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Piece 2, A/W 2023 Collection Up, Up and A-Wait!

Has anyone noticed that a cancelled or delayed flight seems to be the new traffic jam? Air rage is taking over road rage as the new signal to oneself (and others) that you might be having a bit of trouble with the old Keep Calm and Carry On capability. After a pretty long couple of days in a Melbourne boardroom, my two work colleagues and I made our way in somewhat exhausted states to the airport for a return flight to Sydney. Already well ahead of time due to an earlier than expected finish at work, despite our fatigue we were feeling well propped up by the knowledge of our Gold status with Virgin Velocity. This high-flying membership ranking and all of its perks had us relatively unperturbed by the four hour long wait ahead of us before our scheduled departure.

After having removed every piece of jewellery to pass successfully through security, we could see the mirage of the Virgin lounge entrance up ahead. But the comforting visuals of that red and white signage down the long airport corridor were interrupted by a line of visibly angry people that was almost as long as the metal tube with wings that we were about to squish into. Our previously unshakeable states started to devolve. The line not moving an inch did not help the eye rolls, the agitated foot shuffles or the hyper criticism of the usually beloved Sir Richard Branson. After 30 minutes of standing and waiting, to be gifted entry and then be told the flight was delayed. Twice. Well, let’s just say that our previously coveted girls who smile and drink free champagne time very quickly became girls with attitudes who whinge and complain time.

When one particular passenger, after finally boarding our flight decided that the right time to express his anger over the events of the evening was at the door of the plane and to the innocent hostesses while everyone else waited (some more) behind him, I felt my attitude shift. He told the attendant, in a voice and with hand gestures that trembled with rage, that what he had experienced that evening was “nothing short of a calamity”. His poorly timed over exaggeration and distressed state had me reflecting all the way home about my own reaction to the delay.

We cannot control what goes on in the outside world and it is quite comical how surprised us humans get when change happens, given its unrelenting constancy in the world that we live in. But it ain’t always easy to exercise the control we most definitely have to manage how we react on the inside. How, amidst a whirlwind calamity, can one maintain an evenness of the mind? How does one stay as cool as a cucumber in a firepit burning with disaster? Without wanting to reduce our right to rage, I have one word. Equanimity.

Equanimity is a big word. I find it hard to even pronounce sometimes let alone understand and apply it to my life, but it is mostly about accepting things exactly as they are. The stress and suffering we experience when part of any kind of calamity (big or small) is inexplicably linked to our inability to just take it exactly as it is. Our inability to catch what starts as a mere aversion before it amplifies into hardcore negativity.

I first learnt about equanimity through my meditation studies as my teacher explained to me the importance of cultivating a still, clear and calm mind in both the highs and the lows of life. At first, I rallied against the phenomenon as a signpost that you had no passion, no feelings and just did not care enough. But now I understand that acceptance is not apathy. You can call the delay for what it is. Annoying. But you can also accept it as just that and not add any juicier layers of emotional reaction over the top of that simple acknowledgement. The kind of reactions that see you piss all over your poise and presence to the point that what could have been just a short, sharp jolt of momentary pain becomes a pool of unnecessary additional suffering.

At the end of the day, all the complaining and tensing up of our bodies and minds didnt make the plane come any faster. Endless whining and criticism towards the airline did not make my time with two wonderful workmates any more enjoyable. The impact of all of those behaviours on a better outcome was diddly squat. But you can bet your bottom dollar we all did a total number on our nervous system. There is no need to deny our initial reactions or pretend we are immune from agitation. We just need to get craftier at making better choices about how we proceed from there. It was Home, James for me but this time definitely with a little more equanimous pep in my step.


2 comentarios

26 mar 2023

A great reminder dear S. Thank you

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26 mar 2023

Equanimity indeed!! next time I stand in a que; I will remember these wise words Sarah!

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