Lighting the Way

The page turned in Paris on Friday the 13th. In an overt and as yet un-acknowledged way; the way we all want everything to be the same — when it’s not.

Given the state of affairs, the threats we face globally, our inherent responses which spiral around our freedom, the constant mantras that ensue, there are things to reconsider.

Those mantras will continue; whether born of defiance or the emptiness of sorrow, whether politically positioned or heartfully dreamed of; you cannot put down Spirit and its nature — that nature which loves to explore, to discover, to open and experience MORE of life, not less.

The outcome in the tumult? A temporary but visceral need to be alert, to honor personal awareness with the reality of shifting sands at hand, and to carve life out from that awareness.

This isn’t a fear place — but as well, it is not a denial place. It’s a ‘new edge’ to work with, that has all of us, across the globe, in new considerations about each and every future endeavor: it’s about a heightened discernment.

Personally, I have the 13 day/13 night tour scheduled and booked in the south of France for this coming Spring. And I’ve had to look at that, given what has torn open with PARIS.

I’ve been kind of amazed to watch the travel industry continue as is, to the external eye.

I jumped on a TGV from Brittany to Aeroport CDG/Roissy, well aware of the attempted attack a month earlier, and equally aware there was no overt change in security measures to assure the travelers. Yes; SNCF (French rail system) checked every ticket at each train car entrance, but getting a train ticket? Is like getting a glass of water.

I flew from CDG 12 days after PARIS. I could only hope that behind the scenes of normalcy, and it was normal as ever, they were working overtime because I saw no change there. No additional guards, stations, searches — nothing to ‘show’ a heightened state of security at one of the most traveled airports in the world.

I can say that the systems were showing their wear. I still have to write Air France/Delta and tell them my experience. I booked/paid for my ticket on the 9th of October, prior to PARIS. I called in on the 14th to check seat assignments.

My ticket had been cancelled by some system error. Those were her words. That ticket took hours to find and correct. But I was alerted to something that had not ever happened before in all my years of traveling ~ I was lost in the airline industry system.

So two days later, I checked again, ostensibly to request a special meal — which I did. They couldn’t find my ticket. We began the same process all over again and I was assured everything was in order.

Except it wasn’t.

Six times — count them — six times in nine days, from the 14th until my final leg home, I was recurringly lost in the system.

This included checking in at CDG. Three times, the special meal had been requested and confirmed. Three times lost — and unavailable.

This included receiving my boarding pass at CDG for the final leg which was in the USA from Seattle to Portland. I went to hand her the boarding pass at the gate, 30 minutes before boarding, and my name was not in the system.

Seven minutes before the doors closed, the big dogs (brains) who get called in to the counter, had to bypass the system to get me on the plane.

There are some things to work out.

I was IN France, though not PARIS, on the 13th. I was comfortably tucked on the coast of Normandy.

The culture was paralyzed and shocked. You could hear a pin drop for the next three days — traffic evaporated. People stayed home, glued to their media sources.

But what happened in PARIS happened within the borders of the country; not just Paris. And globally, it hit systemically. Phone lines were constantly jumbled, internet went down over and over. There was — and is — a behind-the-scenes scrambling.

And although so many of us just want to push the re-set button and carry on as if nothing has changed, and although many are doing just that, I’m uncomfortable with navigating through and with a system that is not at full functionality.

The gaps in the systems that no one is talking about, the new vulnerabilities of security in the air, on the trains — everywhere, actually — are co-existing in the travel industry with ‘all systems normal’.

Business has everyone continuing as if nothing has changed.
But everything has.

So that, combined with my need to fulfill the responsibility given, of a deeply rich and successful time and tour without shadow, has me moving the scheduled/reserved tour to a time that feels settled and secure: 10-22 October.

Time to exhale that sigh of relief.