I can remember being frustrated with airplane travel when I was a single dude. Boy, what an immature mental state. It’s so much more challenging doing airplane travel with a family—especially when you have two small kids (4 and 2). And now I can go through the airplane dance with less stress.
On the plane, while the kids watched some stuff on the iPad, I was listening to a Darren Hardy YouTube I had downloaded. He was talking about how two different people can go through the same circumstances and have very different reactions, all because of their beliefs. That is certainly the case when I compare 10 years ago with now in terms of my stress load at the airport.
In Red Gold one of the things Grigori Raiport mentions is your threshold of pain. Basically, what does it take to break you? It takes way more now than it did then. Why is that?
Meditation and calm – control of emotions is the key to health and happiness
One of the major things is a concerted effort to meditate and focus. After a while, you learn to instantly observe your interior state. Then you learn to change it. Like, why am I feeling this way—it’s no big deal in the grand scheme of things.
Now watch, I’ll write this and be challenged in some other way.
But it’s that ability to step back and have faith that things will work out that puts less tax on the nerves. There are all sorts of benefits there, one of them being that airport travel does not put you in an enervated state such that you get sick.
The physicality of parenting young kids
For many parts of the trip, I felt like a human donkey, carrying either luggage or kids. Posterior training is important and the isometric holds have helped. Both on the paths in Sedona Arizona and in the Milwaukee airport (where I carried Nora from the terminal to the car (she’s 40 pounds), I felt the benefit of maintaining a good degree of strength.
Here again, it’s the reaction to it. An interior dialogue of this sucks I need to put her down will not cut it. It’s either “I can do this” or you don’t even need to recite any affirmation at all—you just go with the flow and don’t think about it, almost as though your observing yourself in your physical body while you’re required to perform a task. Like your stepping outside yourself and letting it happen.
Posture and willpower – Alan Calvert and Paramahansa Yogananda style
A while ago, I exchanged some emails with a gentleman in Israel who sent me Alan Calvert’s 48th bulletin. Pretty cool stuff. Basically he said that forget the weights, you could get extreme gains by exerting the low level and continuous effort of maintaining good posture and breathing.
Paramahansa Yogananda has a whole sequence of exercises related to this type of energization. It’s an interesting mindset. Calvert writes that people complained: “I’ll have to think about my posture all day long!” Well, yes, he said—you do. But after a while it becomes unconscious. How long? About as long as it takes you to unconsciously drive through a traffic jam.
This type of stuff leads into focus, which has definitely been something on my mind lately. In terms of the nervous system, there is only so much bandwidth. With split attention, you sacrifice quality or efficiency or both. So with anything that is performed, it should be done with the whole mind. Easier said than done, but like the physical exercise, this is another type of training that requires the application of work.
Getting closer to the end…
Calvert had another little thing that I found interesting. He mentioned that he didn’t give people explicit directions – like do this many sets and this many reps with this much rest using these exercises. He gave ideas and let the application of those ideas fall upon the reader to digest.
It’s an interesting mindset in this fast-paced rapid culture we have. Give it to me now! We definitely need to slow down. Part of this post is all about slowing down the interior side of things. Catching the interior monologue and asking why it’s so frenetic and then gently asserting your willpower over it so it slows down and you gain control over your emotions.
Our airplane trip was to Arizona where my wife and I met and used to live. We took the kids there and did an AirBNB which was pretty cool. There is always that variable traveling with a two- and four-year old, but my interior monologue stayed strong and we all had a really good time.
In terms of perspective, when I catch myself talking about how tough it can be with kids, I always wonder about the families who settled the old west of Syrian refuges or anyone with far more challenges. In any case, it’s not necessarily the challenge, it’s the degree of control you maintain over your response to it.