I was on a 14 hour plane ride last week and it had what I considered a scary amount of turbulence.
As the plane jolted up, down and all around, scenes flashed in my brain of our plane plummeting down in huge orange flames, grown ass men crying out for their moms, hand luggage flying everywhere, and flight attendants looking helpless and terrified. The cabin lights would flicker on and off, oxygen masks would drop, babies would be screaming, people would be thrown from seat to aisle, alarms would sound – it would be a fucking nightmare.
I kept having to pull myself back to reality, reminding myself that I am not afraid of flying, that we are not crashing, that flying is safer than driving, that turbulence happens on every flight and that I need to get a grip and relax.
I tried breathing deeply. I tried watching a movie. I tried sleeping. But I was so on edge that I couldn’t focus on anything except for the fact that aviation makes no sense to me and I need to take an active part in learning more about it because riding in an enclosed 575 ton capsule at 36,000 feet in the air is totally counter intuitive, but yet it happens everyday and everyone seems to be 100% fine and dandy with it.
How is everyone dandy with this and why aren’t we falling out of the fucking sky at this very moment?
As I sat in my seat, eyes closed, breathing in and out, trying to stave off a full blown panic attack, I was surprised by my emotions. I have flown to Asia every year for the past 8 years and I’ve never experienced this amount of fear and anxiety over some turbulence.
I sat with that information and pondered until it hit me.
Long haul flights aren’t brand new to me. Not drinking on long haul flights is brand spankin’ new. The reality that I no longer drank bitch slapped me across the face and it stung. Badly.
Before I quit drinking, I would prepare for long ass flights by being a little hungover, followed by two glasses of wine in the air and then two sleeping pills. I would wait as long as I could to pass out and then I would slip into my slumber and enjoy a stress free flight.
The combination of being hungover, buzzed and sedated was the perfect combination to put me to sleep for at least 6 hours without waking up once, and avoiding panic attacks and orange flame death scenes to boot.
Even when heavy turbulence hit, I’d be lulled to sleep by the bumps and peacefully transported back to my childhood when I would fall asleep in the backseat of my mom’s grey Ford Tempo during the bumpy ride home on the long dirt road that led to our house.
I’m not saying that purposely giving yourself a hangover, slamming down some cheap wine and then topping it off with sleeping pills is a stellar plan. I’m saying that this combination made flying a fuck of a lot easier and stress free.
Without being numbed out, I was a hot mess on that plane, and I for one, did not know this about myself.
Here I thought flying for a 14 hour stretch was no biggie.
I wasn’t tempted to order a drink. Instead, I took note and felt humbled by the fact that I am still in the process of waking up to my life and experiencing things that I haven’t experienced for a long time without alcohol.
From my personal experience and from the experience of my clients, here’s what I’ve learned about making commitments to oneself:
You will be tested along the way.
Making a commitment to change a pattern, a behavior or a habit that has been with us for a long time is hard, even under ideal circumstances. When the circumstances are less than ideal, it’s even harder.
If you make the commitment to not eat sugar, at some point you will find yourself at a birthday party with your favorite cake and ice cream staring up at you, seducing you to grab a fork and dig in.
If you make the commitment to stop eating convenience foods, at some point you will find yourself with exactly two minutes to throw breakfast together when there’s a drive through right on your way to work.
If you make the commitment to eat a Whole Food Plant Based diet, at some point you will find yourself wondering what the hell to do when your meat eating house guests arrive.
If you make the commitment to stop drinking, you might just find yourself in an airplane with lots of turbulence, a panic attack setting in, and knowing that feeling totally peaceful, calm and lulled to sleep are only two glasses of wine away.
When you have an obstacle or challenge in front of you that would magically become easier if you broke your commitment, THAT is when shit gets real.
This is when you have to step back, take a breath and make the conscious choice to stay true to that commitment. Or not.
If you really want the outcome and the results of sticking to it, you will. It’s not always easy; it’s not always comfortable; it’s not always peaceful.
But if you can ride out the challenging moments long enough to learn something from them and arrive on the other side without breaking your commitment, the feeling you’re left with will surpass any temporary feeling of pleasure or satisfaction that you’d get from breaking your commitment.
And if you decide that the commitment you made to yourself isn’t working right now, there’s not a damn thing wrong with dropping it and moving on. Just make sure that the reason for dropping it extends beyond inconvenience or being hard in the moment.
Change is hard but then it gets easier. And then it gets hard again, and then it gets easier. And this pattern will continue until it levels off and it will be easier more often than not.
Today’s recipe is yummy yum to the umpteenth degree.
Whole Food Plant Based Curry Tofu with Farro and Broccoli
Whole-Food Plant-Based Curry Tofu with Farro and Broccoli
- broccoli (steamed)
- farro (cooked)
- 1 box firm tofu
- sesame seeds for garnish
- coconut aminos for garnish
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 garlic cloves grated
Extract as much liquid out of the tofu as possible. There are lots of ways to do this, but I put the tofu in a pie pan, stack 6 or so plates on top of it and leave it for 30 minutes.
Make the marinade by adding all of the marinade ingredients to a mixing bowl and mixing with a whisk. Set aside for now.
Cut the tofu into strips, place them in the marinade and allow them to marinate for 30 minutes (no need to put this in the fridge).
Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C)
Pour the marinade out of the bowl and place it in a container to use another time.
Place the tofu strips in a single row on a parchment covered baking sheet.
Bake for 25 minutes and then flip each strip of tofu and bake for an additional 20 minutes.
While the tofu is baking, steam some broccoli and cook the farro.
To serve, place a portion of the broccoli on a plate and top with sesame seeds and coconut aminos. Place some farro next to the broccoli and then add some baked tofu to finish it off.
I hope that you have a happy week. May it be filled with zero panic attacks.