A Fear of Flying: A Lesson in Letting Go

I just returned from a week’s vacation to the Big Apple with my oldest daughter Mackenzie. She is a bright, compassionate and beautiful 20-year-old woman. And she is terrified of flying.

Kenzie hasn’t wanted to look from where this fear of flying stems. Although, we’re both pretty sure it began in an instant when she was seven. Her dad had taken her and her little sis to a local town fair. I wasn’t with them, but from the stories that the three shared, what happened while there was a pretty harrowing experience.

At that time, Kenzie was a climber and a little bit of an adventurer. She loved traveling and flying. So when seeing a bungee ride at the fair, she had to do it. From what I understand, Mackenzie climbed up onto a big trampoline and had a harness put around her waist. A bungee cord was hooked to each side of the harness. I’m sure you’ve seen this kind of ride at festivals or fairs. The kids love them! Usually an attendant will pull on the child’s feet and suddenly they go flying into the air. They come down and touch the trampoline and go up again. And that’s exactly what Kenzie did…until one of the bungees snapped.

Like a slingshot, Kenzie was slung through the air and wrapped around a pole like a tetherball. Her daddy said she hung there as if she were a ragdoll, thankfully physically unscathed, but emotionally in shock.

Ever since that day at the fair, Kenzie has hated flying. She is afraid of losing control and falling. So I know that when it’s time to travel with her, I have to stay really grounded. I haven’t been afraid of flying in years. I worked through those fears a long time ago. I had to reevaluate my fears, however, while on the first leg of our journey last week for our vacation to New York City.

We had just gotten up in the air when our plane hit an air pocket. I’m not talking about a little turbulence. I’m talking about where the plane drops and people are screaming and items are flying. Thankfully, everyone on the small plane was still fastened into his or her seatbelt, or else there might have been some major injuries. Physically, everyone was okay. Emotionally, I’m not sure about the rest of the folks on the plane, but the death grip Mackenzie had on the handrail of the seat said that she was a wreck.

For the rest of the flight and into the next, Kenzie held her breath. I could literally feel her fear. And before I knew it, I felt consumed with fear, too.

I had to look at myself and ask, “Is this my fear?” I knew the answer was no. Of course when the plane dropped I was fearful. That’s normal. But because I know being afraid of flying ISN’T my truth, I made a decision to continually drain Kenzie’s fear off of me. It took awhile, but before long I was centered and back to trusting the fact that I can’t control this kind of situation, and the best thing I can do is to let go and trust God and the universe.

As I reflect on this situation with Mackenzie, I am reminded of how emotional chaos not only affects us as individuals, but also the people around us. Right now, Mackenzie chooses not to heal the pain of the past. She’s not mentally ready for this. There’s nothing I can do to force her to heal. All I can do is to stay emotionally clear and grounded. And that’s the gift in this.

We can’t force people along their paths. After all, this is THEIR path, not ours. But we do have a choice as to how we engage in it. As we get grounded in our truths and use tools to release other people’s emotional chaos from our lives, we become a light for them to heal, too. And that’s all we can do.

This is letting go. We can’t control whether a plane hits a massive air pocket. Nor can we control the paths our kids take. All we can do is release the controls and let go, being an example for them to do the same.


Thoughts for Your Journey 

  1. In what areas are you trying to control things in your life?
  2. What fears stop you from letting go?

Please share your thoughts with us below in the comment section.

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If you’re ready to release the emotional chaos from your life and be a grounding cord for your family, check out my book, The Enlightened Book, and its 25 companion meditations. How you handle life’s difficult situations will change forever! Click here to learn more!

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