Dare boldly

A blog by Louise Gallagher


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#WestJet Rules are meant to be broken.

We were supposed to fly home today.

And then we weren’t.

Last night when C.C. went to check-in online, we realized our mistake. Our tickets aren’t for today. They’re for tomorrow!

A hasty phone call to WestJet to try to remedy our mistake reveals, airline rules are rigid. Mistakes are costly.

Doesn’t matter that there’s room on the flight today.  The only way to remedy the situation is to cancel our original flights ($100 cancellation fee) and pay an extra $1,000 for two one-way tickets home.

I’d rather put that money towards something more meaningful than an airline’s bottom-line and rigid adherence to rules that don’t make sense.

Phone calls made. Meetings rescheduled. We will take our original flights home. Thankfully, our hosts are gracious and insist we stay here for another day. And more gratitude, our friends who are looking after Beaumont the Sheepadoodle are equally as gracious.

I am grateful for amazing friendships that are flexible enough to bend with our mistakes.

And I’m grateful for laughter. Because in the face of a mistake, what else can I do? (Our travel arrangements this trip have proven to be a great source of laughter thanks to my beloved’s creative route-making.)

Beneath the laughter is curiosity.

What I’m curious about is an airline’s intransigence when relaxing their rules could result in goodwill and happy customers.

It’s funny, in the WestJet of old, I remember a similar occurrence, except in that case, I thought my flight was the day after it actually was. I got to the check-in desk only to be informed I’d missed my flight. The attendant graciously booked me on the same flight that day. I think it cost me all of an extra $50.

Rules. We hang onto them, hang our hats on them and while the saying goes, ‘rules keep us safe’, sometimes, rules can be the roadblock to creative responses to situations where, a little relaxing of the rules would make the world of difference to others without costing you a penny.

I get it.

We made the mistake that put us on a flight a day later than we’d intended.

But what I don’t get is how in the name of profit, an airline chooses to hold fast to rules that do not engender good will, even when to do otherwise would be a simple matter of a couple of keystrokes and the problem would be solved.

The skies may be friendly but those who fill silver bullets with paying customers and send them up into the skies, are not.

Namaste.

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In the spirit of gratitude, I am sharing photos of my morning walk and the breath-taking beauty which surrounds me. There are a lot worse things than being here — we could be flying back today to the snow in Calgary. Maybe by tomorrow night when we get home it will all be gone!

 

 


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Where is freedom?

Freedom isn’t free
You gotta pay the price
You gotta sacrifice
For your liberty.
                                         Up With People

Our hearts cry out for freedom.

We yearn to claim the right to make our decisions, carve our own path, create our own destiny.

And then we stumble and fall. We tell ourselves its best to not ‘rock the boat’. It’s best to ‘go with the flow’ and give into the ‘system’. In our desire to conform, to fit in, we let go of our will to be the change we want to be in our lives and fall into the trap of becoming who we think others will like best.

We say we’re not — giving in, conforming, silencing ourselves, constraining our dreams. We say we’re breaking the rules so we can be free. We are cutting off from the norm to do it our way, but we forget to check if our way is actually creating the ‘more’ we say we want. Too often, it’s simply creating the ‘other’ than what we dreamt would be the freedom we seek. We’re breaking rules for the sake of breaking rules versus testing the limits of our comfort zone and carving the path that fills our heart’s desire to be free and live with passion.

I don’t like breaking rules.

Some of my desire to not break rules and fit in stems back to an incident in Grade 1 when I broke the ‘no talking rule’ (a few too many times) in class and the teacher made me go and stand in the corner. But she didn’t make me stand in the corner in our classroom. She made me stand in the corner of the front lobby of our school. (I think I talked a lot when I was supposed to be quiet.)

I was shamed.

I remember standing in the corner and my brother and sister walking past, seeing me and poking fun at me. I’m sure when we got home they told my mother and that would not have been pretty.

My mother did not like us to break the rules.

Decades later the shame of that incident can still occasionally trip me up. When I feel I have something to add to a conversation, I hesitate. When I want to speak my truth, I second guess myself.

I don’t like breaking rules and the rule I made in my head long ago is that speaking up gets me in trouble. It’s best to hold my counsel unless I’m really, really sure I won’t get in trouble or be laughed at, ridiculed and mocked for what I have to say.

Except. The truth of who I am is I like to participate. I like to share my thoughts, to test them against other’s thinking to see where the cracks and the light is in my thinking. I like to be part of the conversation.

The dichotomy of not wanting to speak up for fear of looking stupid and my desire to let my voice be part of the conversation can create some awkward, unpredictable and tension-riddled times in my life.

At times, it has kept me silent in the face of discord. It has held me still in the arms of abuse.

It has trapped me into believing if I speak louder, I will be heard. If I break the rules, I will be free.

Freedom doesn’t come from breaking rules for the sake of stating I am free to do what I want. It comes when I live my life in harmony with the world around me, honouring the path of all around me, honouring our collective need to treat eachother with dignity and respect, celebrating the magnificence inherent in all our beings.

Freedom isn’t found in being the loudest voice.

It’s found in being the voice of truth spoken without fear of being judged or devalued because of our words.

It’s found in honouring the collective rules of our societal mores that protect our equality, liberty and rights.

Freedom is found when we honour one another in Love.