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Archive for May, 2010

mary-mackenzie-150Yesterday I boarded a flight from Phoenix, Arizona to Oahu, Hawaii.  It was to be a 6.5 hour flight.  I had taken special care to reserve a window seat.  Upon boarding, I realized that I was seated in the middle seat, in the middle of the plane.  I was so frustrated and annoyed!   6.5 hours in the middle seat!

So, I was getting myself settled in my seat with an undercurrent of grumpy judgementalism.  The first thing that happened was a man in the row behind me offered to hold my tea while I got myself settled.  Next the man sitting to the left of me offered to hold my tea while I buckled my seatbelt.  Next, the man sitting to the right of me offered me the Phoenix newspaper that he had just finished.  This all transpired while I was grumbling internally, empathizing with myself, feeling worried about how uncomfortable I’m going to be for the next 6.5 hours, blaming airport employees for my miserable situation, etc.

Within 10 minutes, well before the plane started moving, I remembered that if I continue on this course, I will ensure that my flight is utterly miserable.  So, I took a deep breath, began empathizing with myself in earnest (not just enjoying the jackal show!), and began to shift my attitude.  Then, I napped for about 30 minutes because I realized (through self empathy) that the biggest obstacle for me was only getting 4 hours of sleep the night before.


mary-mackenzie-150I had an incident happen about a week ago and it took a few days for me to take the time to give myself self-empathy.  What came up was my longing for softness.  I have had a series of things that have happened in my life since September that have been harsh and hard and sad including my mother’s death, a very long and cold winter with over 160″ of snow, and a more intense than usual allergy season and many other things.  So, when I connected to a desire for softness I cried and cried.  I gave myself a lot of time to let this sink in and to remember other times when I’d received tender softness.

The mourning was very healing.

In an effort to support the need for softness I allowed myself long baths, longer than usual quiet time in the morning, and time to connect with a few friends who I find especially nurturing to be with.

Two days later I was on a plane that was VERY turbulent.  It was only a 30 minute flight but the plane rocked vigorously the entire time.  I ran to the connecting flight and only had about 3 minutes before getting on the next flight.  So, I boarded feeling nauseous.

I wrapped myself in my shawl, turned the overhead fan on, closed my eyes and tried to calm myself and my body.  I had a 3-hour flight and then a 35 minute ferry ride still to go on this trip.  After a few minutes the man next to me tapped my shoulder and said, “Do you want the fan on?”

“What?”

“Do you want the fan on?”

“Yes,” I said.  “Is it bothering you?”

“No,” he said.  “I just saw you wrapped in your shawl and I thought you might be cold.  I wanted you to know that I could turn it off for you.  I’m okay with it being on, though.”

He said all this with a huge and inviting smile.  He had one of those really warm faces.  The kind of face you just want to crawl into.

I felt so touched by his simple act of kindness and regard.  And I instantly remembered my self-empathy and my request to myself and the universe for softness.

This is one of the reasons I love self-empathy….because I clarify what I want and then I recognize it when it arrives.  Had I not just discovered through self-empathy that I wanted softness, I wouldn’t have noticed that my request was answered.  I still would have enjoyed this man’s kindness (probably) but I wouldn’t have seen it as a response to my request.

When I see it as a response to my request then that meets my needs for appreciation, gratitude, reassurance, trust and so many more.  My enjoyment and wonder deepens as a result.  In this particular moment, it helped alleviate my physical discomfort too.  And, ultimately moved me from an experience of fear (of throwing up in a bag!  Ack!)  to gratitude.  Awwww.  I just love that!

Here’s to the people who touch our lives so sweetly and who probably have no idea how sweet our passing was to us!