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How to Fly: Drop the Judgment

I discovered a fun, yet powerful spiritual practice on my flight from Silicon Valley back home to Ohio. Would love for you to try it and report back your results.

At some point in every long flight, we run out of snacks, comfort, our motivation to work, or our ability to hold our pee. We gotta mix it up. We need to break out of the seats. Stretch.

What do you think about as you shuffle to the front, or back of the plane?

I judge people.

Their open, sleeping mouths. What kinds of lavish headphones they have or don’t have. How much their bodies seep into the aisle, forcing me to pivot and weave. I make assumptions on what they do, or don’t do for work. What they eat, or drink.

My current favorite Judgment Targets are adults who air travel in pajamas, or worse, pajamas and Adidas flip-flops.

It gets worse. I judge parents, and their children. What kind of screens they are glued to. Who is screaming, and what they are eating. I judge flight attendants; if they are upholding the airline’s values, or if they are grumpy like me.

There’s really no good excuse for these clear Dick Moves. Except that, most of use have egos that are well-intact. Most of us process the world around us by slicing and dicing it into categories of likes and dislikes. We let our moods, or bodily needs drag our emotions around by the hair.

We let our mind and body decide how we feel, when The Soul knows better.

What feels slightly better than being hungry, tired, bitchy, or trapped on a packed plane?

That’s right! Pulling out the gavel and whacking it on every row. It’s completely unconscious behavior, but it’s not you or me that’s the Complete Dick. Our brains are wired for judgment and negativity bias. You may be a smart cookie, but your brain is part of your little body.

The Soul maintains infinite depth, love, and wisdom— even while bottled up like a genie in your tiny body lamp.

Our opportunity for transformation is in the unconscious action, or The D-Move.

From D-Moves to Magic in 7 Steps.

I have to credit meeting the amazing Lynne Twist, and reading her book The Soul of Money. I’ve been devouring it since she spoke at The Culture Conference over the weekend.

On this flight, I’m reading about Lynne’s profound first meeting with Mother Teresa— which involved bathing, and singing to abandoned, deformed infants. But also during that same first meeting, she recognized her own prejudice and disdain for wealthy and privileged people.

I was so moved by this, I decided to take my first conscious walk to the back of the plane.

The Conscious Air Traveler

Next time you walk through an aircraft, try this.

1. Walk slowly and intentionally, scanning all faces on both sides.

2. Smile lightly and offer eye contact to anyone willing to receive it.

3. Silently broadcast. Wish everyone Loving Kindness, as if it’s a wave you are riding through the long, narrow space.

4. Remember that on either side of this flight, there are amazing, lovely people waiting for these amazing, lovely people to return safely.

5. This part is fun: Picture you’re walking through a flying nursery of large, sleeping babies. Aren’t they freaking cute? Don’t you just LOVE them?Awww, look at their tattoo sleeves and bulky lap-tops!

6. I wish you safety. I wish you peace. I wish you ease. I wish you love. 

7. I receive your protection. I receive your peace. I receive your ease. I receive your love.

 

We are all in this together. Within a plane or train, and certainly far beyond it.
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My outward experience of the flight completely changed. People engaged me differently. My heart squeaked open a bit wider. Better ideas flowed through.

There’s a harsh contrast we subject ourselves to after peak experiences. These could be moments like childbirth, finishing marathons, or conferences when we meet a new tribe of humans we love.

We assume we have to fight our way back to the Real World, and check our open hearts at the door.

Don’t leave your big, badass, brave heart at home. Or in a bin at the TSA security check-point. Or with the first person who gets in your way.

Give it to them. Welcome them inside it and let it fill you.

Not just because they deserve it (which they do).

Give your heart away because it doesn’t even belong to you. Broadcast love and kindness like a lighthouse out in front of you. My grandfather did this. My guru did this. Lynne Twist does this.

Let your judgmental moments, stress, pettiness — Your D-Moves — trigger a better habit.

Practice on every flight. If you’re a regular traveler, you may enjoy my Prayer for Air Travelers.

Are you a mindful traveler? What works, and what doesn’t? Teach me below.

Please report your results if you’re able to practice the process. Lord knows we could all use more ease in our travel experiences.

 

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2 Responses

  1. So true KC, will try it next time I fly, especially on long hauls, the trips to the loo are endless! We are all in this together, and someone is waiting for them back home. Thanks you for sharing. Its actually not only on a plane, its in a restaurant, supermarket, or even in a store. We can apply the same principal. You are very special.
    PS got stressed at work today so tried the Breathing in for 4 hold for 8 and breath out for 8 did it a few times and it helped.
    Safe travels Darlin.

    1. Love that you’re reclaiming your attention in the heat of battle. That’s really the way to do it.

      Thanks for stopping by and I appreciate you being so willing to practice. Yes, the Practice needs to happen everywhere.

      Much love -kc

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