I spent ten years of my youth in Toronto and a couple of years in my 30's living just outside of it, commuting into the city for work and play, and I find great comfort there.
Lots of people do not like the place but I still love Toronto with all of my heart. It no longer feels like home but rather like an old friend I can return to who will take me in and entertain me for as long as I wish to stay.
I will also spend a few days in Port Hope, a little town about an hour east of TO. That's where I lived for two and a half years after leaving Montreal and before moving back to the Yukon. My mother's family lives there and I still have close friends in the region. It, too, will be a homecoming of sorts, and I am looking forward to re-connecting with folks.
Travel, as I have mentioned before on this blog, can be an anxiety-inducing experience. The loss of routine is challenging. We're out of our comfort-zone, we have to rely on other people, we have to get inside large metal tubes that fly through the sky. My prayer life becomes very rich when I travel!
I once wrote an article about walking through fear and in it I described my experience of being on an airplane and being terrified to die. My only recourse was total surrender. I let go of my life. I accepted that it was time for me to go. I said good-bye to all I knew and loved (sobbing as quietly as I could so as not to alarm the person beside me) and I actually grieved my own death.
It was a life-altering experience.
What was most amazing is that out of this came a desire to be of use. As my fear fell away I found myself asking for the courage to help someone else. The removal of my self-centred terror brought a genuine willingness to be of service.
To know that I could take action against fear by serving the greater good of my fellow passengers was a revelation. That sense of purpose I discovered, and not just on planes but in everyday life, can truly free us of our fear.
Of course, we didn't crash and I've since been on dozens of other flights. But the experience has stayed with me and whenever I'm on a flight and get scared we're not going to make it I re-visit this healing process. It works on the ground, too!
Today's Inspiring Message of the Day was sent to me by a friend. It's lovely.
“…When you travel
A new silence
Goes with you,
And if you listen,
You will hear
What your heart would
Love to say.”
“…A journey can become a sacred thing:
Make sure, before you go,
To take the time
To bless your going forth,
To free your heart of ballast
So that the compass of your soul
Might direct you toward
The territories of spirit
Where you will discover
More of your hidden life,
And the urgencies
That deserve to claim you.”
~ excerpt from John O’Donohue's “For the Traveler”