Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Mindfulness in flight

It's not an occasion that happens to everyone, but travel is kind of its own retreat. International travel with children might well be a trial by fire.

You just have to let go during travel - go through security, do a lot of standing around, be alert and ready, wait at the gate, watch your bags, sit, buckle, eat when meals are served, be quiet when the lights are off, steady yourself through turbulence, prepare for landing. It parallels a meditation session, in a way.

Here I am, a seven hour flight to Frankfurt, not too bad by overseas flight standards. Over four hours in, I have watched no movies or TV (yet), though I plan to. Whike children watched TV and explored, here is what I did:

- got in and settled with a drink, sipping slowly and answering my children's excited questions, helping them get settled and find their headphones and stuff
- exercises - eyes and in-seat yoga and breathing and abs sitting up and stretches
- mindful walk to and from bathroom
- ate a lunch silently complete with champagne and tea while daughter ate hers and I fed her
- wrote three blog posts and sent four emails and took a photo and sent an ecard
- gratitude and journaling
- compassion and lovingkindness practice
- read a full magazine article about climate change and today's page in Simple Abundance
- did some brain teaser games
- filled out some calendars for July and August
- said some Sanskrit prayers
- sang to myself
- drawing for fun
- got kids some extra snacks and vitamins from bags
- watched the flight route
- meditation for 40 minutes

It has been a lovely trip, and I might never have thought plane travel without a good book or show possible otherwise. Of course I am lucky the children aren't having tantrums or crying, that I have let them watch as much as they want, eat when they want, sleep or not - they are old enough to mostly occupy themselves.  Flights when my children were younger were horribly tough, but sweet in different ways (ok, sometimes only in retrospect).

My daughter is napping now as the lights are off! I think I will watch something uplifting, then rest, too.

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