Posts Tagged With: Letting go of fear of flying

Day 591: And When I Die

When I was in my mid-teens, “And When I Die” was one my favorite songs.

Here are three versions, from YouTube:   Blood, Sweat &Tears,

(found here )

Peter Paul and Mary,

(found here)

and Laura Nyro 

(found here )

…  who wrote “And When I Die,” when she was in her mid-teens.

Here are the lyrics:

And when I die and when I’m dead, dead and gone,
there’ll be one child born and a world to carry on, to carry on.

I’m not scared of dying and I don’t really care.
If it’s peace you find in dying, well, then let the time be near.
If it’s peace you find in dying, and if dying time is here,
just bundle up my coffin cause it’s cold way down there,
I hear that’s it’s cold way down there, yeah, crazy cold way down there.
And when I die and when I’m gone,
there’ll be one child born and a world to carry on, to carry on.

My troubles are many, they’re as deep as a well.
I can swear there ain’t no heaven but I pray there ain’t no hell.
Swear there ain’t no heaven and pray there ain’t no hell,
but I’ll never know by living, only my dying will tell,
only my dying will tell, yeah, only my dying will tell.
And when I die and when I’m gone,
there’ll be one child born and a world to carry on, to carry on.

Give me my freedom for as long as I be.
All I ask of living is to have no chains on me.
All I ask of living is to have no chains on me,
And all I ask of dying is to go naturally.
Oh I want to go naturally.
And when I die and when I’m gone,
there’ll be one child born and a world to carry on, to carry on.

And when that song is on my mind — like, now — what might that mean?

  1. Lots of people, including those in my therapy groups, have been talking about death and dying this week (perhaps because of Robin Williams).
  2. I am flying on a plane, tomorrow, to Edinburgh, Scotland, with my one child born.
  3. I’ve thought a lot about death, since before I first heard that song (probably because of medical challenges I’ve faced my whole life).
  4. A few days ago, my son said to me, “I’ll probably read your blog after you die” (which I found comforting).

These are all just guesses.

Guesses are going to have to be good enough today, people, because I have to go to work!

And when I end  —  and before I’m gone — there’ll be one photo shown:

IMG_7964

Thanks to my son; to Laura Nyro; to Blood, Sweat & Tears;  to Peter, Paul and Mary; to people who work in groups; to those who deal with death and dying; and to you — of course! — for being here, now.

Categories: inspiration, Nostalgia, personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Day 405: Freaking out

That title got your attention, didn’t it? However, I’m not just doing this for attention. I have my reasons to be freaking out today, including:

  1. I am leaving for Panama in two days and — as much as I like to travel — I have automatic fears about (a) flying and (b) new, unfamiliar situations.
  2. Yesterday — my first vacation day — I came down with a cold, viral infectious disease, or whatever else you want to call that ailment we humans keep getting, no matter how much medical science has advanced in other areas, and which often rears its miserable, mucous-y Common-But-Powerful head at the worst possible times.  (I assume that I’m not alone in that experience) (although perhaps your description of your Common Cold experience wouldn’t be quite as wordy or petulant.)
  3. I’m still trying to integrate the latest news I got from my cardiologists last Wednesday about my Very Unusual Heart.

So how can I ease the Freak Out, right now?  Because that would be my wish for this post, dear readers.

I could do the opposite of freaking out, as a way to reverse the trend, I suppose.  But what is the opposite of freaking out?  Freaking in?  My first thought about “Freaking In” is this: that would not be helpful, since it sounds like repressing — and directing inwards — fears, anxieties, and worries. And that’s the last thing I need right now.   I’ve spent way too much time freaking in, especially when I was a kid.

However, while Freaking In is probably not helpful, I’d still like to take a quick visit to Google-Image-Land, at this point in today’s post. Before I do a Google Image Search for “Freak In,” let’s start on familiar territory, by searching for “Freak Out.”

Here’s the first image that comes up:

Image

It’s Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention!  I’m always glad to see those guys,  especially Mr. Zappa, who is no longer with us.

This is reminding me of  my favorite tune from an album I loved from the 70’s:  “King Kong,” where jazz violinist Jean-Luc Ponty  played Frank Zappa music (with a guest appearance by Zappa himself).  Here it is:

(thanks to takamasa1963 for the YouTube video)

Listening to that, right now, is helping me freak out less, already. I also found this video, of Ponty and George Duke  playing “King Kong” live at Zappanele — which is, apparently, a festival honoring the music of Frank Zappa, held each year in Germany.

(thanks to LudzNL2 for the Youtube Video)

This post is helping me in another way, right now. It’s reminding me that I’m going to be attending a Jazz and Blues Festival next week, during my trip to Panama.  That synchronicity wasn’t an accident;  it was planned.  Therefore, I am now — in my mind — rewriting the famous Panama Palindrome:

A Man, A Plan, A Canal, Panama

to this, as a cheering reminder to myself, about my upcoming trip:

An Ann, A Plan, Some Jazz, Panama

So while that doesn’t scan as a palindrome, it’s still helping.

This is reminding me of something else I definitely wanted to write about today, believe it or not.  Just the way I re-wrote that palindrome, I find it helpful to “rewrite” old, unhelpful messages, especially those that increase fear and anxiety.

