Planes, trains, and oxygen masks
We all know how it’s suppose to work, “in the event of an emergency, oxygen masks will drop from the overhead compartment, please place the mask on yourself, then the person next to you.”
Ok great, where is my overhead compartment, or oxygen mask, and what constitutes an emergency. The rules are much simpler are on actual aircraft, not so cut and dry with your feet on the ground, even if your head is in the clouds.
People use this analogy all the time when it comes to self care and self love, but I can guarandamntee you that I, or any other mother, would ever truly put the mask on herself before her child in reality.
Have you ever been the passenger in a mother driven vehicle that comes to a sudden stop? Yep, one arm has an automatic reflex to outstretch and prevent the passenger from flying through the front windshield.
And I’m quite sure an oxygen mask doesn’t deploy from the kitchen cabinets on a school morning when the bus is on its way and lunches have to be made and someone forgot to buy milk. Again.
On an aircraft someone else has the authority to push a button and, bam, oxygen mask. But I’m quite sure my neighbor doesn’t have one of those buttons as I ask for a jumpstart for my dead battery because someone left the light on in the back of the minivan after a late night soccer practice!
And I don’t think it’s polite to ask for your father in law’s actual oxygen mask as you drive him to the doctor for therapy from the stroke he had after working for 60 years in a coal mine. Or would it?
At what point do we know we have experienced a shift in altitude, and we have to change course to avoid more turbulence? How do you inform your loved ones the cabin is filling with smoke from a blown engine, and an emergency landing is necessary? Or do you see just how far you can fly until you run out of fuel, because you definitely can’t make it back to your departure location? We all should have someone in air traffic control to notify us that the radar indicates we are about to collide into another jumbo jet, and that someone, lots of someone’s frankly, our control tower, is our tribe, who should love us enough to send an SOS and push the button to deploy our oxygen mask.
We push each other toward success, motivation and achievement, but let’s arrive at our destination safely. Even if that means it takes a little longer due to a layover for repairs or maintenance. Do encourage, uplift, and help your tribe, but first, do them no harm.
Arianna Huffington, a woman of profound achievement and accolades recently pushed this exact agenda in her last book, Thrive, where she learned the way we all usually tend to, the hard way, just how detrimental lack of self care is to our achievements, and that mainly, lack of rest and sleep, will be our definite derailment from success. We want to do and have it all, but even the seemingly unstoppable have limits.
This is even a biblical principal. In the book of John, it says, “therefore, be well balanced, for your adversary, the devil, roams around like a lion seeking whom he may devour.” Notice the way to avoid harm is by achieving balance. One of my favorite stories is the one of the prophets, Elishia, who in one day, slaughtered 400 Bael prophets only to be terrified and on the run from a , get this, a woman, named Jezebel, the next day. He finally ran into the desert, was all alone under a a juniper tree, ready to die, when an angel came and told him to take a nap, fixed him a meal, made him take another nap, fed him again, and he was good to go.
So be someone’s angel. Look for your friend that is frazzled, exhausted, at wits end, and give her a break. Send her to the spa and get her kids to help you clean up her house. Take her to dinner so she doesn’t have to think about cooking or doing dishes. If you are at the store, call and see if she needs anything. We may be to proud, embarrassed or uncomfortable to ask for help, so don’t be any of those when it comes to offering help. Deploy her oxygen mask, be her oxygen, give her a chance to land that plane safely. Then be careful when opening the overhead compartment, as some of your items may have shifted during flight, which is a whole new lesson in itself.