Spiritual Tools

How Getting Thrown Out of an Airplane Helped Me Grow

When I was fresh out of university with my Bachelor’s degree in hand and the realization that I did not want to pursue the career that I had just spent 4 years preparing for, I embarked on a journey to find the right career path for me. What I was not cognizant of at that time was that I was on an even more important journey to find myself, discover who I was and who I wanted to become.

So, I set out to search for employment in areas that most interested me. I always wanted to travel the world, so I searched for employment in the travel industry and landed a job as a flight attendant.

In flight attendant school I learned many useful skills and life lessons. One of the most profound, however was when we were learning rescue and evacuation procedures. On this particular day, our class was led onto an airplane that was parked on the tarmac. The head instructor showed us how to conduct emergency evacuation procedures. After we took turns to remove the emergency exit door, we moved on to the next step, which was to activate the slide. The instructor asked me to pull the cord that inflated the slide, which I did. I looked out the door hatch and watched as the slide fully inflated all the way to the ground while still attached to the airplane below the emergency exit.

The next step was to practice jumping out of the plane onto the slide. The instructions were simple. Run, jump and hug your knees as you jump into the air and hold that position as you slide down to safety. When I stood up and got in line to jump, a frightening thought dawned on me. From where I was standing, I could not see the slide. I couldn’t see the slide!!! All I witnessed were people running and jumping into the air and hugging their knees as they fell below eye level.

All I could see was the blue sky and clouds. Clouds!!! We were standing at about the same height as the roof of a two-story building!!!

Fear did not begin to describe my state of mind in that moment. Fear wasn’t the option. TERROR was. It was in that moment that I realized that I was absolutely terrified of heights and there was no way in hell that I was going to jump out of that airplane. Instead, I found myself steadily moving to the back of the line and then sneaking off to search every other exit in order to find any other possible way off the plane that involved a ramp. I would have even settled for an incredibly tall ladder at that point.

The flight instructor (probably having gone through this experience with people like me before) made sure that there was absolutely no other way to disembark from that plane. Everyone else had seamlessly followed the instructions and exited the plane through the emergency exit. Now there were only 3 people left on board – the flight instructor, her assistant and me. As I tried to talk my way out of the inevitable, which, by the way, quickly escalated to my vigorous physical resistance, they simply ignored my demands, threats, and whining. While they completely ignored my tantrum, they took hold of me with one hand on each of my shoulders as their other hand grabbed me by the seat of my pants and threw me out of the plane! They threw me out of the airplane!!!

I would have liked to report that in that moment, I had a heart to heart talk with my Higher Self, realized that it was for the good somehow, and proactively embrace the circumstances -simply surrender and assume the correct pose. 

But, unfortunately, it did not happen that way. Instead, I flew out of the airplane with arms flailing and legs kicking, screaming expletives I didn’t even know that I knew, without one ounce of grace while sloppily sliding down to safety at the bottom of the slide. After I finally landed and stumbled onto solid ground (which took about 60 seconds, but felt like an eternity), the instructor and assistant in graceful succession, assumed the correct position and safely landed without even a hair out of place.

This could have made a great ‘victim’ story. But, the truth is that when I look back on it now, I am very grateful for that experience. I learned many valuable lessons that I still draw upon today.

So, what did I learn from this experience? A lot!

First, I realized that the travel industry in any of its forms is not the career path for me.

I also realized that when it comes to creating a breakthrough to my next level, I can’t do it alone. The fear and resistance to breaking through my limited belief system was too great for me to face on my own.

If I am not allowing myself to be stretched to the point of discomfort, I am not growing.  They are not called ‘growing pains’ for nothing.

I have come to appreciate more and more that we all need someone in our life who has our back, someone in our corner who sees our potential and has more certainty in us than we do in ourselves to manifest that potential.

I did not appreciate that support in the moment when it was given. I felt more like a victim because I was too busy trying to hold on to staying the same, rather than appreciating who I was in the process of becoming. 

I was very fortunate to be supported by someone who was more interested in me experiencing a breakthrough, and caring more about my development than my approval.

The requirement of a life-changing breakthrough is to choose to take that leap of faith – whether through proactively embracing it or by allowing yourself to be pushed.

As I continue to face new challenges on my path, I also continue to grow in my gratitude for my spiritual teacher, Karen Berg, under whose example, guidance and support (and a bit of uncomfortable, yet loving pushing), has taught me that there is no such thing as limitations. I am only as limited as my own imagination as to what is possible to achieve both for myself and the world. And for that and so much more, I am forever grateful.

During the cosmic window of Virgo (Elul) and Libra (Tishrei), we have the opportunity to consciously plant the seeds for a better destiny, individually as well as globally.

If you are serious about making real and lasting changes in your life, my advice is, don’t try to do it alone. Find someone who you identify as more spiritual than you, someone you aspire to be like in some way, who is not interested in your approval, while willing to lovingly push you to your next level.

The 22 days of Libra mark the beginning of a new cycle for all humanity.

What we think, feel, say and do during this critical time of the year, will be played out on the personal and global human stage of cause and effect. With great desire, the right assistance and an open mind, there is no limit to what we can all accomplish.

So, make it your best year yet!

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