By Michelleanne Bradley
Travel is not always synonymous with equanimity practice for me.
I most recently received a Statement of Work on Monday morning around 8 am, and needed to be across the country by the next afternoon. I am working a lot for the first time in months.
I started my own company last year, and I was super slow in getting it moving, but then I lost the part time gig that I had. It was not a good fit, but there was something easy and comfortable about it, the pay was steady, and I was working part time. I could travel where I wanted, work remotely other than one week per month, and it was not a challenge.
Then my contract ended.
It was sudden, not unwelcome, because really, they were moving in a direction that we were no longer compatible, but it was hella inconvenient. I had grown accustomed to the income and so I had to get the hustle going so that I could keep up the paying the mortgage, bills, and eating all in the same month habit.
Part of this new work thing is I have to be flexible around travel.
One of my best friends is gracious enough to come and spend the night in my guest room and drive me to the airport at what I fondly call the “wee sma” hours of the morning. No joke, this last time, he wanted to leave the house at 4:30 in the morning for an 8:15 flight so that he could make it to work on time. I asked if he was planning to walk. We left at 6:00 am.
At these times, I try to reach deep into equanimity practice. I have a couple of minor, little, not even worth mentioning really, control issues, and they start with me trying hilariously to survive while traveling with people.
But, I breathe slightly easier with each obstacle that I pass on the way to the plane. First is to get to the airport, then through the security line—there are always people who have never flown before in the security lines. To be fair, I do have Global Entry and TSA Pre-Check, so I go through the fast lane and get to keep all of my clothes on, including my shoes, and as an added bonus, I don’t have to unpack my bag. Then there is the search for the gate, and the queue to get on the plane, which makes me laugh, because we all have tickets and they are not going to leave without us.
Of course, none of this is relaxing for me. This is all great practice.
So I made it through and also made the second flight, and by then the exhaustion and the anxiety have set in again. The second flight was super short, but I flew into an airport that I’ve not been to before, staying at a hotel that I was not familiar with and I had to wait for the shuttle (which took about 30 minutes, but it always feels like so much longer when I’m hitting the last few hurdles before I am safely shut into the room).
I was over tired, a little weepy (which goes hand in hand for me with over tired), and I was wholly unprepared for the kindness of the shuttle driver was kind to me. All of the tension, all of my closing off that happens when I’ve been on the road for any amount of time, all melted away with the kindness of this driver. He was giving me advice about restaurants in the area, I told him that it was my first foray into the South in a long time, and what I really missed the most was anything fancy, but I would love to know how far Waffle House was from the hotel.
This is where I fell deep into the unexpected practice.
He offered to stop on the way to the hotel, or to take me once I had a chance to check in and get settled. There was a genuineness around him that broke my heart into a thousand pieces, and reminded me of the really important part of why we are here: to be kind to each other.
I really needed this reminder. I am so grateful for this practice.
Editor: Dana Gornall