“Falling in Love with the (Tail) Wind…”

By , June 24, 2010 11:59 pm

A few years ago I worked in Rio de Janeiro for several weeks.

I loved it!

At the time my personal life was at an all time low. I was wading through overwhelm and in the process of ending an unhealthy relationship with my Fiancé.

When things get scary I have a natural instinct to run away. I can list many examples of this during my twenty’s and thirties! So I took advantage of my busy schedule and offered to do lots of foreign business travel.

Things didn’t seem as painful when I was thousands of miles away. Experiencing new places like Rio had many exciting distractions to stop me thinking about my broken life back home.

When travelling, I always make time to become a tourist, even if it’s just for a few hours. Rio was no exception. I booked a small tour with the hotel to visit Rio’s main tourist sites such as Christ the Redeemer (this picture) and Sugar Loaf Mountain.

I was the only one on the tour in the afternoon. The tour guide and the driver dropped the others back at the hotel and I was left to dine alone in a restaurant downtown for a 2 hours!

I live in the UK – we’re used to 20 minute ‘lunch’ breaks! What was I going to do for 2 hours on my own?!

So I had plenty of time to people watch and think…

I sat and observed a family having lunch. The husband (very handsome) arrived first with his two young daughters. Next to arrive was his (beautiful) wife. I could tell that they were very much in love. Then others arrived: grand parents, brothers and sisters. There was so much energy and laughter!

Watching this happy family made me feel very lonely. I had time to reflect on my recently failed relationship.

It was then that I had a moment of clarity about my life…

Rather than deal with uncomfortable situations, I avoided them by living out of a suitcase, flying from one country to another, working and briefly touching other people’s lives. Then, flying away again on the next tail wind.

I had requested more travel to escape the current reality of my life. This kept my mind busy all of the time so I could avoid any anxiety or pain. Staying on the go and being busy enabled me to deflect my feelings and stop me thinking.

I’d fly home for a few days, but never long enough to allow me take responsibility for what I needed to do.

Several questions came up for me while I was in the restaurant in Rio:

  • Why can’t I have a life like this wonderful family has?
  • Why am I always running?
  • What is wrong with me?

Then one of my favourite songs came into my head: Falling in Love with the Wind – a beautiful song written and performed by my friend Christine Kane. The lyrics of this song reminded me of my own life:

“That there’s a difference between free
And just pretending not to see
What you have run from…”

I was always on the ‘run’ using external distractions as excuses so that I could avoid having to deal with the uncomfortable things in my life. Physical distance conveniently separated me from my own reality. I realised that my avoidance was building up anxiety and over time this was becoming more and more intense. Therefore the need to distract myself and be ‘busy’ had become greater and greater.

You don’t have to be thousands of miles away from a situation to avoid it.  Any big transition can do this to you because it is easier to avoid taking responsibility for what needs to be done. You believe that avoidance minimizes the dis-comfort. Unwittingly, it often prolongs the situation and the pain for everyone involved.

Watching this family at lunchtime in Rio de Janerio woke me up to my reality.

Sometimes you have to work through the ‘muck’ to get to where you want to be. Avoiding the issue, pretending it’s not there only creates greater unhappiness. You will get to a point where it is impossible to run from it anymore.

That day in the restaurant, I observed other people’s lives feeling envious that this wasn’t my life.

I realized that I am the creator of my own life, and it’s really all down to me.

So I flew home and confronted my discomfort, faced the pain and grief. I worked through it. I took responsibility back.

I wish I could report that it was easy and effortless. It wasn’t.

Today I can look back on this time with gratitude and love because I’m happier than I’ve ever been! Growing through the experience was extremely important for me.

6 Responses to ““Falling in Love with the (Tail) Wind…””

  1. “So I flew home and confronted my discomfort, faced the pain and grief. I worked through it. I took responsibility back.”

    I soooo know what you’re saying here Elaine. It takes a lot of courage to face your demons. I luv this post!

  2. Emily says:

    Great article, Elaine! Sounds a bit familiar :)

    You are awesome, my friend!

  3. Lisa Muller says:

    Elaine, wonderful message. You are incredible! Thanks for your words of wisdom!

  4. Ursula says:

    Beautiful post – I’m right with you! Thanks for sharing your story, my friend!

  5. Lynne says:

    Wonderful article, Elaine – and you’re so, so, so right!

  6. elaine says:

    Joe thanks for this :)

    Emily – Could be a hint of 7 on the Enneagram!

    Lisa, Ursula and Lynne thanks so much for your kind thoughts here.

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