Archive for October 2009

Glastonbury or Initiation by Fire

October 2, 2009

The week before I left for Glastonbury, I had a meditation where I saw a medieval chain mail glove, a gauntlet, drop to the ground. I knew this meant I was being offered a challenge, but I had no idea what that challenge would be.

I had written an article about this trip for Four Corners magazine and wanted to go. It was being billed as a sacred journey to the heart. I wanted to open my heart more and find whatever was on this journey for me.

The day we were leaving I felt odd — nauseous all day. I’ve had a lifelong fear of flying and had recently conquered it — or so I thought. I upgraded my seat on the plane. I had this big, roomy chair, but couldn’t get comfortable. I was in the 15th row. Thankfully, the emergency exit was right behind me.

As I sat in the cabin listening to peeps chat around me, I began to smell something. It smelled like jet fuel. It started to give me a headache. Then people in the cabin behind me started coughing and then choking. I felt all the hair on my body stand on end. I knew with every fiber of my Being that something wasn’t right. It wasn’t safe to be on this plane.

People with small children brought them to stand in the row behind me because the kids could breathe there. I heard people in the cabin behind me tell the flight attendant to open the doors. She told them everything was fine. “It’s not safe to open the doors,” she said.

“It’s not safe to be in here,” came the reply.

People began to yell for the doors to be opened. The passengers in the rear were starting to panic.

Grown men were freaking out. Coach passengers were holding pillows and blankets over their noses and mouths as their eyes, nostrils and throats burned.

Finally, someone yelled, “Fire!” and the captain gave the command to open the doors and deploy the slides.

I was incredibly calm. It was as if something else took over. I knew I just had to get off the plane and everything would be okay.

The flight attendants were yelling for people to leave their bags and eject. It was so surreal. I got into the line of people heading for the emergency exit. People were pushing and shoving, it occurred to me if that didn’t stop there would be a stampede.

I was pushed into the woman in front of me. She turned around and yelled, “Don’t push!”

“Okay,” I responded, but I said it so calmly that she looked surprised. She knew it wasn’t me who had been pushing.

There was a whole line of people still pushing and shoving, but I only saw two people go down the slide before it was my turn.

I looked down the slide. Yep, that big ass yellow slide that you’ve seen on the news. You never think it’s YOU who’s going to go down it. At least I never did.

Let me tell you, that slide is pretty high off the ground. Still, there was no fear and no hesitation. The flight attendant yelled, “Jump!” And I did.

I hit the ground hard, there was no one there to catch me, and ran away from the plane. I made it down with just a skinned elbow and found the rest of my group.

I stood with my friends on the runway in the path of the oncoming emergency vehicles and other planes taking off. It was 105 degrees on the tarmac. We stood in that Phoenix heat for 45 minutes. British Airways had no idea what to do with us.

Looking at the jet, I said to my friend, “I am not getting back on that plane.”

“Neither am I,” she said.

I was glad to be safe and on the ground. Three-hundred-fifty passengers exited that plane and all were safe. Definitely something to be joyful about.

I’d like to tell you I was eager to get on another transatlantic flight, but that just isn’t true. And a story for another blog…