I was in a head-on car crash a week ago. Totaled my car and probably the other one. I don’t know if it’s just me but my immediate reaction is that it’s not a big deal. I was in a car crash. The car was smashed up and I walked away from it so let’s not make a big deal about it. Thoughts from a relationship coach? Anybody? Life goes on?
Out of the sky.
Three years ago this week I survived an airplane crash. My airplane, me flying, lost an engine at 400 ft on takeoff and I somehow righted the airplane from a spin and drove it into the ground. The airplane was totaled and I walked away intact. Well not quite intact. The aftermath of that crash still rumbles around in my psyche – part of me stayed in that airplane for a long, long time – maybe still. I thought I was dead as the airplane plummeted and when I wasn’t . . . well, I guess maybe part of me was.
How great was the impact?
This car crash brought back those thoughts and emotions with a vengeance. The moment of impact was so similar – the difference this time was I didn’t move in slow motion and think, “So this is how I die – hmmm. In an airplane crash, how interesting.” Instead in this crash, the impact was swift and then the car filled with the smoke from the airbag. But I didn’t realize it was the airbag. I thought the car was on fire. The battery was damaged so the electric windows and door locks didn’t work and for a few seconds, I was dominated by the fear of burning alive.
Just when I thought I should kick out the window, I realized I could manually unlock the door. And when I did the rush of fresh air filling the car sent waves of relief and release through my veins as I realized I would survive, I wouldn’t burn. Instead, I stepped back in that familiar place climbing out of the airplane cockpit. My life had suddenly changed completely. Again. Within a couple of hours, the tears would rush over me just as they did so many times after the airplane crash.
Why me and what now?
The questions from the airplane crash were many and the same ones came back. Why did I survive? Am I supposed to do something in particular, given this second chance? What kind of life am I living? What are the choices I have made and am I at peace with those choices? Am I happy? Am I doing fulfilling things in my life? Do I show kindness to others? Who is in my life that I want to share these questions with? Who are my friends? Do they represent the values of compassion and kindness I think is important? How do they treat people? How do I treat people? What is important? Is it my family? Or could it be my business? Maybe it is my house? Then again what about my neighbors? My possessions, cars, boats, computers, cameras, yoga mat, silverware?
What do I really want to do with the rest of my life – regardless of how short or long it is? When I boil down all the questions, at the heart of it all is this: Am I living a life of meaning?
Am I the Relationship Coach?
I think I am. I am trying my best and hope I don’t have to go through another crash of any kind to dedicate my life daily to the important questions, actions, and lifestyle where living a life of meaning is the main focus and not a philosophical afterthought. And being kind, caring and loving to others – everyone I come in contact with is the beginning of living a life of meaning. For me, the relationship coach perspective I am seeking to inspire others with – this is what is important. I hope to do it most days. Knowing this, if I talk about it out loud and write about it and if I slow down and think about it every morning, maybe I will do it more of the time. I am committed and dedicated to trying.
NOW seems really, really important. My lover Suzanne said years ago on her death bed – “Pay Attention”. She truly was the relationship coach in my life!
This time one message is abundantly clear to me – Slow Down. Slow down in every area of my life and Pay Attention.
Most of all, I’m trying. Are you?