The year was 1980 and I was heading to Disney World with a good friend. We both were so excited not just about heading to “the happiest place on earth”, but also to be flying for the first time. What a feeling when the plane took off and upon its landing! I totally enjoyed the flying experience, whereas my friend, not so much!
Many years and many flights later since that first trip, I have witnessed many passengers with a fear of flying. My friend is not alone. The reasons are varied. Some have a fear of heights, some fear a crash, some are afraid of being in closed spaces. Feelings of being trapped and not in control! Regardless of the reason, anxiety is the resulting problem. An article, “How Can I Overcome My Fear of Flying?” by Martin N. Seif, PhD, ABPP from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America states: “The common denominator for more than 90 percent of flight phobics is the fear that they will become overwhelmed with anxiety during the flight.”
This leads me to describe my recent experience, this time flying home from Disney World with one of my dearest friends. We were sitting 3 in a row, the usual tight quarters. Sitting by the window was a gentleman who had extremely long legs and was excusing himself frequently. My friend and I assumed he was uncomfortable due to limited leg room. So, we offered him the aisle seat. I struck up a conversation with him and found that it was not his legs causing the problem. It was his fear of flying!
“Are you telling me you are not afraid of flying?” said Andres.
“No, I enjoy flying. Hey, would you like to try something? I designed a product that helps to calm fears and anxieties and I have it with me!”
I described E.S.C.A.P.E PATH® and how he could trace the path with his eyes open or closed. He could even focus on the motivational prompts and repeat them, as he continued to use slow, rhythmic breathing. One of the photo scenes I had with me was just perfect for him: “I Can Do It, Just Watch Me”, with motivational prompts “Courage”, “I am Brave”, “I am Determined”, “Stay Focused”. He used E.S.C.A.P.E. PATH® for about 10 minutes and shared that he felt much more relaxed.
When Andres finished using the finger labyrinth E.S.C.A.P.E. PATH®, a gentleman across from him on the aisle tapped him on the shoulder and said, “Hey buddy, what do you have there? I am afraid of flying too!” And so E.S.C.A.P.E. PATH® was passed around with positive results at helping to calm the anxiety of flying!
For the remainder of the flight, Andres and I talked about everything! He shared some very personal information about problems he experienced in his youth and his marriage and children. Our conversation was very open about life struggles and personal goals.
Upon landing we hugged and he thanked me for such an enjoyable flight and sharing such a great product with him. It is doubtful that our paths will cross again, but I will always remember the warm, personal exchange between two persons from such different places.
The power of the labyrinth!
For more information about the E.S.C.A.P.E. PATH®: www.escapepathllc.com
For more information about labyrinths: www.labyrinthsociety.org