I sleepily glance at the clock.
FIVE TWENTY EIGHT?
I need to be at the shuttle at 5:36a.m. I hastily get dressed and gather my things. Elaine Bennis style.
I get to the airport with plenty of time to spare but the jolt hasn’t worn off. I feel rushed. Impatient.
I start peeling off my coat, shoes, belt. Head out of gutter, people! The TSA requires every person to remove said articles of clothing. A woman in front of me is with a flight attendant. She peppers him with questions:
“Do I have to take off my shoes? My sweater? Can I keep my cell phone? Did you see my ticket? Wait, my shoes have to come off? Where is my phone? Thank you so much for helping me.”
As our bins arrive at the end of the belt he instructs her. “Walk down that hallway. Your gate is the last one on the left. When you get there…”but she is nervous. Frantic.
“My flight to Boston is down there? Can I buy coffee? Is anything open? Just down that hallway?”
Boston. I pause. I realize I have time. I can help. Those are the words in my head. “I have time.”
Those words are never in my head. I never think I have time (ok, hardly ever. Dane Cook would ding me for that clear exaggeration). Maybe it’s because I removed the word “busy” from my vocabulary. Or maybe it’s because my new favorite affirmation is “There is space and time to do everything I want to do”.
It doesn’t occur to me until many, many hours later that I am making that shift. The shift to a space where I truly “have the time”. I am not just making the time. Or wishing I had more time.
As I escort her down the corridor my pace is leisurely (not my normal speed!). We stop at the café.
She tells me she is visiting her daughter. Her life recently unraveled. I resist the urge to coach her. Instead I listen. To every word.
Later I realize I was fully present from the moment she peppered the flight attendant with questions to the moment I helped her on the plane. Fully present. The state of mind I am continuously striving for.
I want to bottle up that feeling. Being present. Feeling connected. Tapping into my inner calm. I want to feel this way all the time.
I think I can.
I know I will.
I will start today.