The Art Of Staying

Years ago, I was on a small plane with my two young children taking off from Seattle. Sitting on the tarmac, I looked up at the ominous black sky in the middle of the day that we were about to head straight into. I wanted to run down the little aisle in my flip flops and out the door right then!  
But. We stayed.  
Once airborne, you could have heard a pin drop as the plane bounced, dropped and shook us worse than the Cyclone ride at the Jersey shore. It was all so humbling, a feeling so small and I began to go into sheer panic. I bet you've had a flight like that yourself. As the plane jerked up, down, side to side, my kids looked at me for reassurance. I had a choice. I could go into extreme fear, which was where I was heading, or I choose courage and faith that we would be fine. It was then I remembered a deck of Uno cards I had packed. While holding my breath, I passed out the cards. And we played. And played. And I began to calm down. The kids were already calm. Kids have such an innate sense of being in the moment. I noticed everyone, all adults watched us in relief and calmness too. Seems they all needed that reassurance in that moment as well. Through many, many rounds of Uno, I began visualizing the beautiful sunny day that we would experience when we landed. And that is exactly what happened.  
I've been thinking lately that we are all on that plane together right now. Everything that is happening in the world isn't happening to just one or some of us. It is happening to ALL of us. And I for one, am going for the light at the end of the flight, and not the darkness in the scary middle. Because I know that FEAR is as contagious as a virus. It creates a virus in its wake of hatred, aggression and hostility. Fear eats away at the very strength of our souls. And we need our strength now, more than ever. As Elvis said, "when things go wrong, don't go with them." Do it for yourself, but please do it for the generations coming up that need that reassurance that we WILL be okay. We have been through this and even worse things in our country and we have made it through.  
It is grace instead of fear that will transform us through this flight. Yes, the past is gone. We can't go back. The plane is in dark skies right now. But we are beginning to break through the clouds. We can visualize the soft landing ahead in the light of a new day. Let's create an epidemic of Love and Kindness and Grace. Love over fear!
Community + Creativity is our strength as Americans! All of us know how healing it is to be kind. How transformative it is to Love.  
Stay when you want to run. Stay when you want to look away at someone suffering. Stay when everything seems hopeless. Stay with yourself when you feel anxious and alone. Pull out those Uno cards out and play like your life depends on it. Because it does. Oh. And a few Hail Mary's never hurt.
My prayers to the whole blessed world. Love. Courage. Kindness.
Nancy + Team Sweetbird