Despite being what I consider to be a mindful person, the act of waking up and declaring “I am happy to be alive!” has never truly felt like a real sentiment to me, though I have done it countless times. Somehow the words lacked authenticity. It’s not that I was never actually happy to be alive, but I never felt the gratitude that should come every morning when I said those words.
Last week was the first time I said those words and they felt real. Now I am sure these words will feel authentic to me until the day I stop breathing. Every minute, every second we are here living, breathing, doing and thinking we are so lucky!
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Last week I flew out of LAX for some much needed family time in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina. One hour into my flight, I was awoken by an announcement from the captain. There seemed to be an issue and we were rapidly descending. I felt a rush of emotions from my feet all the way up to my head, which started pounding almost immediately. I look around at all my fellow passengers and all I could see was fear. “Has anybody survived an airplane crash?” “I don’t want to die!” “Am I dreaming?” and “Am I going to die today?” were just a few of the thoughts running through my mind. I look out the window and the ground was getting too close too soon. All the thoughts and emotions running through my head were some of the most revealing things I have ever experienced. I realized I really loved the way I lived my life until this day. I learned I so badly want to do more in this world. The emergency lights came on, we were still descending rapidly with lots of turbulence and there were no words from the captain other than to secure our seat belts. The most important thing at that point was realizing I was okay “to die.” Such an inexplicable feeling. I also thought of the other people on the plane. There were some people crying and some people were having trouble breathing. I felt so connected to each and every one of the souls on that plane. For the first time I really understood we are all one. We are all connected. We are all in this together. After 20 minutes of descent, the captain finally, mercifully, announced we were about to land and we made it safely to the ground.
I am a true believer that we are exactly where we need to be and that this scary experience was there to teach me and remind me what a beautiful miracle it is to be ALIVE. Before this whole experience happened, I had never dared to contemplate death. I believe we all have a tendency to think that tragedy will never happen to us. After having gone through a situation where I had to come to terms with death, I have been left with a sense of peace and deeper connection to all that surrounds me. It has helped me realize what truly matters and that it goes beyond the small stuff we get caught up in on a daily basis. We are all here to live meaningful lives and it is measured, at least in my experience, by how much we love, connected, and heal.
“Never doubt this: You are the most significant being in the world, because at the level of the soul you are the world.”
- Deepak Chopra