Already various years ago, right after handing in my Bachelor thesis, I was hopping on a plane to Colombia to some fabulous weeks of vacation. Finally taking a breath after endless all-nighters of researching and writing.
I was just eager to arrive already.
It was an all normal all calm flight and I was getting really comfortable in my seat, watching movie after movie, looking outside the window and dreaming a bit. As we were about mid-way crossing the Atlantic Ocean, the captain is speaking and states that one of the sensors in the turbines is failing and we will not be able to reach Bogotá at the current meteorological conditions.
We would need to do an emergency landing at the next possible airport which an airplane of the size of ours could land in. We were in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. No is-land or airport far and wide.
!That was quite a shock!
Everyone just felt it in their stomach. Many passengers got anxious and a bit upset and had all kind of horror scenarios running through their minds. They were looking how they could escape the situation - but when you are in an airplane there is just no option to escape from your situation. One passenger seated in front of me asked if he could get off the plane when we landed and get on another plane to continue the journey as he would feel more safe then. Of course there was no such option either. We were all stuck in this plane, in this dilemma. As stuck as stuck can be.
Isn't our life as human beings just a situation like this? We are just in it. We can't escape it without threatening our life and there is just no other option than to get through with it. You also can't just continue from where you are at in this life in a next life. You are just in it and this is all you got.
It basically comes down to that you can't do anything about your situation, you just have to live it. The full experience.
Looking at my situation which certainly was not comfortable at all, I realised that I could not do anything myself to solve it. All I could do about it was to decide how I would live this particular moment.
Would I panic and get an anxiety attack and think of my possible sudden death? Or would I relax as much as I can, calm down, think how much I love my life and how marvellous it actually is and just give my situation in the hand of the universe to resolve - trusting that it put me into this human form so that I could experience how it is living my life being alive and that it has my back?
I decided to remain calm. To calm myself down. I just wanted to arrive.
Breathe. Keep on breathing. One breath, another one. You actually don't notice them, you just do it. Anxiety doesn't help. It's best to just remain calm, breathe and remain clear in your mind.
That's actually what all passengers did after the initial shock - or at least they acted as if. Faking it till you're making it can be so powerful!
We leant back, trusting that the crew (which by the way did remain calm) were all highly trained professionals doing their job. Indeed, the situation was handled very professionally.
We full procedure emergency landed in Pointe-à-Pitre. I had never heard of this place and had to look it up in the airline's magazine - it was my first touch down in the Caribbean! The color of the water was breathtaking, certainly I have seldom been so happy to see such a beautiful piece of land underneath me.
We landed and went to a parking position and had to remain seated in the plane for hours while they repaired it and it got kerosine - fuelled again. We have had to drop it all off in the air before the emergency landing. Then we took off to Bogotá and arrived there with a significant delay but all safe and sound.
I was so so happy when I arrived.
I could not communicate myself during the journey but everyone had kept waiting for me so I would arrive well and they were there to pick me up.
Luckily, I was never afraid to board a plane again. It's just that I got a bit claustrophobic and long car or bus rides would freak me out as it meant to feel imprisoned again, but even that got better over time. So I kept happily flying ever since with no regrets and always fully trusting that the universe has my back.
As a very welcome side effect of the whole dilemma, I now trust so much more that everything in life just figures out. Whenever I am stuck in a situation and know that I can't do anything about it to resolve it myself, I trust that there are professionals around me, doing their job (god, fairies, angels, elves, whatever you choose to believe in).
I know that all I have to do is remain calm, with a clear mind, breathe, believe, appreciate my life and know deep within that I really, really, really want to arrive at my next destination.