I sat there, melting in my seat, smudged mascara, and grungy – if not “ripe.”
As we passed over the Meridian divide, I couldn’t help but notice a shift in my consciousness. I was instantly aware at that exact moment in time and space I was betwixt and between: where the East meets the West; night becomes day; and troubles meet solutions. It seemed a rather befitting metaphor considering my unkempt self.
The flight attendants (a most excellent, all-female crew) were all fresh, coiffed, with perfect hair and makeup. They smiled, with authentic friendliness. Suited up in their pencil skirts, starched pin striped blouses, with sweet pink or purple scarves tied in neat little artistic flurries about their necks, they all looked stunning. The fact that they worked in high heels and pantyhose – yes, pantyhose – made me smile. I don’t wear heels so much anymore. Every attendant looked fresh as a daisy.
The 10+ hour flight from Tokyo to LAX is a long and grueling flight, yet these women were at the top of their game. Minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour, they took their work quite seriously while looking great.
As for me, I looked like a piece of wilted lettuce.
In taking note of this juxtaposition, it occurred to me that in each minute – each millisecond of the day or night, we each make a choice. We strive for perfection or settle for less; we strive to joy or settle into our fears.
With each choice we make, we see that we are able to rise to the occasion of the needs of our desires, vocation, or circumstances in life when we want to be successful, triumph, or achieve excellence. Those attendants were successful, exceptionally powerful women who worked their butts off to rise to such excellence. I was impressed.
Closing in on Los Angeles, I got up to use the tiny micro toilet airlines call a bathroom (I submit such containers were created by a man who stands to pee). Confronted by the blaring, all-too unflattering, if not nauseating lights, I appeared to myself in the mirror in worse shape than I had imagined… “Maybe I should wash my arm pits, or at least put on some fresh makeup.” I mused.
“Naaaaaagh!” I settled for brushing my teeth. I had accomplished my work overseas with the Military and now that my work was done, I was exhausted and ready to get home to rest. Yet, even as I stood there melting away, I was invigorated. I was ready to breathe in what I had unexpectedly learned while I was away.
So what do flight attendants with sweet pink or purple scarves, wilted lettuce, and the Meridian divide have to do with this article? It’s the difference between night and day; yesterday and today; a demarcation of East and West; and a strong metaphor for who we are and who we want to be.
My trip to Okinawa and Tokyo was a good one. I screened two of my films and spoke to military families about the spiritual nature of raising kids with special needs. When I finished my last workshop I was satisfied and felt empowered.
While there, I met wives and enlisted women in the Army and Marines. These were incredibly powerful women (with a sprinkling of men) who have kids with special needs. In getting to know them and their stories, each one struck me as brave beyond imagination. Despite their struggles to raise kids under the most extreme of circumstances – in many cases with a deployed spouse off in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other strategic place in between – they show up in everyday life as heroes. Not just as mothers with challenging circumstances mind you, but in the courage they demonstrate daily in sacrificing so much for their families and for our country.
This got me thinking. How about me? For what am I proud? How brave am I? How willing am I to go above and beyond? How awake I’ve been recently? The answer is not as much as I would like to be. Certainly less than what I expect from myself. Simply put, I had not been as powerful in my choices as I wish to be.
I have to admit recently I have allowed myself to forget ritual daily affirmations of gratitude and acts of courage. From the war I was putting out of my mind; the economic worries I let slip into my consciousness; to the comfort of sleepy, safe Thousand Oaks, I have been more focused on my own family issues than on giving and being courageous in the broader fabric of life and country. I have not been completely asleep as I live my life, but have been sleepy for sure.
I have worried about my eldest son who has had a tough time lately as he journeys into adulthood. I guess I thought with all the tools I had provided him, that he’d pass some magical line – his own Meridian divide – into adulthood where his autism would be less and less an issue. I have felt guilty that I have not been there enough for my youngest son as much as I would like as he ventures into high school next year. Worries about my house, its need for repairs, weeds growing taller on the side of the house, filing my (late) taxes, and recovering from my divorce (bla, bla, bla) had me in a state of “when” as I was missing “now.”
My work with military moms opened my eyes. Crossing the Meridian detailed my focus. Since coming home, I have chosen to “remember what I tend to forget.” That is to have more courage and daily practice in consciously choosing faith. I am remembering to remind myself on a daily basis (a two-part process remembering to remember) what I forget everyday: that this is the only moment I have.
AND SO, I STAND FOR:
Illumination over darkness
Excellence over average
Power over servitude
Possibilities over lack
Peace over war
Love over hate
Acceptance over judgment
Safety over fear
Passion over pain
Human rights over silence
Green planet over brown bags
Ghandi over oppression
Children always first
and occasionally…clothing instead pajamas!
Recently I read Marianne Williamson’s book “The Age of Miracles.” I hear Marianne is a new resident of our town. As a powerful spiritual teacher and author, we are lucky to have her energy amongst our midst.
The Age of Miracles is about the need for global transformation, change, and personal awareness of our personal power as we (women) get older. The purpose of her book is to psychologically and spiritually reframe this transition so that it leads to a wonderful sense of joy and awakening.
And this my girl-power-Goddess friends is the Meridian divide. It is the difference between who we are and who we want to be; our ability to be awake in our lives or slumber in the midst of its unfoldment. It is a call for transformation to reveal our truer selves; a call to personal power.
We are all frail to a point in our lives. It is so easy to allow the trials of the day become creepy crawlers in the night. And so I challenge you too to ask yourself daily “Who do I choose to be today?”
As for me, I made an appointment with my tax guy, am clearing out the weeds in my side yard, putting a fresh coat of paint in my son’s room, and tomorrow, I’m going out to buy myself a new pair of high heels. It’s also time to get fresh and sexy!