Mayday Mayday Mayday! It’s May Day, today.
While ancient traditions have always celebrated this as a time of new beginnings and spring, I got curious about how the phrase “mayday” has come to denote an emergency in radio communications — given that my flight training has created an association between “mayday!” and aviation emergency procedures in my mind.
Turns out, there’s no connection historically, but what if we made one? Check this out:
In 1923, air traffic control was in its early stages and the senior radio officer at Croydon Airport in the UK was asked to come up with a phrase that would indicate that an aeroplane has an emergency — something that could be easily understood even if radio reception was poor or there is a lot of noise in the signal.
Much of the air traffic back then went between Croydon Airport and Paris, France, so he proposed the phonetic pronunciation of the French word m’aidez, meaning “help me.”
For 95 years, “mayday mayday mayday” has been the official and universal call meaning distress.
As a pilot, if you make a mayday call over the radio, it’s a true emergency — and the protocol would have you state the nature of the emergency, present position and heading, your intentions, fuel remaining, and number of souls on board.
(I find it fascinating that the FAA specifically uses the phrase “souls on board” – the only reference to “soul” in government bureaucracy that I’m aware of!)
A “mayday” call is definitely an “oh shit” moment and, while I don’t have statistics on the ratio between the radio phrase usage and the actual outcome, it usually doesn’t end well.
So THIS morning, as I was contemplating the relevance of May Day in our rapidly evolving world, it occurred to me that we do have a kind of “mayday” emergency:
Nature of emergency: the way we live is destroying our planet. As an example, a study in Science journal this week shows that if global temperatures continue to rise at current rates, marine ecosystems are likely to experience mass extinctions similar to the one that happened 250 million years ago, which wiped out 81% of marine species and 70% of terrestrial vertebrate species. As another example, our need for cattle farms, oil pipelines, and metals (used in the technology with which you’re reading this) has caused us to destroy fully half of the world’s rainforests already, on pace to eliminate them altogether within our lifetime. We are the only species on the planet that is unable to live sustainably with the ecosystem we inhabit. (This doesn’t even begin to address what we eat, how we farm, how much we eat, and how we destroy our own bodies and health, too. We are hilariously and tragically clueless.)
Present position and heading: Well, we are where we are. We can measure our position by data and statistics, or we can measure it by how joyful or depressed we are. Either way, our present position would seem to be precarious. As for heading, I’m reminded of one of my crusty old history professors who punctuated his lectures with the phrase “headed to hell in a handbasket.” Whatever a handbasket is.
Your intentions: This, of course, is the key. What ARE your intentions? Are you “mayday” oriented — focused upon impending doom and imminent catastrophe, dwelling upon all that’s gone wrong and should be different? Or are you “May Day” oriented — focused upon new beginnings, possibilities, developing latent potential, being resourceful, and growing new life from the soil and fertilizer of what is here now? We are all “pilot in command” of this aeroplane we call Gaia. And today, just like every day, air traffic control is asking you to “say intention.”
Fuel remaining: Depends upon intentions, above. IF we continue to think of “fuel” in the way that we do (extracted from physical resources) we have a finite quantity of fuel. And, oh, what a dumb way to go — to crash the plane because we ran out of fuel? Come ON. BUT! If we all put our intentions into sourcing “fuel” from the infinite source of fuel, we have enough fuel to fly indefinitely. More on this below.
Number of souls on board: 7,944,092, 843 humans (and 384,563 more born today!)
So, let’s examine this mayday emergency.
After a crash, the officials look at the black box and the cockpit voice recorder as part of their investigation, to determine the cause of the accident.
If we were to analyze the “black box” of our millions of daily choices, and listen to recordings of everything we’ve ever said, what would we discover?
The data would ultimately come down to one fundamental cause:
We live as though we are separate from everything and everyone else.
We train ourselves and our young to operate from habits and perceptions that ensure we experience ourselves as separate objects in a world that’s dangerous and hard.
We reinforce these habits with everything we say and do, and we give our power away to mysterious “others” who seem to have more authority, for socially acceptable reasons reinforced by culture, government, and law.
We’ve forgotten that we are all creators in a world created by us.
“Mayday mayday mayday!”
The soul of the world — and our own soul, drowned out by the noise of our own busy lives — is calling.
M’aidez! M’aidez! M’aidez!
There exists enough energy in the quantum field, the zero point field, to allow us all to live sustainably and harmoniously, indefinitely. But working with and as the zero point field is not a skillset currently taught in mainstream parenting, education, healthcare, or scientific models, hence our “mayday” crisis.
Which is why it’s up to all of us to make visible our own relationship with the invisible — to exchange ideas and share practices about how we work with subtle energy, intuition, creativity, inspiration, spiritual power, universal law, meditation, and the source of creation itself — as we normalize a way of being that is just OF COURSE one with the whole, OF COURSE connected to everything energetically, OF COURSE a microcosm of the macro, OF COURSE loaded with infinite possibilities and enough creative potential to transform our world… NOW.
OF COURSE we can create a world that works for us all, and we ARE doing it.
Even if we see evidence of “heading to hell in a handbasket” in world events, every one of us is contributing to changing the position, heading, and altitude of our flight, with every little thing we say and do — all of it recorded in the “black box” and “cockpit voice recorder” of the universe.
So… it’s May Day. What are you creating today?
You, smiling as pilot in command: “May Day! May Day! May Day!”
Cosmic air traffic control: “Say intentions.”
Happy May Day, friends.
New life begins here, now.