As I may have mentioned here before, images — rather than words — are particularly powerful at evoking old feelings. Therefore, in my work as a therapist,  I sometimes talk to people about changing anxiety-provoking, or even “stuck” images, to something different. For example, in this post, I described changing somebody’s old, unhelpful image of a wall — which was keeping other people at a distance —  to a different kind of wall, that invited growth and healing.

So what are the images that are causing me anxiety, right now?  Because I sure would like to change one.

A powerful and unhelpful image, for me right now,  is that of a small plane crashing. Why? Very soon, I’ll be flying in a small plane, for the first time, in Panama.

So let’s see if we can reduce my anxiety by replacing an unhelpful image with something better. To start, let’s see what Google Images has for “Small Plane Crashing,” right now.

Eeeeek!  While Google Images was stumped by “Freak In,”  it has LOTS of offerings for “Small Plane Crashing.”  And just looking at all those images, right now, is increasing my anxiety.   I also don’t want to upset my readers, so I’ll just show the first image (as is my wont):

Image

I found that image here, and the headline for that link is actually … reassuring. “Two escape serious injury in small plane crash.”

Well, that’s good.

Okay!  Now that we have a (bearable) image for my fear, what I’d like to do now is counter that image with an image for something very different. Let’s try …. “small plane soaring.”  Here we go:

Image

I found that image here, and even though I had my doubts about using this technique for this particular problem …

… that DOES look like fun, doesn’t it?

Okay, it’s time for me to bring this post home.

Thanks to Frank Zappa, Jean-Luc Ponty, George Duke, mothers of invention (of all kinds),  and to you — of course! — for visiting today.

Categories: inspiration, Nostalgia, personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Day 391: What is the opposite of dreadful?

I chose the title of today’s post because:

  1. It’s a question, and I endorse the Socratic method (which is just a smart-sounding way of saying that I like a style of learning and teaching that involves questions and answers 1 ).
  2. I sometimes enjoy intentionally misleading people for a brief time, before explaining things. In this case, I’m guessing that my readers are thinking that this post is about something that it actually is NOT about. (At least, not intentionally.)

(pause, allowing you to think about all THAT)

Anyway, so what IS this post about?  What else do I want to say about the title?

The inspiration for this post was my waking up this morning, realizing that my trip to Panama is about two weeks away, and …

(drum roll)

… noticing that I am not filled with dread.

Right now, I am carefully checking my dread level, to see how much dread there actually is. I’m imagining a gauge, like this:

gas-gauge2

DREAD

And …. I’ve got nothing.

So, while the Dread Gauge above, would indicate being full of dread, or — perhaps — “dreadful”, what’s the word for being the opposite of that, which is what I am, right now?

In other words, would this gauge …..

Image2

be a pictorial representation of being “dreadless”?

Well, my dear readers, you’re probably noticing that I’m playing around with words right now.  And why? Is this avoidance, of something important?

And what does it mean that I want to keep playing with that word “dreadless”? Well, it could just be a reflection of the fact that I made that word up, so I’m naturally imagining different definitions, like this:

(Note: The above video is thanks to Boost467 and contains language meant for “mature audiences.”)

Well, I’m not sure if I’m avoiding something. Maybe I’m just having fun.   But I do know that I DID want to go other places, in this post, including:

  1. I wanted to give myself credit for making progress. That is, I was feeling more dread during the two weeks prior to my last trip, to London. (Check out these posts hereherehereherehereherehereherehere hereherehereherehere, here, and here — written during that two-week period.) (In some of those posts, the dread is more obvious than others. But it’s there. I know.)
  2. I wanted to think about what’s been helping, in making me dreadless, today.

What’s different about my upcoming trip? A few things I can think of, including:

  • This time, I’m traveling with another adult, who is helping with the planning.
  • Since my last trip, I have completed my last will and testament.
  • For whatever reasons, I am more at peace with my own mortality.

What else has been helping me be dreadless?  I’m not sure, but my best guess is the big two, according to Sigmund Freud: 3

  1. Work.
  2. Love.

Okay!  This post is now the opposite of endless.

Thanks to Sigmund Freud, Busta Rhymes, those who dread flying, people who dread death, and — of course! — to you, for reading today.


  1.  Here’s a video (posted by dieterwanke) of one of my favorite tunes — “Question and Answer” by Pat Metheny, whom I’ve written about, here, here, here, here, and here. It doesn’t include the complete performance, but I’m choosing this because it also features Michael Brecker, one of my favorite sax players, may he rest in peace.

  1. Yes, this is another number 1. Yes, I know I already had a footnote #1, above. However,  no matter how I try to fix this, WordPress insists on re-starting the footnote count. And yes, I’ve tried EVERYTHING to fix this (although, as George Carlin might say, “apparently not”).  So, for now, I’m going along with this WordPress glitch. What did I originally want to say in this footnote?  Two things: (1) I’m still thinking of car-related metaphors a lot. Am I driving too much? (2) I found that image here.

  2.  I found that image here, at a place for free stock images. Good to know.

  3. Perhaps you thought this footnote would include data supporting this. It doesn’t. It’s dataless.

Categories: humor, inspiration, personal growth | Tags: , , , , | 26 Comments

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