Commusings: Flying High with What’s Genuine by Laurie-Beth RobbinsJun 26, 2021
Hello Commune Community,
Good morning from the flight deck and welcome to Commune Air. Your captain on this puddle jumper is none other than the incomparable LBR, Laurie-Beth Robbins. Today’s voyage takes us north into your mind, which is generally overcast with low visibility. Then we’ll make a 180 down the brain stem and bank a hard left to our final destination in the heartland.
Expect some turbulence, because LBR likes it bumpy — but don’t fret, she always gets us there. There’s no business class or piano lounge, so put your tray table down, get a hot Joe and settle in. We’re all in this together.
In the case of a change in pressure, put your damn oxygen mask on first. You’re no good to anyone if you don’t take care of yourself.
Drop me a line if you need help with your connections at [email protected] or follow my overhead announcements on IG @jeffkrasno.
P.S. If this week's essay inspires you to offer your own story and perspective on life's perennial questions, email us at [email protected] and we may feature you here.
• • •
Flying High with What’s Genuine
by Laurie-Beth Robbins
Airplanes flew in and out of a little airport on the road where I grew up. To me this was majestic!
That the aircraft were merely two- or four-seater private entities taking flight from just a 3,300 foot runway, that my family had only heard of two people in our rural town who actually owned a little plane there, and that I hardly ever visited or even stood anywhere near that airport for any reason, mattered not.
It was exciting to “live near an airport!”
Or that is what I told myself and hence it was true…
The humble home I grew up in cost less than some of those aviation toys, and on sub zero winter nights in that Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, we would wire our cars to the house with a multitude of fluorescent orange extension cords just to make sure the vehicles, sitting out in the snow and frigid cold since we hadn’t any garage, would start in the morning.
But we had four fondue pots and over 2,000 books lining our cozy living room. I counted!
Despite small means, food was a priority in our household, as was literature and love of all walks of people in this world. Republicans, Democrats, and every party in between was packed into our teeny yet effusively hygge home at one point or another, as was a wide gamut of ethnicities, sexual orientations, and religions. From Dave Dellinger of the Chicago Seven to our state’s most archconservative politicos, I met them all and was taught not to judge people.
The most irreverent component of my upbringing, however, was that my mother instilled within me a love of my God-given figure at any weight, stage, or age. This hideous and insidious “body hate” and negative self-talk that tragically plagues too many individuals in our nation today (particularly women) is a script I was never given.
And my mom was heavy!
“Sport mom” or not, she didn’t cover up in any shy or shameful way, nor exude any disdain for her physique. And she was persistent in teaching me not to either.
My mother was a journalist and intent on exercising her mental muscle, after all, and my father adored her in public and in private and told ANYBODY and EVERYBODY who would listen about his “brilliant and sexy baby!”
And so I never learned that having some cellulite on one’s thighs was equivalent to being “less than,” or that a climbing age equated to a deficit in one’s beauty.
Compared to the onslaught of concerns abounding today, I often wonder if I was raised backwards or by wolves. Indeed, everything I’d learned was NOT important would prove to be the most essential points of fixation en masse when I went out into the world.
What a PANIC people professed for the very things I’d been schooled were not genuine!
Truly, WORRY is our most wasted surge of energy. It is a disingenuous costume which we defensively wear and that fearful and fragile suit of “hyper-concern” is also our most threadbare.
We each have the powerful option of choosing what is genuine to us. And when I forget, I remember the contentment of my zaftig mother and refocus on what I want life to be versus what social convention conveys it should be.
• • •
When in my 20’s and taking the written exam to be a pilot, I mused that the questions were entirely about the maps, machinery, and engineering jargon of flight, not about the emotional decomposition too many people embody when buckling into an airplane seat, especially when turbulence ensues and things get “bumpy.”
That I loved both flying and public speaking (the two greatest fears for too many) could have served, I suppose, as yet another indicator that my sensibilities were adroitly misplaced for easy acceptance into this messy multiverse.
Instead, the aforementioned aviatory and oratorical pondering led me on a quest, clumsily for a long while yet serving as an undeniably colorful and highly entertaining journey no less, guiding me to lend an empowering presence to others while still helping to calm them — even when external surroundings shake to high Hell!
For those unstable throngs of commotion known as “turbulence” have no bearing on whether we will arrive at our destination or not.
But we think they do.
Accordingly, we pack up our biggest punch of panic and tote it right along in our bursting-to-the brim carry-on luggage (whether to board the commercial airways or the conceptualized flight of our precious lifespan) and with the misguided ideology that such an emotion will in some way help us.
The shaking of stability, contrary to what we imagined, expected or hoped a route of transport would offer, serves as proof enough to convince us we are doomed. Similarly, when the vicissitudes of our daily lives and bodies do bang about, or when emotional pangs of neediness rise and fall within our psychological systems while we scroll up and down our feeds, we are under the inherent illusion that such is the real danger.
