Who really knows the exact moment when frazzled turns into completely chaotic? But it is bound to happen every so often even to the most organized and composed. Since I began to meditate which for me is more a matter of slowing down and being mindful, those moments rarely happen. When they do, they are considerably shorter and less intense. But then it happened. A handful of things collided and I spiraled into a massive state of anxiety that left me feeling totally overwhelmed and out of control. It’s a state of mind that makes me shiver when I recall it.
I was traveling to Washington, DC and everything was going as planned. I got to the airport in a timely manner, parked my car in exactly the place I was shown in a prior test run. Yes, a test run to the parking lot LOL. Being as I am, totally and completely directionally impaired, test-runs are the norm in my life. I arrived at the airport early enough to grab an over-priced sandwich with wilted lettuce which at the very least, balanced my blood sugar. I took the right plane, got off at the right metro stop, checked into my hotel, met my son, had a perfect dinner and got a nearly full night’s sleep.
But then it happened. One day prior to when I was to return home I noted on my United Airlines app that I was being “checked-in” for my flight. This app offers a wonderfully easy way to check-in on-line and get your boarding pass right on your phone. Love it! Except when it isn’t working—when it is checking me in for a flight I am not supposed to be on—a day earlier. O.K., no problem as I quickly get on my laptop and attempt to change the flight. But no sooner had I completed the change a message follows that the change in flight could not be processed. My laptop runs out of power. And then I discover I have left my charger at home.
I dial the airline while simultaneously making my way through the mall that is attached to my hotel, feeling grateful that it is also home to an Apple store. I purchase the charger (given to me by an Apple salesperson). It is only after I have paid that a customer service representative from United gets on the call. This, of course speaks volumes about customer service but that is beyond the scope of this piece. Back at the hotel, I learn that the salesperson has given me the wrong charger. I discover this at the same time I discover I’ve lost my cellphone. Needless to say the morning is not going well.
As things turned out, my reservation had gone through and lucky me was booked on the only flight available—7:10 a.m. I am not a morning person. This flight required that I be on the airport shuttle at 5:30 a.m. I arrive on time; get on my flight, land, only to find that the plane has come into a different terminal. All my pre-planning and the test-run are suddenly for naught. I have to find the air train to take me to the right terminal and hope I have taken enough visual notes to get me out the right exit, and to the right parking lot. Success! Almost in my car. Almost home I think. But no we are still a couple of stops away from losing it (my mind). I have lost my parking lot ticket—no doubt having mistaken it for the used metro card that I had thrown out in an effort to keep my handbag organized. 45 minutes later I am allowed to leave the parking lot without having to turn over my first-born in exchange for my ticket out.
I wish I could tell you that the story ends there but as luck would not have it, I can’t. I arrive home only to find that we have no heat in our house. I promptly sit on our kitchen floor, let out a blood-curdling scream (I can do this because no one is home to scare the hell out of) and cry a few exhausted tears. And then I get on with the business of solving the heat problem.
I swear I believe in the power of meditation and it has changed my life. But in all honesty there are moments in life that call for kicking, screaming and crying. Hopefully, you are alone somewhere when you let loose and you can, if you want, tell someone your story and convince them that meditation got you through.