My attitude needed a change, a shift, for this trip to be somewhat enjoyable for myself and everyone around me. I was angry and scratchy and in a very foul mood.  As a result, I had no filter on my words, my emotions, my energy and anyone around me could feel every bit of this nastiness oozing from me. In short, my attitude sucked.

The Before…Attitude shift

I stomped around, haphazardly pulling my bag from behind, allowing the heavy backpack to fall from time to time, knocking anyone who was within striking distance.  This victim attitude was evident as I kept my head down, refusing to make eye contact with anyone, including my partner, who was sentenced to the seat next to me for the trip from Hong Kong back to Dallas.

All the voices in my head were given a green light to chatter and the tape was running: “This is ridiculous that such a large airport has no food that is gluten-free! My head is hurting! Why are the lines so long for a cup of coffee? I will starve on the airplane without sufficient snacks.”  By the time I boarded the plane and found my seat, the stranger in the seat next to me was doomed!

The awareness…

My entitled attitude justified my actions as I took extra time to be seated, with noisy and exaggerated motions of searching through backpacks for all the things I would need before pushing the bag into the overhead compartment.  I was annoyed with the man seated next to me who dared to rest HIS elbow on the armrest between our two seats!  His feet were sticking out into the space on the bulkhead row, as if I was the only one entitled to use the premium space that we all put extra money to enjoy.  Fussing, fuming, sighing and voicing my opinion under my breath was my mantra for the moment.

After I finally plopped my tired and tight body into the too small, uncomfortable seat, I began to realize that there were many children on board this flight.  It seemed as if every one of them was a vocal, not very happy child!  Allowing the judgmental voices to race in my head, I heard things like: “who in their right mind would bring such young children on such a horrendously long flight?  what kind of parent would allow their child to continue to cry, obviously disrupting so many people around them? Where are my headphones and why can’t I seem to find the place to connect them so I can listen to something other than children crying????”

The realization….

What happened next was a profound lesson for me about the importance of attitude shifts.  I took a basic tantra tool from the proverbial toolbox, and began the long cleansing breaths.  Allowing my eyes to close, focusing my attention back into my own body, stillness began. Each time a thought or voice appeared, I waited, holding my judgment, for another perspective to arise.

Miraculously, the new lens appeared!  In this holding stillness, I found the shift in my attitude came more easily.  As the toddler cried, I recalled holding a screaming toddler and the uncomfortable feeling of being judged.  I found approval for how closely knitted together our seats were for the next 14 hours.  Suddenly, his elbows were no longer in my way!

The results….

AND….the gentleman next to me began to soften, without words at first.  He would move his feet for me to pass, or adjust his elbow for more room.  Then we began to offer to take each other’s trash on our trips to stretch.  He offered to hold my laptop or tea while I got in and out of my seat.  My struggle with getting the tray table out of the hidden pocket was met with his offer to assist me. Literally, the more I slowed down to my true feelings and thoughts, his actions became more interactive and kind.

With that change, I felt lighter, smiled more, found things to enjoy on the long journey home.  I remembered how awesome it was to be on the plane!  I was headed home to friends and family, marking the memories of an amazing journey through Thailand and Hong Kong.  Gratitude changed me!  Gratefulness created attitude adjustments!

What adjustment could you make to change the world around you?

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