Last Friday, I sat in a window seat on a 5:00 am flight to San Diego, California. Tired, groggy, and in desperate need of caffeine, I turned my attention toward the window and pulled the shade up. What was revealed outside the window not only prompted a gasp but it physically awakened my body and my soul. The earth beneath me was coated in a blanket of darkness, in exclusion of a small sliver of pink, orange, and blue that slowly but steadily was increasing in size. I watched the sunrise from 39,000 feet off the ground. In doing this, it occurred to me the reality of things: that we are literally a population of living and breathing cells taking up residence on a giant rock floating in the middle of space.
I watched the grid of lights and buildings and highways below me illuminate as the sun claimed its space in the sky and thought about how useless it all seemed from a vessel in the sky. High up, it was hard not to simply be grateful for the basics that our rock has provided us – mountains, trees, grass, air, valleys, and hills. How beautiful they all seemed from that height and how industrial and ugly all of our creations seemed. My worry of deadlines disappeared. It didn’t matter that my bank account was at a low. I forgot about the stress I felt from my busy calendar. I just existed.
We frequently take it all for granted – focused on the greed of living in a commercial social environment. I couldn’t do that from up above. All I could feel was the overwhelming sense of gratitude for the world our universe has provided us. As my heart beat in rhythm with the dozens of other people on my airplane, I hoped that they could also feel what I was feeling. None of us are in this alone as we may often think, and similar to the web of civilization down on the ground, we are all connected and responsible for making our world a better place. Life may be a small and fragile thing, but a million lives together is a powerful force. And that’s huge.
I landed in San Diego with a full soul and soothed heart. Sometimes you just need a good airplane flight to humble your mind and remember how to live.
“Saturdays, holidays, easy afternoons, lazy days, sunny days, nothing much to do.”
Our individual creativity is under attack from our hyper-connected, over-scheduled, over-stimulated way of life. Research shows that problem-solving and critical thinking require letting our minds wander where they may.
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