In France this past summer, I experienced flying in an two person airplane. When my family friend invited me up, I said “yes” without hesitation, but knew I was going to have to face my fears since I’m claustrophobic.
Facing my fears was something I was going through in my own personal life. After a break up with a life partner and living in France in which I struggled communicating, I had a weight in my gut every morning that I didn’t know how to get rid of. These insecurities slowly tore away at me. I felt beholden to my own fears.
That morning of the plane ride, I woke up and said “No fear today.” The airplane was tiny. My left hip touched his, and my right touched the wall of the plane. Because I had a joystick (as well as Pierre), he told me that I could fly the plane if I wanted. But, that was too much for me. I just wanted to see the mountains from a new perspective, and be present in the moment.
That day I practiced mindfulness through meditation. Like being mindful in yoga poses, I brought an awareness to the present moment without allowing fear to get in the way. I couldn’t believe how free I felt. For the first time in the three months while I was in France, I felt weightless. I had no insecurities, only vibrant energy. This stuck with me and was the most fantastic experience of my trip.
Back in Portland, working on these paintings helped me remember how strong mindfulness can be. Especially during the process of developing another very personal body of work in which I carried a huge weight. You can read about it here.