This summer a friend called me, panicked as she sat in the Houston airport en-route to a last minute excursion to Costa Rica. I listened while she listed all the fears and anxiety she was experiencing: what if no one speaks english, plane crashing, getting pulled over in customs, being put in prison, the customs line taking 7 hours and having to travel to her hotel at night, not having transportation to said hotel planned yet, experiencing turbulence and the pilots not talking about it, was this even the right thing to be doing, what would she do when she got there, should she rent a car, was she crazy???
I listened as her tears emerged and receded, as the pitch of her voice went up and down, as the speed of her words slowed, then picked up and became frenetic then slowed again…moving all that emotion out of her sweet system.
I loved every word she spoke, in every tone. She was so real and vulnerable and so genius to call and let it out rather than push it down.
I suggested she take it step-by-step:
- take some deep breathes
- feel her feet on the ground
- go to the bathroom and cry/get it out
- buy some nuts and drink some water (she hadn’t eaten all day)
- sit at the gate and complete your emails
- get on the plane
- say hello to the person next to you
- to the flight attendant
- fly to costa rica
- while on the flight- write out gratitudes/desires for your time in Costa Rica
- exit the plane
- show your passport and tell them your on vacation for a few weeks
- get luggage
- go through customs
- head to ATM and get cash
- exit airport, go back inside if you feel overwhelmed
- take a cab/shuttle to hotel
- let the hotel take care of you and suggest tours and handle other details for your travels
- ask for help
- Enjoy the magic, the sensuality, the flavors, the sun, the warm ocean, surfing, the sights, of Costa Rica
She breathed, she cried, she bought nuts. No customs imprisonment. She ended up extending her trip another two weeks and is now planning on going back and living there for a few months (to start). If she had let the freak out deter her she would have missed out on the magic that awaited her. On the next steps, on the unfolding. She was being called to Costa Rica and I love that she listened and how much her life expanded and deepened because she did. And with that is a freak out. With expansion (trusting her guidance to take this trip) comes contraction. What do we do with the contraction? She felt it, owned it, asked for help, cried, danced, got grounded and took it step-by-step. She breathed into and surrendered to the mystery and received more than she could have imagined or created.
At times if we look ahead and what needs to be done, or what we think needs to be done or that is known or unknown we can freak ourselves out. It can be very overwhelming and all seem very real and scary and yet so much of it isn't even happening. When you get pulled over in customs is the time to think about that, not before. Unless you have contraband, then plan ahead.
So for those of you feeling a call, an expansion: be it a last minute trip to Costa Rica, quitting your job, asking for a raise, going back to school, ending a relationship, moving. I support you in sitting with all that comes up, in witnessing every piece of it and I hope you get on the plane, savor the papaya while the sun warms your body and the ocean laps at your feet. Life is calling you.