If you have a fear of flying, you’re not experiencing what Oprah calls “living your best life” when you fly. Or perhaps your fear of flying prevents you from visiting all the places you’d like to see. Definitely not a good way to live your best life!
Oprah is devoting the next two weeks to Living Your Best Life. Each day a show covers a specific area; next week are live webcasts as follow up to this week. Monday was about weight. Tuesday featured Dr. Oz on achieving better health. Wednesday’s topic is spirituality. Suze Orman focuses on money on Thursday, and the week finishes up Friday with sex.
Unfortunately overcoming fear of flying didn’t make Oprah’s list of ways to live your best life. So…I’ll offer my take on it.
My perspective on “Living Your Best Life by Overcoming Your Fear of Flying” involves paying attention to Elizabeth Lesser’s wise words. It just so happens that Elizabeth Lesser is one of Oprah’s spiritual experts for Best Life Week. An interview with Elizabeth I read on the Spirituality and Practice web site inspired me to write this post. I recommend reading the whole post, but I’ll summarize two things that struck me in relationship to overcoming fear of flying.
In response to the interview question of “How can pain help us create our best life?” Elizabeth quotes the poet Rumi who says, “Wherever a pain is, that’s where the cure goes.” Then she says, “What he means by this is that if we turn and face the pain, and ask it what its message is, we will find the cure. We’re a strange lot, us humans! We tend to resist pain, and therefore we resist finding the cure. Instead of growth, we choose to stay stuck in a situation or a mindset.”
Ah…the “stuck” word! Whether you’re stuck in a mindset, a relationship, or fear of flying, stuck is stuck and not useful for living your best life. Staying stuck is resisting change, and growth is not possible without change. Staying stuck is saying “I’m not going to fly because I hate what it does to me.”
Being stuck is telling yourself that you’ll never be able to overcome your fear of flying.
If you are going to get unstuck from your fear of flying, you must change whatever you’ve been doing. Whether it’s actively seeking a solution through a fear of flying program or by confronting the pain of your fear by committing to fly until you’re over your fear, you must do something different. Otherwise, you will be stuck in the same fear that keeps you stuck now at the end of this year, and the next one, and the next.
Elizabeth Lesser wisely offered insight into fear and anxiety during her interview: ” But I suggest a different solution to our anxiety — and that is to relax into the uncertainty. The more we try to control the uncontrollable, the more fearful and tightly wound we become.” She uses another critical word in overcoming fear of flying–control!
Fearful flyers want to be in control. But Elizabeth says that the more we try to control the situation, the more fearful we become. She suggests that we relax into the uncertainty. That takes practice. That takes acceptance. That takes the spiritual practice of being mindful of the present moment and realizing that the present moment is the only thing we have control over.
So…how will you go about Creating and Living Your Best Life in 2009? Get a better sex life? Drop some pounds? Or…will this be the year you finally lose that flying fear?