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A Fear Of Flying: Using Meditation To Get Me On A Plane

View of the Alps from the plane
Antler luggage at the airport

I'm in the 30% of the population who are afraid of flying. I never used to be phased by it, but somewhere in between getting (slightly) older and not flying at all in my late twenties, I am now out of practice and afraid.

When I met my boyfriend at the age of 29, I hadn't had a proper holiday for about five years. When you hit your mid twenties friends start settling down and naturally their annual leave is bookmarked for jetting off with the men in their lives. Who can blame them.
For what felt like an eternity, I remained for the most part single, while my flip flops remained in a 'not required' pile with various bikinis, kaminos and pineapple print t,shirts. 

Flash forward to today and my travel drought seems to be coming to an end. When the invite for a city break landed I was withdrawing euros quicker than I could say 'dos sangria pour favor'.

The good news - my flip flops were coming out! The bad news - so was a fear of flying and claustrophobia!

In the days running up to a flight I become obsessed with the thought of it. I dream about it and it's on my mind as soon as I wake up. I can't bring myself to read any flight confirmation emails until the very last minute. They only make my stomach churn.

On a flight to Amsterdam earlier this year, I'd gotten myself so worked up that I clutched my boyfriends arm and cried into my travel tissues during take off. 

I felt like I was trapped, like I couldn't breathe. I was out of control. If I wanted to get off the plane I couldn't! 

Dramatic outbursts aside, I'm at a point in my life were I don't want to be hindered by a fear something. There are so many parts of the world that I want to see. It was this 'you only live once' attitude that led me to Manchester Airport last weekend ready to face my first ever flight alone!

If you read my last post you'll know that I was meeting a friend in Barcelona for two days of sightseeing and catching up. It would be an amazing weekend IF I could get on the flight.

Flying alone and with the absence of anyone's arm to cling to, I put a two phase plan into place.

Phase One - A Gin & Tonic

Phase Two - Sourcing Meditation 

Preparation Is The Key: 

In the run up to my trip I read and loved Light Is The New Black ,by Rebecca Campbell. Based on the author's personal experiences it's a book about how to live a life that 'lights you up' and do what you know is truly right for you, not what you feel pressured into doing. It's an amazing read and I found it at the perfect time. 

I followed the link within the book to www.lightisthenewblack.com and downloaded a free 'Light Sourcing' meditation. With the promise of helping to "loosen your control on life and let your soul lead the way" and experience "the most amazing feeling of coming home" ... One week before my trip I decided to give it a go.  

I listened to the ten minute meditation every day on my own in my bedroom. A place that was calming and somewhere I felt safe and comfortable. I needed to switch listening to thoughts of impending doom and listen to the reassuring sounds of the meditation instead.

Each day as I practised, during those ten minutes when my mind was quiet, I started to feel like maybe I could face up to the flight. I started to feel like I'd be safe. I started to feel that IF something did go wrong I could face it. I started to feel excited to meet up with my friend. 

Implementing Phases One & Two:

My boyfriend dropped me off at the airport for a 6;30am departure. I hugged him goodbye and if I'd have let myself I could've had a quick poor me cry. 

As I started walking through security I started to feel ready. I had a plan. I felt a teeny tiny pang of excitement at the prospect of doing this alone. If Macauley Culkin could do it in Home Alone 2, then so could I.  

I bought myself a G&T to take the edge off, and text my boyfriend to say I was alive and ok. Phase one done. 

I sat in the middle of the airport chaos, plugged my headphones into my phone and listened. (I made sure I had DEFINITELY plugged my headphones in, who wants "aannd breeeathe" blaring out in a busy airport terminal?)

As the sounds of the mediation started I associated them with the feelings of safety and comfort I'd felt at home in my bedroom. The airport noises faded into a comforting background whir. I felt lighter and ready.

I was actually feeling ok. 

When the time came and I stood in the queue to board, still feeling ok, I stood by myself but I didn't feel alone.

Now don't get me wrong I was very glad to have my feet back on firm ground, but when I did I felt like I'd achieved something. It might not be much to someone else, but to me it was huge. I waited for my friend to land and sat with a view of palm trees, gathering my thoughts over a cup of earl grey tea. You can take the girl out of England...

If you fancy trying Rebecca Campbell's Sourcing Meditation you can download it free for 21 days at www.lightisthenewblack.com Visit the page and the option to download the meditation will appear in a pop up.

Thanks so much for reading. If you try the meditation I'd love to know how you find it!

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