Input (restorative): In flight; slivered moon

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Prior to flying out of Dulles in Washington, DC

Friday, February 16, 2018

I am not a great flyer. In fact, I can be quite anxious about flying. I don't fly often, but I have learned various ways to manage/not join my anxiety when in an airplane at 30,000+ feet. Sudoku puzzles help me a great deal, and I had one close-at-hand as we settled into our seats for my first trans-Atlantic flight.

With all of the data in front of me about our soon-to-be-flight, something in me shifted from anxiety to joining this great adventure. Recently I have been realizing that the work I have been doing on my own behalf all these years may in fact really have changed my neural pathways, just as neuroscience is telling us. More on that at another time. The point here is that I was not anxious. I was present and ready to be where I was: on an airplane in flight.

Our flight was through the night. So after they served us our late meal, the plane lights were dimmed and we were "put to bed" to have our "airplane sleep," as someone described it to me. I rested in 30-45 minute blocks of time, waking to rearrange myself, drink a little water, and drowse back off.

Sometime late in the night, in some time zone well east of the US and miles above the north Atlantic Ocean, I woke. The plane was silent with its sleepers and device-watchers here-and-there. As I looked out of the window by my seat, I saw a sliver of a moon hanging in a familiar way in the distant sky. I smiled at what a lovely jewel I was seeing. I felt closer to the moon than ever and simultaneously further than ever from all that I know.

Here was this constant object - the moon - holding me in place while I was being catapulted through the sky to a foreign country.

We all share the moon. We all know the moon and its phases. The moon that we see in the US is the same as the one in the UK. We are all on one world. We may have different languages, traditions, governments, but we are connected by the natural world and its wonders.

I appreciated that waning crescent moon that night. I appreciated the way it connected me to the familiar in the midst of the strange. And I appreciated that my mindful presence allowed me to take all of this in.

Today as I write this blog, I Googled what was the moon's stage that night, and here is what it says:

Friday, January 12, 2018
Waning Crescent
Illumination: 18%

On this day the Moon was in a Waning Crescent phase. In this phase the Moon’s illumination is growing smaller each day until the New Moon. During this phase the Moon is getting closer to the Sun as viewed from Earth and the night side of the Moon is facing the Earth with only a small edge of the Moon being illuminated. This phase is best viewed an hour or 2 before the sunrise and can be quite beautiful if you're willing to get up early. It can also be a great time to see the features of the Moon's surface. Along the edge where the illuminated portion meets the dark side, the craters and mountains cast long shadows making them easier to observe with a telescope or binoculars.

What stage is the moon in tonight? Will I get to see it and appreciate it?

Wherever you may be on our Earth, it is good to remember that we all share this same, precious moon and the experience of its presence.

Next: "shapeless without technique"


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