BREEMA in the Sacred Valley of Peru Post 20
Friday, September 22, 2023 6:46 AM
Long before I landed in Peru, I was delayed in the Sacred Valley of Cleveland, Ohio, beside the Sacred Lake Erie. I kind of joke, but this is indeed what happened, and over the next few days, I even became grateful for an unexpected series of events.
After many months of planning and preparing for the trip, I arrived at Cleveland Hopkins Airport at 3 p.m. on Sunday, August 6th. A said a quick goodbye and gave a thank you hug to my daughter Hannah, who kindly dropped me off, and then I was moving through the usual routine of check-in, security, etc… There were moments here and there when I remembered that I could just register the weight of my body walking and not get caught to ideas about what was next. Ah, refreshment.
As the day unfolded, I watched the arrival and departure screens and listened to announcements of the latest delay for my flight that had been scheduled to arrive in Cuzco, Peru at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, August 7th. At one point, I approached the desk at the gate and got in line to ask for some clarification about making my connection. The line shortened, and the man in front of me was obviously irritated as he talked to the woman working there. As she spoke to him, my impression was that she was doing her best. It was obvious that the situation was beyond her control, and she did not seem to add anything extra to her exchange with him. She was polite and gave him the clear details, obviously wishing him the easiest outcome to his dilemma. Almost simultaneously, she was answering questions to co-workers speaking to her from a little radio attached to her shoulder. She was really good at juggling all of this.
When it was my turn to speak, I stood, knowing I was there and made eye contact with her as I asked her about the flight and details about how (and if) I could make my connecting flight in Atlanta. Without effort, I naturally had well-wishing for her and the work that she was doing. Her reply was helpful and clear, and as I said thank you to her, I had this experience that I was helped just by being here and having the opportunity give those thanks. A little while later, I had a similar experience with another representative, and then another. As my flight schedule (and that of many other people) fell apart, I actually felt uplifted rather than deflated. By having an underlying wish to simply be present, I was benefiting from the unexpected circumstances.
In the midst of these delays and the many strolls I took, I decided to do something I rarely do at an airport. I sat down in a restaurant and ate a full meal. Normally I minimize buying any food at airports because of the high price and the low quality I’ve become familiar with, but I had been there many hours more than I’d expected and was hungry. When my flight was finally cancelled late that evening, I had a bit of an adventure retrieving my luggage, making a hotel reservation online and navigating a mix-up (on my part) about where a shuttle would pick me up. By this time, I was pretty tired, and quickly went to sleep upon arriving at the hotel. About an hour and a half later, I woke up to the alarm of digestive upset that told me that my dinner was not sitting well, to put it mildly. As these new circumstances played out, my mind started going to worries like, “Am I even going to be able to get on an airplane tomorrow?!” “How long is this going to last?!” and more that you can probably imagine.
At some point, when I was able, I began simply walking around my hotel room in the dark, registering the weight of my body on the floor. Step, step, step. I asked my mind to just stay with this experience of the body’s weight and movement, and gradually, tension in my body began to drop away. Step, step, step. Worries in my mind and feelings began to drop away too. At one turn, as I walked past the desk, I simply was present, without the extra of being so concerned about what might happen tomorrow. I was just here and knew that I was here. I saw in that moment how much my wild mind was exacerbating the situation and even creating more upset and discomfort in my body. I saw right there that I had a choice to not put my energy in that direction. Sure, my digestion was still off balance, but this shift allowed my whole system to begin normalizing. This gave me an in-road to sit down and do Self-Breema exercises for quite a while, which helped even more and allowed me to get back into bed for some restful sleep.
There is a popular saying, “Suffering is optional,” and that is what I experienced. In the zen tradition, there is a story about arrows: the first arrow and the second arrow. The events of life are the first arrow. In this case, a digestive disturbance that woke me up in the middle of the night was the first arrow. Then there is the second arrow, the suffering which we add on. That second arrow is self-inflicted. When we are in a position to see and accept that, not out of an impulse to fix or change the situation, but with an openness and wish to simply see things as they are, we can experience freedom from suffering, and honestly, freedom from identifiying with thoughts. To be clear, this really is not an experience I can make up, and in a way it is out of my hands. What I can do to support the process is to simply work with body-mind connection, and at some point acceptance may come in as a gift.
That experience of being present as I circumnavigated my hotel room continued to serve me in the days ahead. The next morning, Alana and Oliver came to Cleveland and we went out for lunch together and had some fun. When I hugged them goodbye at the airport and thanked them, I didn’t turn and enter the building with the assumption that I’d be leaving for Peru, which was good, because I didn’t. Instead, I had a similar day to the one before, but this time I actually boarded and de-planed more than once. There were exchanges and well-wishing with helpful staff members, many of them now becoming familiar faces to me. In the end, it turned out to be an even longer day of waiting at Cleveland Hopkins. I walked up and down the halls, working with the Breema principle of Body Comfortable as I shifted my carry-on bag from one shoulder to the other, and occassionally took a break to sit. At the end of the day, I left the airport with another cancelled flight and a new one (the earliest available) scheduled for that Thursday, and me arriving Friday, August 10th, which would be one day into the Sacred Valley Breema Retreat. Not what I’d originally planned, but Breema was supporting me to make lemonade.
That night I drove all the way home, which is about 90 minutes south of the airport, rolling into our nest in the country around 1 a.m.. Ah, it was sweet to be greeted by the crickets and the stars, bright and clear enough to pluck and eat. I went inside, and I hugged my son and wife and went to bed. In the morning, I did my usual routine of meditation, Self-Breema and yoga, with an occassional sip of coffee in between. Afterwards, I re-arranged my suitcase and took several things out of my carry-on. These were items that I’d learned that I didn’t really need. Wandering the airport for two days can teach you a bit about what is essential - in more ways than one! Then I called the airline and was again helped by a very kind woman who assisted me in finding a flight leaving the next day, August 9th. This one took off and kept going. Hallelujah!
Wow, what an adventure...
Thank you for reading,
p.s. On that day that I spent back at home (before finally leaving for Peru) I had the pleasure to reconnect with Alana and Ollie. Oliver even connected a new grabber toy to my butt as we took a walk! Ouch! Then there was an unexpected dog shower after a certain small and furry pet rolled in something stinky (which she ADORED - the rolling, not the bath), and I experienced unhurried time in the garden, picking vegetables that Alana would give to a friend while I was gone. I think I needed all of that grounding to help me to be ready to fly.
Pictures of this journey are below...
A blog of good news by David Pratt
David & Alana Pratt
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