Moving through fear

We were on the final descent into Denver airport. For the second time. If you’ve flown before, you know that usually there is only one final descent and then the plane lands and taxis into the terminal. And the business people and families and backpackers and hippies and vacationers walk off one by one, smiling and laughing with their unique pieces of luggage.

This time, however, our plane lifted back into the air away from the landing strip (and freedom!).

I’ve flown private and commercial airplanes throughout my entire life and I like to think of myself as a savvy traveler. I really love traveling and sometimes I chose flight plans that include a longer layover because I absolutely love the transition through airports.

Yet I know all the airplane horror stories: landings that turn into cartwheeling airplanes, planes landing on top of planes as they make final descents, brakes failing at landing and airplanes running into buildings and bursting into flames, pilot takeovers, planes smashing into buildings, planes running out of fuel, birds getting sucked into the air intake thing.

Some of these stories are based on past realities, some are the makings of my imagination.

A flight attendant announces we were unable to land due to traffic on the runway, and that we’ll circle and hop back into the airplane landing line. When I express my fears, my ex-husband, airplane enthusiast and private pilot, logically eliminates them one by one.

I had nothing to fear.

Still, for all my love and experience of successful air travel, I experienced the most intense fear I’ve ever experienced in an airplane as I watched the ground lift to meet us. Chip, the negative voice in my head, came over the loudspeaker:

I don’t want to land!! Can’t we just stay in the air?!

Even as I thought that, I had to smile. What would I do in the air the rest of my life? I’d be surrounded by these hundreds of people in this relatively tiny aircraft. The plane would have to be refueled mid-air, which is possible, but where would we go? How would we eat and exercise and work and live and sleep and have babies and do art and receive medical care and get vitamin D from the sun?

My fear wanted to keep my cooped up in an airplane the rest of my life, how silly is that?

Isn’t this what fears are all about? Keeping us cooped up, debilitated, restricted from moving forward.

Our fears want to keep us confined, at a point in life meant to be a transition, not the destination.

Top ten fears… which one is yours?

01. Fear of flying
02. Fear of public speaking
03. Fear of heights
04. Fear of the dark
05. Fear of intimacy
06. Fear of death
07. Fear of failure
08. Fear of rejection
09. Fear of spiders
10. Fear of commitment