Want to fly? Especially if you’ve seen Avatar, you know what I mean. Don’t we all long to soar in that free, powerful way that connects us to everyone and everything? It’s an image as old as humankind–soaring above our earthly cares and the solidity of the material world.
There’s only one catch–the one I learned when I was in flight training, earning my private pilot’s license back in the late ’90’s. The catch is that the scariest part of flying isn’t taking off or soaring or looking down on the little ant houses below. It’s getting that heavy piece of machinery back on the ground in one piece. It’s landing.
And yet we have to address that catch, because it’s basic. That is, who would be crazy enough to take off and soar if you didn’t think you could get back on solid ground? We are human, after all, and subject to gravity. So sooner or later we have to come home.
When I was learning to fly, and especially through the years that have followed my training, I’ve chewed on the metaphor of flight and on the many lessons for life my female flight instructor, Clio, taught me. Clio didn’t intend on being a spiritual teacher or the “aviation therapist” I called her, but I thought the spiritual training I got was pretty cheap at $65 per hour.
So now I’m writing a book: Flying Lessons for Life. And as I work on Lesson #1, Know Where You’re Going to Land, I’m full of thoughts about how important this concept is to me and to the clients I see. Almost everyone these days is “in transition–” a polite word for deep doo-doo in some area of life. The economy is hard, relationships and systems are falling apart, and the universe seems intent on decomposing anything that isn’t sustainable for the new future it must have in mind. So knowing where we’re going to land is more than just a handy skill; it’s a basic necessity.
Where do you go when everything falls apart? How do you find solid ground? Do you go to outer things? To family and friends? To substances? Activities? Or do you go inward? If so, how do you find center, that place where you can stand no matter what is going on around you?
I’m working on some ideas around these questions, but I’d love to hear from you. How do you know where and how you’ll land?