An Almost Turbulence-Free Re-entry

The flight was chalk-full of turbulence – bumping and knocking us around for at least an hour somewhere over Missouri and Texas – but his voice was calm and assuring over the intercom. “Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s gonna be bumpy for a while. Please stay in your seats, and keep your seatbelts on, but don’t worry – it’s just a little weather, and it looks like it will diminish in just under an hour.”

He’d obviously experienced it before and knew exactly how to handle it.

As I closed my eyes and leaned my head back, shoving my earbuds in a little deeper, I thought about the past few days…

There are the things that even a well-trained pilot cannot control…

  1. The weather through which we are flying.

  2. The ‘mechanical problems’ and delayed flights and long lines.

  3. The possibility of not making the connection flights.

And there are things that he can control…

  1. His perspective of the weather through which we are flying: “It’s a little bumpy.”

  2. His communication of the facts and realities of what’s happening on the runways and in the gates (total mayhem).

  3. His temperament – choosing to be transparent and kind, apologizing on behalf of the airline for the major problems we were all experiencing (or would be in the next few hours).

And then I got lost in the music and its messages – which I’m known to do frequently. My latest jam is: IN LOVE WE TRUST.

Dang, he’s good. The pilot touched us down so softly on the runway, everyone looked at each other in amazement and then let out a sigh of relief.

As I gathered my luggage and waited in the long line to get off the plane, a myriad of thoughts raced through my fatigued brain:

  1. My guys – I can’t wait to see them! My gramma – I hope she’s okay!

  2. Ugh, the pile of work that’s collected while I’ve been out of the country.

  3. My body…omg, I’m so sore and exhausted.

 

And then I thought…

 

There are things I cannot control…

  1. The happiness of my family or the problems that occurred while I was gone.

  2. The pile of work that collected.

  3. The fatigue I am feeling.

 

But there are things that I can control…

  1. My perspective. “It may be a little bumpy for a while, but it will be okay. I’ve done this before.”

  2. My communication. “I’m going to let them know the reality of my body and heart and mind… and ask for what I need – time to myself for a bath and a nap and then snuggles.”

  3. My temperament. I’m going to respond with LOVE, even if they don’t understand.

 

The truth is…

Over the last 7 years, I’ve gotten better and better at this “Re-entry Thing”.

Having spent a lot of time as both a participant and a facilitator of life-changing events, I’ve learned some hard lessons through some seriously painful, self-created turbulence and now have a pretty darn good idea of what it takes to create an “almost turbulence-free re-entry.”

 

  1. Leave Well + Stay Connected – I try to make sure that I’ve seriously poured into my loved ones before I leave, so that they don’t run empty (and cranky) before I get home. I promised to connect with them every day while I was gone, and then I did more than that. Even if it was only a quick “I love you,” it was filling their tank and warding off the crank.

  2. Take Care of Self First, AND ASK FOR IT – Travel + Transformation can be invigorating, but it’s also a lot of work. I was completely exhausted after several late evenings, missed flights, sleepless nights, and tons of deep self-discovery. There was no way I would have been able to give anything of value from that place. I needed a bath, a nap, and some time to breathe by myself.

  3. Don’t Jump Back Into Work (If Possible) + Intentionally Re-enter and Re- integrate – This is probably the hardest lesson I’ve learned and still the hardest thing for me to do. The inbox beckons. The clients are reaching out for support. The boss (that’s me) is frustrated with backed-up projects. The family needs dinner, attention, etc. But…again…I needed time to let everything I’d just experienced simmer and integrate. I used art and journaling and sleeping as my integration tools of choice, and I relished the snuggles and movies. This time, even with extraordinary levels of sleep deprivation, it only took 36 hours for me to feel capable of getting a few things off my desk today.

  4. ANCHOR INTO LOVE, LOVE, LOVE – When I make a big leap, when I uncover more of myself, when I take action and grow, it changes the dynamics in and around me, and people tend to react to those changes pretty intensely, especially if they don’t know what feels different and how to communicate their feelings. So, my favorite offense is LOVE. It tends to dissolve the fears and transmute the insecurities. More snuggles. More eye contact. More listening. More affection.

  5. Try to Not Over-Share – As much as I want to tell my family and friends every single detail of what happened while I was gone, I try to practice discernment… especially with those closest to me. Every time I’ve focused more on “How was YOUR week?” than “I have to tell you what happened!”, things have been much easier going. Truth is, it’s nearly impossible to communicate an intense experience to someone. I’ve learned to take what I’ve learned and the Love and Wisdom I cultivated and just BE MORE OF THAT ON THE HOMEFRONT – give them their own experience of it to the degree that I can.

 

And…

It’s been almost turbulence-free this time around…

Biggest trip ever…

Biggest leap forward…

Biggest risks for everyone involved…

 

And…this approach worked…

Not perfectly…

But a kajillion times better than my previous attempts.

 

Yay for progress and smoother re-entries. 🙂

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