Here too, each bounce and tussle is a mere mirage, a sideshow flapping with the capacity to ruin our mood if we let it, or to catapult us into cataclysmic catalepsy should we choose that over dramatic option.
I ask you now — what is GENUINE?
Does the inundation of influencers, advertisements, apps, and “attitude” lent and bent from an era that is committed deeply to devoting time and energy to being revered on Facebook and Instagram really speak to our success and daily survival?
How about the habitual and tragic reflex today of engaging vehemently in divisiveness and the vicious tearing of each other apart and/or “throwing out” human beings who feel differently than we (vis-à-vis voting, eating choices, or even Covid-19 personal precautionary decisions)?
These “externals” are all simply sheets of wallpaper serving as the temporary background of our magnificent and ethereal lives that we are here to live and to love living!
When we understand that the genuine factor determining our smooth arrival in this world is contained within (whether inside a structure like an airplane getting us from point A to point B or a masterful dwelling like we intricate and complex creatures), we can sit back, relax, and enjoy the entertaining and occasionally adrenaline-inducing scenery that surrounds us without becoming fearful and weak because of it.
Yes! Can we BE the strength and joy that we hope trickles contagiously through the aisles we walk in this world and with the hope to help others smell it, lather in it, and embody it because THIS is a genuine ability inside of us all?!
Oddly there are numerous accidents and crashes of tiny private planes due to the pilots struggling to close a door that accidentally popped ajar a bit mid flight instead of he or she continuing to FLY THE PLANE.
We, too, hastily and with reactionary reach, can derail ourselves when we negate what our genuine raison d’être is, and we conversely allow any distraction or seemingly negative influence to creep in and convince us that it merits our immediate focus when it so often requires none.
Fly the plane.
Drive the car.
Deliver the speech.
Cook the meal. And for God’s sake, ENJOY the meal!
May we do what we set out to do. May we give, live, love and not miss the genuine moment of delivering a blessing to this awe inspiring universe merely because of some burnt food or a door that’s wedged open or someone’s cell phone going off while we deliver a keynote address or whatever it be!
Fly the plane anyway! That is the most genuine and real part of our journey.
• • •
Moving along to an entirely different metaphor for a moment, I like to think of life as being analogous to peeling eggs. Not hard-boiled eggs mind you, as anybody can peel those, but soft- to medium-boiled eggs can be trickier to clean and yet provide a genuine mirror that reveals how we dance with life.
Here the old expression, “How we do one thing is how we do everything” holds merit.
Sometimes, when peeling undercooked and thus limp eggs, it is relatively easy to quickly grasp that thin membrane and smoothly shuck off the shell without one dent or mishap of any kind.
Other times? Not so much.
Observing human behavior becomes downright fascinating when we mortals are standing in front of a pan full of ice cubes and eggs and cursing out orbits and galaxies beyond our solar system due to a heap of pockmarked and dotted, ripped, gunky, dripping, and just horribly “ruined” eggs.
Again, what is GENUINE here?!
Can we not “eat our mistake” and go make a better one?
Yes, taste the sunshiny yellow-orange hues and count your damn blessings that you get a gooey treat!
To find the joy in that mound of mess is what’s genuine. To make it more than it is and to continue to berate ourselves once at the table eating an entirely new package of boiled eggs even while speaking ad nauseam about how annoying it all inherently was, is a moot point, a waste of time, and a tragic use of our sacred energy.
Life works like that too!
If we are committed to what is genuine, not only do we navigate situations more lucidly and attract like minded genuine people into our lives, but we also have an easier time articulating and establishing healthy boundaries to withstand the disingenuous circumstances closing in from the dark corners of our culture.
Whether hurtful things happened to us or hurtful people interfaced with us does not strip us of our capability to continue forth happily in this world and to our destination and destiny with love and unwavering determination to be our genuine best!
Nor does a numerical size in our jeans equate inversely to our potential to manifest in this world what we came here to do!
Moreover, when we turn within during each and every moment of frustration, and understand that we are what’s genuine and real and the existing externals haven’t any power unless we give them such fuel, then we bravely do relink to the resourceful and resilient side of ourselves we each possess and should be quite proud of.
I cannot promise that there won’t be bumps along your journey, but I can assure you of three things…
The journey is much shorter than you assume.
The bumps don’t matter.
You can handle them.
Or as another old adage states well, “The bad news is that time flies. The good news is that you’re the pilot.”
• • •
Laurie-Beth Robbins (“LBR”) is a writer, speaker, former adjunct college professor of speech and mass communications and an eternal optimist who gets individuals excited about life. Also a chef of exotic healthful cuisine, a wine connoisseur, and a “Taken” survivor who just by a hair escaped the diabolical snares of international sex slavery and trafficking abroad, LBR raises a contagiously swirling and splashing big goblet of gratitude in every room she enters and peppers people with the reminder that “everything is going to be alright.” Contact LBR at, [email protected]
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