On Monday, September 19, 2016 David and I could have died. Awareness of that has changed my perspective on so many things…. on everything actually! But the truth is, everyday could be our last, we just don’t have that conscience awareness on a daily basis like David and I did this past Monday. And not having that “in your face” reminder means we (people in general) often don’t live life to the fullest or a purpose-driven life on a daily basis, because we expect there to always be tomorrow.
On Monday morning we woke up in Salt Lake City, UT having just attended our 5th dōTERRA convention - the best one yet! After 8 very exciting and packed days, I was excited to get home and get busy sharing everything I had just learned with everyone I know because I am on a mission to change lives! From the amazing new essential oils to the oil infused products, to the research I heard, and the knowledge that we have amazing tools to support people on their journey to be well and live life to the fullest, I was really excited! But even more than that, I had a much deeper understanding that David and I are a part of a bigger mission that is changing people’s lives throughout the world by helping people have safe, natural solutions; improving the lives of the communities where dōTERRA sources their oils through Co-Impact Sourcing; literally saving children’s lives because of dōTERRA’s commitment to and partnering with Operation Underground Railroad to eliminate sex trafficking of children (please check it out!!!!), and so many more ways dōTERRA cares. We are a part of a mission to educate and serve people around the world, one person at a time, exponentially, thereby positively impacting families in multiple ways for generations to come. dōTERRA as a whole has impacted over 3 million people as customers, and they have impacted many more people through their Healing Hands Foundation and other organizations they support. At convention we gained a new awareness of just how much our decision to be a part of this company has helped us impact the world as well as the 8,000+ people who are a member of our dōTERRA family on our team who have found a way to live a natural, nontoxic life thus supporting their health and wellbeing. My heart was so full that day that I was smiling to my toes! So, I wasn't fully prepared for what was to come....
But as excited as I was to head to the airport to start the long journey of flights and layovers toward home, I had a nagging feeling we shouldn’t fly. I even asked David if we could rent a car and drive home…. the long 26 hour drive back to Chattanooga. We actually considered it, but then we dismissed my gut feeling and decided flying was our best option, so we packed up and headed to the airport. Security was very quick and easy (Salt Lake City has THE best airport security checkin!) taking less than 10 minutes which is impressive considering 30,000+ people had just attended the largest convention ever held in the state of Utah! Our flight from SLC to Los Angeles was uneventful and arrived at LAX on time. Having a layover of about 2 hours David and I quickly found our gate then found a nearby pizza place to eat so we wouldn’t be hungry on our 4 hour flight to Nashville. When it was time to get lined up to board the plane we headed to the gate only to discover that our flight had been moved to another gate, and we had minutes to run to get on the plane.
In my head I was already seeing the gate change as opportunity number 2 not to fly that day, but again, I thought I was being silly so we ran fast, boarded the plane and settled into our seats. Before closing the cabin door the flight attendant asked if anyone would be willing to give up their seat and be compensated by the airline with a free ticket and hotel for the night, because the plane was overbooked and someone really needed to be on that flight. David jumped up saying we’d get off, but the flight attendant said they only needed one seat, so we remained onboard. A guy across the aisle from us volunteered, and as he left and the new passenger boarded I said to David, “these are the kind of stories you hear when a plane crashes and someone was spared because they changed places with another person.”
WTH? Why did I say that? Why did I even think that??? And suddenly I knew…. we had 3 whispers throughout the day suggesting that we shouldn’t be on that plane. But what I didn’t know at that time was that we were exactly where we needed to be!
Our plane, Southwest Flight 2634, taxied to the runway to wait in line to take off. LAX is a very busy airport, so we had several planes ahead of us. In an effort to distract my mind away from the fact that we could be on our way to a hotel for the night with time to decide tomorrow if we were going to fly home or drive (now a 34 hour drive!), I decided to read my current book - Beach Money by Jordan Adler. I’m not sure how much time passed before it was our turn to take off, but suddenly I was aware we were picking up speed. Then it happened…. almost directly under me I felt something and at the same time I heard a horrible noise that continued to sound “not right” until the plane lifted off the ground. I ignored my concern and kept reading my book, deciding the uncomfortable feeling of takeoff was all in my head.
