Thursday, November 22, 2007


On Monday at approximately 3:00 p.m. my life suspended, literally and figuratively. It was shortly after I entered an elevator …there was a thud, blackness, and people yelling is anyone in there, that I realized something had gone very wrong. My first frightening thought was that it was an earthquake, as everyone has been saying “we are overdue for the big one”. I thought this was the big one, and that everyone would be leaving the building not realizing that I was alone in the elevator suspended in mid air, not knowing if it would catch fire or plunge downward. My first instinct was to pound on the door, which I did- and hollered for help. I heard the faint sound of a woman’s voice, saying; “Is anyone in there”?. I said “yes”, she said “are you alone”, I said yes, and she told me there had been a power failure and that they were calling the fire department to get me out.

What happened in the next 1 ½ hours was very interesting. First of all I must tell that you whatever God or the universe had in mind for me that day was unknown, all I can tell you is that normally I park at a parking meter for this regularly scheduled meeting and today for some reason I was directed to an empty spot on the next street that had unrestricted free parking., and no time limit. Oh yes, and one more thing, I always take my cell phone with me, but that day I forgot it. So you can now visualize the picture, no cell phone, and total blackness, alone in the elevator suspended between floors.

How many of us are literally and metaphorically “suspended in life”. We are a moment away from very real things happening to us. We walk across the street on a sunny day….a car passes another and doesn’t see you in the crosswalk and in the blink of an eye you are gone. A hi-rise window washer in his daily routine is washing windows on the 45 th floor…suspended in mid air, loses his balance and his harness breaks and he plummets to his death. You are on your ski holiday, and riding the ski lift, suspended in mid air, the lift line breaks and you fall to your death. You are on a flight to Mexico for your holidays, suspended in the air and in mid flight, the plane develops a problem and has to crash land. What are you thinking in these “real life” moments.

I have now been through two of these life altering experiences, and so have lived to tell you about them. A number of years ago, I was on a flight to California, and as I usually do, because of my height took the exit row seat. Of course, as you all know that’s the emergency door, and so you have to assist in an emergency. An emergency you think will never happen. And how many times have you listened to the same boring speech of the flight attendant on what to do in an emergency. I just put on my head set and read and ignore her. Well that day was different. I got a tap on my shoulder and the flight attendant asked three of us to come to the back of the plane, she had something to tell us. She said the landing gear was stuck and we were going to have to make an emergency landing in Sacramento, because they had a long runway.

Those moments before the landing are the same moments I felt in the elevator. My God this is “really happening”, this is not a movie. I might die. So you begin to take an inventory of your life and what you thankfully did before you died.

I thought well at least I had seen my grandchildren that past weekend, played with them, enjoyed them and stayed an extra hour, maybe that’s a sign--God wanted me to have a little more time with them. I kissed my daughter goodbye, and remembered it was a special endearing hug and kiss. not just one of those pecks on the cheek that we all rush around giving--not pausing to really enjoy the moment. She was holding my granddaughter when all three of us hugged--it was special.

Next, I thought about all the people I helped at work that day to accomplish several tasks for a project. The day had gone really well and I felt that I had been of value, so if that was the last day of my life I had at least fulfilled my purpose of being in service. I thought about the unresolved issues with my son, and how sad it would be that I would have to die-- for him to make peace with me. I had always thought that that might happen, but I didn’t want to wish for it, because as the old adage goes, “be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it”. I thought about joining my Dad who had passed away three years ago, and what our reunion would be like, because our relationship was strained before his death. Then I thought about the fact I had just had a reunion with an old friend, and how special that was, as I hadn’t heard from him in about ten years, and thought we might not ever do this again as he was going back to Israel.

Then I began to think of my partner in life, she was at home, not knowing what was happening. If I had a cell phone, I could at least call her to say I loved her and I’m sorry for not completing that will we were supposed to do. I kissed her goodbye in the morning before I left, but it didn’t feel any different, like a last kiss, so maybe it’s not supposed to end this way.

The light came back on in the elevator, but it didn’t move and the whole building went silent. And so I began to say to myself you have to do something, and so I did. I meditated and prayed. I called for my guides, I called for my father to come and lend a hand, and I let go and turned it over to a higher power, and basically said I have no control over this, I am completely in your hands. Within minutes, I heard a fireman at the door. “We are going to try and get you out”. They tried to break the door down, but it would not budge. “He said we can’t get you out, but I am leaving “Taylor” here to be with you and to talk to you. Are you okay? I said okay as long as there is an air supply in here, which there was. Taylor stayed with me till the elevator mechanic came….suddenly at precisely 4:10 p.m. I heard the door opening, looked up and saw Taylor and the elevator mechanic. Only problem was they were on the third floor and I was staring up at them in an elevator shaft between the second and third floor. They still would have to pull me up to where they were. I’m 6’4” 235 lbs, and never felt so helpless. I needed faith in that moment, and as I had just done for the past 1 ½ hours-- turned it over. They grabbed my arms and lifted me up. Very symbolic…looking skyward…my feet hit the floor and I was alive. I had landed safely again.

In a matter of minutes I was up and out, and out of the building, breathing fresh air, but feeling differently again as I always do from these life altering events. I have had so many I’ve lost count. But I do know this --that each time it happens I think of my life as moments of time. What we do with those moments are very very important. It puts everything in perspective; life, work, friends, family…each of them share moments of time with us.

Is your life suspended, do you feel that you are a victim of time spent without connection or meaning; money spent without satisfaction, work accomplished and feeling good about it only temporarily, kissing and hugging your significant other each morning and night with a sense of rote, familiarity, but lacking in warmth and connectedness, are you planning to wait for your future to take care of your unfulfilled dreams. Do these thoughts always resonate for you; When I get enough money I will… When I retire I will….When I find a soul mate I will…..When the kids grow up I will….. When I win the lottery I will….. So much of what comprises the media and the American Dream, is just that dreaming.

I have begun to live my life in reality, and the reality is that at any given moment, at any given time in your life, you will die. And the other reality is we don’t know when that will be. Living your life in suspension is like buying yourself a box of Godiva chocolates and then just leaving it wrapped and looking at it every day. Commit to the moment, because that is all you have. Do something and everything while you can now. Speak your truth, tell your story, heal wounds, live your passion, love everyone, trust a few, and hurt no one. Don’t wait. This one is not on your schedule. Let it go, give it up, stop fighting to be in control. This is one battle you will lose. And above all, don’t give up living!

Oh and by the way, when we did successfully land the plane in Sacramento, everyone rushed to praise the pilots, but the pilots looked skyward and thanked someone else. I thank God for getting me out of that elevator. However I think the real reason was to tell you my story and to give you the message. I have now done my part; the rest is up to you.

1 comment:

Katrice's Musings said...

An being suspended in time. Just wanted to let you know that your blog here inspired me. I receive your zentrepreneurism news (sp) and have been having a particularly stressful time in my life with people transitioning, my father moving into a care centre, my children stepping away from me (alwasy had been an in your face mom....groan) and on and on. But I have realized that I had always given to others and made sure everyone else was doing good.....making it GOOD and ensuring that life was well for others - all the while forgetting one important person......ME.

I am a Vibrational Healer/Spiritual Counsellor here in Vancouver and am now ralizing that while I had always thought I was doing good work, I have now found that my life is filled with people who are very needy and draining.......the same people that I vowed to help.

I am now drained and choosing to really take a good hard look at how I live MY life and what exactly it is that Spirit wishes for me.

Don't know why I chose to reach out to you but there you go.

Blessings on your journey.

Katrice Balmer
Vancouver, B.C.