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The Green Jumpsuit: A Reminder of Why Mindfulness and Staying Present Matters

Suitcase with airline luggage tags
My suitcase finally arrived home!

In June, I took a trip to England to study at the Arthur Findlay College, which is the foremost institution for the advancement of mediumship and psychic sciences. I do my best to attend two classes at the College every year to continue to hone my craft.

On this trip I got a little too confident and put all of my chickens in one basket…I mean, all of my belongings in one checked bag. As usual, I booked myself on a Friday evening redeye, direct from Boston to London. I got to the airport nice and early only to find out that my 7:30 pm flight was delayed until 10 pm. I asked at check-in if I should be looking for an alternative flight, but they just took my suitcase and directed me to security without any guidance. I found that odd, but was too polite to push the issue. Turns out, I should have been a bit pushier.

Well, my flight delay went from 10 pm to 11 to 11:30 to 1 am. And at 11:45 pm, my flight was cancelled. So, I ran (yes, ran) to the ticket agent in the hopes of getting rebooked on another flight. My only option? A trio of flights starting at 5:24 am Saturday morning from Boston to Detroit, then from Detroit to Miami, and finally from Miami to London. I knew that was absolutely crazy. I would be getting on two, consecutive flights that would take me farther from my destination than my starting point. But when I saw that I would land in London by 6:30 a.m. on Sunday morning, I jumped at the itinerary because it meant I would only miss a half-day of class. I spent Friday night sitting in front of the ticket counter of Terminal A at Logan Airport with my suitcase. Suffice to say, no sleep was had that night. But I had an interesting conversation about all things spiritual with a man whose flight had also been canceled.

Unfortunately, my flight from Miami to London was delayed for another seven hours. And when I finally arrived in London around noon on Sunday, my suitcase was still in Miami.

The long and the short of it is this: I wasn’t reunited with my suitcase until a week after I returned home. So, I spent a week at the College with the clothes on my back, which consisted of my underwear, a pair of sox and sneakers, and the green jumpsuit I wore on the plane, together with a denim jacket and sweatshirt I had stuffed into my handbag.

By the time I arrived at the College, I had been wearing the same clothes for more than two days, and I had no toiletries. I was utterly bedraggled. Mercifully, friends at the College lent me some basics so that I could take a shower. And that’s what I did. I took a quick shower in a friend’s room, then checked in, got a key to my room, took my sweatshirt, jacket, and jewelry (constituting all of my luggage) out of my handbag, and headed off to class.

Here's the thing: I knew I looked like a mess. My curly hair was unruly (think Medusa) without product and a curling iron to tame it. I had no makeup, no journal to take notes in, and no power cord converter to charge my phone in England. And I was both jetlagged and deeply short of sleep.

But here is what was crystal clear to me in that moment: if I felt angry, frustrated, sad, distressed, worried about what I looked like or what other people thought of me, or allowed my predicament to bother me in any way, I was only going to multiply my problems. None of those feelings would return my suitcase to me any sooner, and I would only let my situation rob me of whatever was left of my class and trip. So I knew I needed to stay present and remain mindful.

After all, I had been looking forward to this class for months! I just love being at the College, learning from world-class tutors, experiencing the wonderful mediumship of my tutors and fellow classmates, and spending time with friends both old and new. As much as my human felt uncomfortable, I was committed to not letting my quandary spoil the experience any more than it already had.

So, I washed my clothes in shampoo every night, borrowed a hair dryer to finish drying anything that wasn’t dry by morning, and I made the most of my time at the College. I didn’t hide in my room (trust that old me definitely would have done exactly that) because before I left, I promised myself that I would be social while studying. So, I hung out with my classmates every night. And I didn’t complain about my green jumpsuit, crazy hair, or sneakers made from recycled water bottles that didn’t breathe at all and made my feet feel like they were in a steam room.

On Tuesday morning, my psychic senses kicked in, and I just knew my suitcase wasn’t going to arrive - even though it had been in London for more than a day. That morning, I was feeling emotional. In an effort to get myself together, at the 11 am coffee break, I decided I would get my cup of coffee and walk in the garden just to spend some time alone and ground myself. About one hundred yards out the door, I managed to spill coffee all down my jumpsuit. And I said to myself, “I’m going to cry now.” And I did. But by 11:30, I had cleaned up my jumpsuit, pulled myself together, and jump back into class.

At the lunch break on Wednesday, a friend took me to the local Tesco grocery store that had some clothing. I bought a pair of black jeans, a black t-shirt, a blue dress, a curling iron, some toiletries, and a bottle of Woolite – effectively tripling my wardrobe and seriously upping my hand wash game!

When I finally showed up in different clothes, I actually got a round of applause from my whole class. I wish I had it on video. It was hilarious!

People were really kind and understanding about my predicament. And many people commented on how I was holding it together. That sounds rather dramatic when you think about the real problems that people have. But I took all of that to mean that I was succeeding at staying present and making the most of my experience.

And when I finally arrived home and could pick from more than two outfits, my classmates laughed with me about my green jumpsuit. Honestly, I doubt any of us will ever forget it!

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