But it wasn’t long until the passengers around us started talking and wondering what had happened. So then I knew it wasn’t just my imagination. I’m not exactly sure in what sequence everything happened, but I can say that a lot happened all at once, it seemed, yet the time seemed to drag on. The girl sitting by the window in the seat next to me said, “this is the 3rd time we’ve flown by that island” which made me aware of how low we were flying and that we were still over the Pacific Ocean and had not turned east to head toward Tennessee. The Pilot was quick to inform us that the plane had blown a tire on takeoff and they were assessing the damage and would let us know soon what the plan would be to get us safely on the ground. David is a private pilot, so he already knew the different possibilities of what had happened and what the potential outcomes might be depending on how severe the damage was.
After the realization that we could be in a very serious situation, I posted on Facebook to let everyone know “just in case” and asked for prayers, something I rarely ever do. David did the same on his Facebook page. I was overwhelmed by the outpouring of response and love from everyone and from so many people with whom I haven’t connected in a while. In that moment we felt very connected and truly loved. And although I posted this on Facebook “just in case” I didn’t tell my mom or my son because I didn’t want to worry them (they aren’t on Facebook). Oddly, considering our predicament, I suddenly “knew” we would be fine.
The Pilot kept us updated as we circled just off the coast of the Pacific out of the path of other planes, passing the island numerous times for about an hour. He told us we were burning fuel. David explained that the plane was too heavy to land with a full tank but that it was a good sign that we were just burning fuel rather than dumping it (less of an emergency situation). In addition to burning fuel, we were waiting until LAX could set us up to fly close by the tower so they could get a visual on the status of the tire and the landing gear to determine what type of landing to expect for us; and ultimately we were waiting for them to close the runway we were going to land on so they could be prepared with all the emergency response trucks.
I continued to read my book, but I also was overcome with so many thoughts. For an hour, or slightly longer, my thoughts went from “everything is going to be just fine” to “I can’t believe I won’t see Nicholas grow up” to “I had 3 opportunities not to be on this plane, why am I still on it?” to “my house is such a mess and I would hate for someone to have to deal with all of that if I die on this plane” to “what if I never get to share everything I just learned at convention” to “I still have to get our 2015 personal taxes filed and no one will ever be able to figure it all out without me” to “I won’t get to see Nicholas as the lead in the short film that is just being released (“The Prodigal” for the band, Sidewalk Profits)” and the thoughts flowed on and on, from trivial to very profound, but the one consistent theme that I recognized was what I learned about myself at convention:
“I’ve been living life too small! David and I are on a mission to share a life-changing message with anyone who wants to receive it and act on it at what ever level they choose. And as well as David and I have done our job so far on our mission, our journey is really just getting started, and I have not stepped up to my fullest potential. I have been more concerned with what other people think than I realized. I have been waiting for people, who I thought I needed to wait on, to make things happen rather than just doing it myself while I attract the people who are ready to share the message with me right now. Life is too short and unpredictable for me to not live every day as if it could be my last and take all the opportunities that I can to create my legacy of positive change in the world by touching the people who mean the most to me - my family, my friends and all the people coming into my life (or back into my life) who need to hear what I have to say and see what I have to offer. It is my responsibility to create those relationships and that means I must get out of the house and do it TODAY, everyday, rather than wait until the tomorrow that may never come.”
I realized why I was on that plane in that emergency situation. I needed the wakeup call to truly evaluate where I am in my life at the age of 50. I needed to see the possibility that in that very moment my life could quickly, unexpectedly end or be severely altered when that plane landed, if things went wrong, and that is a reality in any given moment, any day, in any situation. I needed this so that I could ask myself, “am I really committed to my cause and willing to do now, TODAY, everyday, the things I must do, some of them really hard to do, in order to live the mission I have been called to do, or am I going to keep waiting until tomorrow when things are ‘perfect’ so that those tasks are easier to do?”
I suddenly had the overwhelming sense of “knowing” that the perfect tomorrow never comes. Hard things don’t get easier if you just keep waiting for them to be easier without investing in yourself. Timing of life events is never opportune, so you have to learn to navigate it all at the same time so as not to get stuck or diverted away from your mission. My journey is not to have it all figured out first but to learn and improve along the way and to be okay with that. I must be present in focus; work hard; act with intention and specificity on all the tasks before me - even the ones that I don’t like; and move forward everyday so that I go to bed feeling the accomplishment of having taken at least one, but hopefully many, steps forward on my mission. I re-learned everything I already knew to be true that we teach to others, but on September 19, 2016 I recognized my own limitations in “knowing” it to be true and fully living it. I was ready to up-level and embrace the change in myself that I needed to make.
