I am writing this blog post from the Fort Lauderdale Airport. I am hoping to fly out to Newark in about an hour from now and then drive home from there. I was planning on being home by now. My original flight was scheduled to leave 7 hours ago from a different airport over 50 miles away. That flight was cancelled.
No, you will not see me on national television, featured as a passenger who was unruly or who caused a riot. No, I haven’t pulled out the ‘doctor card’ and demanded that I be given a private jet to fly me home because of my status as Dr. Susan M. Featro. “Everything happens for a reason,” is something my mother has always said. I am trusting that the universe / God / my Higher Power has orchestrated this change of plans in order for me to a have a different experience. I believe that we are always co-creating and manifesting exactly what we need to experience…in order to remember who we are.
Sometimes, life doesn’t go as we have ‘planned.’ One element in my yoga practice is flexibility; just as I strive to be flexible on my yoga mat, I can strive to be flexible off of my mat in the rest of my life. The quote “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans” has been attributed to John Lennon and to Allen Saunders. I am choosing to not get wrapped up in stressing over the changed plans and what could have been. Yes, I am disappointed that I will not get to join my parents and my cats for dinner to tell them about my trip. Yes, I am expecting that I will be tired tomorrow when I wake up early to go to play the organ and sing at church after getting to bed after midnight. (For me, 9pm is a late night, so this is a wild thrust into night owl territory.) But I will not be dwelling in the past or in the future; instead, I will occupy the present moment and show up for my life and see what might be calling me in closer. Is there something for me to notice here, internally or externally? Is there a connection with a stranger that will happen and uplift us both? I am open to it all. One new experience I’ve had so far in navigating this cancelled flight: using Uber for the first time to get from West Palm Beach to Fort Lauderdale. I also just ate at the Food Network Kitchen.
In my belief system, none of us are entitled to anything that we ‘own’ on this planet…and as we all are one, there is no hierarchy with anyone being better or more important than anyone else. I am no more special and no less special than another passenger, and I have no right and no reason to treat inconsiderately an airport employee or anyone else doing his or her job…just because of my privileged status as “doctor” or because of any self-determined extenuating circumstances which I might attempt to justify as trumping others’ stories. We are all on a journey, and we will all get there. Sometimes the detours are the most exciting parts of the trip. I am grateful for the opportunity to show up and to be myself as I take each step…no matter where my journey takes me. Bon voyage!
During my recent trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico, I went on an evening/night excursion to kayak at the bioluminescent bay in Farjado. Before going on the trip, I read about this area, and I found it fascinating. A high concentration of microscopic organisms called dinoflagellates thrive here. When they are agitated, they glow in the dark, and anything that comes in contact with them also glows. In order to preserve this fragile ecosystem, swimming is no longer allowed in this bay, but if a person did swim, it would appear that the person was glowing.
I found it worth going on this trip in order to experience the bioluminescence first hand. Unfortunately, it does not come out well on photographs, but I can assure you that the water really does light up and glow when the kayak paddle comes in contact with it, when you scoop your hand into the water, and whenever a fish goes by. Sometimes the advertisements for a tourist attraction are much more exciting than the actual place, but in this case, the experience really does live up to the claims that they make.
This was the first time that I had ever been out in a two-person kayak. It was also the first time that I ever kayaked at night. One of my favorite parts of the trip was going through the narrow channel that was completely tree-covered. It was pitch black; it was only possible to see the tiny little glow ring on the kayak that was in front of you. As interesting as it would have been to see this new area and take in the natural beauty of this tropical environment, it was thrilling and surreal to know that I was in the middle of a channel off of the Farjado Bay in the tropical rain forest biome…but to not be able to see any of it. I knew that I was traveling through the mangrove forest into the lagoon, surrounded by tropical foliage, and even knew that mosquitos were likely flying all around me…but could not actually see anything. Yet, I felt it all in my body, and it was powerful and peaceful. My inability to see it with my eyes but my general knowledge of what was surrounding me in this environment allowed me to experience this on a different level. It reminded me of faith – not seeing, but believing. In other blog posts, I’ve written about letting go of control, accepting that we don’t have all the answers…and trusting. This late night kayak excursion allowed me to experience the comfort that comes when I let go of knowing.
Last Thursday, I presented at an educational research conference in Cape May, New Jersey. I turned this time into a solo get-away and enjoyed an incredibly wonderful and beautiful 3 days by the water.
I spent time with a good book and my journal, having a front-row seat to the ocean on my beach towel. I walked through the town and enjoyed the Victorian architecture. I ate really good food, including a lobster roll & a complete lobster bake, enjoyed outside at a picnic table. I took off my shoes and walked on the beach, away from it all. I sat on my balcony and breathed in the salty air. I explored the area.
It was a delightful retreat and has left me feeling refreshed and inspired to lift my voice. I believe that solo retreats are essential to the creative process, and I wanted to share with you a few photos from my time in Cape May to inspire you!