Mindfulness and compassion for a calmer and more interesting journey.
We headed off to the airport this morning, in what I thought was plenty of time. However, heavy traffic added extra minutes onto our journey and we crawled along behind a lorry which sprayed a persistent mist of water onto the windscreen. I stared at the road signs anxiously, my mind already racing ahead to missed flights. By the time my father finally dropped me at the airport there was a huge queue snaking towards the security area. My chest tightened. I kept glancing at my watch, irritated and impatient to get through and into the safety of the departure lounge.
Eventually, I reminded myself that no matter how many times I checked my watch, nothing was going to change. I took a slow, deep breath which calmed me instantly and waited my turn.
Then I was through.
As I waited in the queue to board, the elderly lady beside me started to talk. Normally I would have cut her short, but this time I decided to show more compassion, she was on her own, worried about carrying her bag up the aircraft steps. I smiled. She offered me a mint and we got chatting about travelling. I was so glad that I did, she had led a fascinating life. A former air hostess, she had met her husband, an airline pilot, and had travelled and lived all over the world. She spoke about the wonders of travel and the comfort of returning home. I found her story fascinating. She was also interested in what I had to say.
Just before we went our separate ways, she smiled contentedly and said, “I am so glad that I have lived the life I have, I can look back at my life without regrets. Nothing has been left undone.” It was a profound statement, which has left me moved.
Funnily enough, she is the second person I have met at an airport who has given me an important insight into life at a time when I have most needed it.
By the time I got onto the plane I was relaxed and feeling very positive.
TIPS FOR TRAVELLING
- You can’t make queues go any faster, take a deep, calming breath and enjoy the journey.
- Be aware of your surroundings, instead of plugging yourself into your music, chat to people, you never know what words of wisdom or inspiration may come your way.
- Show compassion – a warm smile or conversation could make someone’s day and make you feel a lot more positive.