Since I’m writing this 5 days later, you probably figured out that we landed safely. I’m home and I’m just fine. But I’m changed. I writing this post to read in the future in case I ever get too complacent in my life again or find myself playing small again by waiting on someone or something else to act first before I make things happen for myself on a daily basis to move forward in my mission.
The Pilot and crew were amazing! The calm confidence allowed me the peace in knowing what ever happened, it was the right thing. I won’t lie…. I was using my wild orange and PastTense, the two oils I had access to in my carryon, a lot! But I learned from the crew that I need to take that calm and confident approach daily even when under stress and not knowing the outcome at hand. And just as the pilot had a support system in place to ensure our safety, he was the one flying the plane, so staying focused and on his mission was critical to his success for all of us.
As for walking away safely, the pilot made the smoothest landing with very little bouncing considering we were missing one tire, and he maintained the plane on the runway with only a slight appearance that we might slide off one side (have you ever tried to steer a car with a blown tire? Think of doing that with the size, speed and weight of a commercial jet!). I was happy and impressed!
As it unfolded, I suddenly started seeing it all in slow motion as I looked out the window and realized we were on the ground in what was actually a smoother landing than many landings I’ve had in the past with all tires intact. It became surreal when I saw all the fire trucks, ambulances, emergency response vehicles with flashing lights joining us from all directions as we rolled down the runway to a stop. And then the cabin started filling with smoke and I knew that landing was only part of the problem. Now they had to hurry and evaluate and prepare to handle the potential for a fire that could be caused from sparks flying from the landing and the impact the leaking hydraulic fluid could have as well as many other unknowns. And then there was the fact that we were sitting on a runway at one of the busiest airports in the world. Although that runway was closed for us, mistakes have been made before where planes have been directed to land on closed runways thus colliding with another plane.
Nashville, now several hours later from our original departure time. David and I could have chosen to stay in Los Angeles and made a decision the next morning on how to get home, but suddenly I was totally calm and knew it was time to be home because I had work to do to reprioritize my life to better align with my purpose and fully get engaged with my mission. So we grabbed a quick snack, got on the next plane and headed home. And for the next 4 hours I began processing everything I had just felt and all the thoughts that went through my head when we were circling over the Pacific ocean. We arrived in Nashville sometime after 3:30am.
David and I didn’t talk in depth about what we had just been through, and we really still haven’t fully talked about it, but I can tell in his eyes and in his presence that he went through the same thought and evaluation process as I did. The way we’ve approached our days since being home tells me that we are 100% on the same page, and super committed to fully carrying out the action items every day that move us forward on the mission of sharing our message with others and a creating a fulfilled life for ourselves.
Although I wrote this to re-read as needed in order to keep my future self on track, I am posting it as a blog to hopefully inspire someone (or many of you) to not wait for a near plane crash or other tragic event to evaluate where you are on your life’s journey. Take time right now, TODAY!!! Everyday, ask yourself:
This emergency situation with our airplane was the big “knock on my door” jolt I needed so that I wouldn’t let the amazing impact from convention get lost in the day-to-day activities that often happens after returning home from an inspirational event, and to keep me from allowing current frustrations of life’s circumstances become an excuse to divert attention away my bigger purpose. There is always a way to do anything you want to do when you have your focus aligned with your mission and you take action. Being on this airplane has ensured that I will keep my focus on my purpose and take action, daily.
What is your purpose? What is your mission? What do you need to change in your life to live your purpose? Who's life will you touch? What impact will reaching out to support just one person have in changing that person's life? What might the impact of touching one life be in changing the world? What are you waiting for? Be a part of the ripple effect, one person at a time!
Whether or not you know us, find out more about who we are; our mission and our journey. If our path aligns with yours in some small way, or if you feel that either David or I or both of us can be an encouragement to you, please reach out to us so we can offer support in a more personal way. If you see that our mission aligns with yours in a profound way, or if you’d like to consider working with us, don’t delay! We want to know you and find out how we can serve you, and serve together for a bigger purpose.
Holly Mays has been on a journey to share natural ways of supporting health and wellness since 2010 when she graduated from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition as a Certified Health Coach. She is a recognized as a Holistic Health Practitioner by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners. She and her husband, David Mays, became dōTERRA Wellness Advocates in February 2012 and found their passion in empowering people through education to use dōTERRA essential oils, supplements and non-toxic products as a foundation for health and wellness and to create a life of purpose.
David & Holly post tips on using dōTERRA essential oils, supplements and products daily for a natural and non-toxic alternative to support overall health and wellness.