palms itch. My hands tingle. I. need. an. outlet.

I haven’t yet caved in to the siren’s song of the turned off seatbelt light. I am sturdily buckled in, nylon webbing firm across my hip bones.

This chair can’t go to upright. Not completely. I’m at a perpetual 10° angle, which my back is thrilled about.

I had “I’m Leaving On a Jet Plane” (the Peter, Paul, and Mary version) humming through my head for the first hour. Then it was the end theme to the movie Wreck-It Ralph.

The ice in my drink is 80% melted. Will it get to 100% before I finish it?

I need an outlet.

I could read. I already started the book I stowed in my purse.

I can only troll through Facebook so much. I’ve checked my email over 30 times now.

I need an outlet.

I punched out that quick stream-of-consciousness over the course of a few minutes. This is an example of my brain at work — a constant stream of GoGoGo that makes me wonder if my blood has been swapped with jet fuel somewhere along the way. But we learned in Family Guy that using jet fuel does not mean you can fly. Except I am flying because I’m in a plane so… I guess I win?

The point is, relaxation is seen as an art. Rarely is it addressed that relaxation is also a freaking trial. An endurance trial, at that. It requires a process of letting go that, for some of us, no longer feels natural. The drive and deep need to DO has been programmed into us over years and lifetimes and generations of constant “DO IT NOW” ness and less “it can wait” ness. Longer work hours, the internet, smartphones… all distractions from that every so scary question.

What now?

What do we do when we’ve relaxed? How do we know we are relaxed? What is the quantification? How can we measure it?

We are terrified of uncertainty. We work enough in every other arena, don’t we? Why should we work for relaxation? And don’t fool yourself — for the DO addict, doing nothing is work, if only in that you have to work to silence the constant chatter.

Relaxation is an art, it’s true. But Art is work.

Embrace the art. Practice the art. Perfect the art.

My ice is melted.

We’re over Oklahoma now. My previous concept of darker than dark is now updated.

Breathe in, breathe out.

“Wreck it, wreck it, Ralph, as fast as you can. You know you can do it with your colossal hands…”

Nobody is perfect.

Photo Credit: kevin dooley via Compfight cc