I have always had a fear of heights—or as someone once corrected me, a fear of falling. For the longest time, I have tried to overcome this fear; to convince myself that I would not fall so long as I held on tight, to reprimand my legs for becoming shaky and weak.
Mind over matter, they say, mind over matter.
Last week, as I soared across the Atlantic Ocean in what always feels like an aluminum can with wings, I began to sky dance. Given my fear of falling and my tendency to catastrophize pretty much any situation, you can imagine that turbulence and 30,000 feet of nothing beneath me is not an ideal combination. Surely, logical reasoning helps some, but sky dancing does wonders more.
Whenever I share my practice of sky dancing with others, I am usually met with laughter and a mild look of absurdity. And honestly, it is quite silly. It is also effective and allows me to travel by air when there are no other sensible or efficient means (whenever possible, I prefer to travel by land).
Essentially, sky dancing is when I play a song through my earbuds that my inner dancer cannot resist. Sometimes I close my eyes, sometimes my hips and shoulders subtly shift from side to side. Oftentimes, turbulence causes my body to stiffen and my hands to grip the arms of my seat. But as I sky dance, I invite my body to relax into the movement of the plane, as if we are dancing as one. This, coupled with the logic I feed my brain, makes turbulence feel like more of a disco party than a death threat. And lucky for me, most airlines now allow the use of music players set to airplane mode during takeoff and landing.
While I have an entire playlist on my phone dedicated to sky dancing, there is one song that always gets me through: “La Mordidita” by Ricky Martin (I have been a proud and dedicated fan since I was a young teenager).
What song would you sky dance to?