My mother had a once in a lifetime honor being recognized by CNN at an awards show in New York this past December. I live in California. I would be flying together with my mother to New York. My mother who was born and raised in NY and recently having her 88th birthday, it would be the first time back “home” for her in decades.
As a teenager and young adult, I loved to fly. I was always the person on the plane not excited to finally land. I would become saddened of not knowing when I would have the opportunity to fly off somewhere again until I didn’t feel that way anymore.
I have held onto a belief of being fearful to fly for over 2 decades now which had limited my life to a great extent. My fear of flying started when I was 28, flying home with my mother after burying my husband. Holding all my feelings in, my shock which insulated me, wore off on the plane back home. I sat through 2 plane transfers and the feeling of terror for what seemed an eternity. Interestingly enough, I will turn 58 in January and my mother again will be with me for the first time, on a plane.
When we heard that my mother was an honoree and nominated for the top honor, I knew I had to go to New York. It was not an option. NO was not an option. My belief, my thought, my story that I had held onto for so many years now, was not an option. I could still choose to be fearful, to be nervous, to be anxious, but my THOUGHTS I decided were tired, worn out, and old.
When my other asked me, “You’ll be coming with me, right?”. “YES, without a doubt”, I blurted out without thinking twice. Neither anxiousness nor fear was feelings that rose up in me when my mother asked if I was going with her. For me, my priority thought was of someone else (my mother) and NOT my old story.
I decided not to empower my story anymore. I wanted to empower me. I thought of new thoughts I could try on and practice. I envisioned myself being in NY, meeting Anderson Cooper, what I would say to him. Seeing Rockefeller Center and that big tree in all its lighted glory. I envisioned staying in a fancy hotel across from Central Park where I would take a carriage ride. I envisioned seeing my old college roommate Jennifer who was coming in from New Jersey to spend time with me. I felt excited about the new dress I was going to buy and wear and finally being able to wear all those warm scarfs I collect but never seem to make it outside of my home here in Southern California.
I chose to empower those new thoughts and the feelings that came from them instead.
Our departure day finally came. I had been anticipating it as you can imagine for weeks now. That alone fatigued me.
Was I nervous? YES.
Was I focused on the old way of thinking? NO.
Once the plane’s door closed (funny how you can lock in on such sounds) and the engines were turned on, I was very aware and surprised that I didn’t have the same level of terror that I remembered having so long ago.
Yes, my hands were clammy, yes, I practically was rubbing off my skin as I was wringing my hands in nervousness. But I also realized that I could feel nervous, I could feel anxious, but I could also choose not to feel FEARFUL.
I chose to empower new thoughts.
It was ok.
The plane ride back, even less of an anxious focus. My rating scale of anxious wasn’t quite zero but it wasn’t a 10 either.
Am I running to book my next flight tomorrow? NO.
Do I know I can do it?
That it’s tolerable?
That I can sit through a feeling that I remembered as being less than rosy, move through it and come out OK on the other side?
Do I still have to practice thinking my new thoughts? YES
Will the mind challenge me to think otherwise? YES.
After all the old way of thinking is the familiar way of thinking. It’s what I knew and strangely I could always depend on having that thought accessible to me. So yes, I will have to choose to keep practicing thinking differently.
Feelings don’t change overnight but you can choose to have a different relationship with them. Thoughts take a bit more work, but my experience validated my power OVER the mind.
If you have a story that has overstayed it’s welcome or perhaps have a friend who can use some tools to learn how to offload their old story, my 80-minute mind-shift tune-up coaching call is designed just for this. Let’s get you in and out in 80-minutes of action-driven, laser-focused coaching that will shift the mind. You can start by scheduling a free no-cost, no obligation call to get all your questions answered.