Bird & Sunrise photo

Bird & Sunrise photo
Because "someday" is today!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Learning To Fly

Tina at Times Square, New York © 2008 Jeff Welter
Tina at Times Square, NY
This spring I had the opportunity to go to New York city. My Talented Boss was having a show there and Jeff would be transporting and setting up the artwork. I could stay in the hotel with Jeff for four days, if I wanted to buy my own airline ticket. I would be flying by myself for the first time.

This probably seems like nothing, but twelve years ago I could barely get on an airplane. It wasn't the fear of crashing. I always believed in those statistics that it was safer to fly than drive. It was the claustrophobia, the not seeing out, that out of control feeling and fearing that some strange person would be coming apart emotionally. Oh, that would be me. I know I watched way too many of those "Airport" movies in the 70's.

For someone who has never had an anxiety attack, this probably seems ridiculous. Just imagine your heart pounding, hands shaking and mind racing with your worst fears for an hour or two. It's like a bad dream you can't wake up from. I would have avoided airplanes my whole life if I hadn't married a man who loves to travel and dreams of seeing the whole world. This was a stress on our relationship and I prayed that I would be able to change but I wasn't sure how.

Central Park, New York ©2008 Tina M Welter  Spring and baseball games in the park.
Central Park, NY
Looking back, I can see that this was a journey of changing patterns for me. Ten years ago, Jeff really wanted to go to Hawaii. I was terrified of that eight hour flight. I had a friend who was a hypnotherapist, and she felt she could help me. I learned from that experience that my huge fear was actually trying to protect me. I had to learn to judge between the really dangerous versus the perceived dangerous. This did help me. The next trip we planned to go to Hawaii again. Hurray! I can do this. Then 9-11 happened. We were scheduled to fly five days after the attack. I was crying before we got on the plane, but I did get on.

Last November, there was an art show in Chicago that my Talented Boss was participating in. I was able to fly with other employees but no Jeff. I had to learn then to have all my stuff together without relying on him so much. At least I still had people I knew and they understood my anxiety.

Rockefeller Plaza, New York ©2008 Tina M Welter  The iconic golden sculpture.
Rockefeller Plaza, NY
This brings me full circle to New York. The flight was delayed for two hours because of mechanical difficulties. That gave me a long time to think and worry. It was tough work keeping my mind in control. Eventually the flight got on the way, I made the next connection, and my luggage didn't get lost either.

What I learned is that I could have saved a lot of energy by not worrying so much. I got to see Van Gogh's painting "Starry Night" at the Museum of Modern Art as well as original Monet and Picasso paintings that I thought I would never see. Central Park was amazing and New York bagels are the best. I realized that there is so much in this world to see and enjoy if I don't let my fear stand in the way. It's helpful to look back and see how I was able, one step at a time, to accomplish something I never thought I could do. I hope to apply this concept to making a living with my artwork, which at this point seems just as terrifying as flying did twelve years ago. My seat is in an upright and locked position!

Jeff's Corner: "There's trouble in the cockpit!"
"The cockpit? What is it?"
"It's a little room at the front of the plane where the pilot sits. But that's not important right now..."
(Airplane, 1980. Some of us were influenced by different movies...)

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