But sometimes, life buries us a little bit, challenging the resilience of our hearts to respond and adapt as best they can. Things happen—things for which we never could have planned or prepared, things that change our direction before we knew where we were going in the first place, things that are far too heavy for flight.
Sometimes, these things keep us grounded. Too grounded. And while we all need to feel a certain stabilization of the earth beneath us every once in a while, too much of one thing never works out well.
We are not meant to live only on the ground. We are meant to fly sometimes, too.
We are meant to be brilliant creatures through which a vibrant soul expresses its truest nature, exposing the innermost secrets of the world to those with whom we share this sacred experience. Our hearts are meant to be shared and seen, spoken and heard, written and read.
And in order to be this way, to be all that we are, we must take care of our wings—the ones with which we were born, gifted to each of us in a way that can never be repeated.
Perhaps it’s best to start by facing our fear of flight.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ―Marianne Williamson
Flying, whether or not we know it as such, is a common fear among the best of us. Why? Simple: The higher we rise, the farther we might fall. And the farther we fall, the more painful the landing.
And getting hurt isn’t particularly fun, so we avoid it. We protect ourselves by keeping our wings tucked away, sedentarily waiting for the disastrous potential to lessen—however, that day never seems to come.
So, we lay low.
More often than not, fear is what keeps us grounded. It’s the heaviest of burdens, the grimmest of shadows, leaving us stone cold in the midst of a choice: to do, or not to do?
But this decision is not one for fear to make.
This is a gust of wind on which the breadth of our endless youth has the chance to take flight, to unfurl and catch the upward motion of this sweeping breeze of possibility.
Yes, possibility certainly includes the potential for failure. We very well may fall, and it will hurt for having gone so high. But I have nothing to say about that other than this: it’s alright. Because the glory of flight surpasses even the most debilitating flood of doubt, and there will always be another gust of wind to catch, even when we feel the air is hauntingly still against our itching skin. It will surprise us and it will come again. It always does.
Which leads us to our next task: We must leave our wings open, ready and waiting at all times.
We don’t need to chase the wind, it’s not ours to grasp; rather, we are the wind’s to scoop up and transport to the corners of our dreams, to the edges of what’s known and understood. We are the flecks of possibility that trust the wind to guide us to our calling.
We are the difference that can be made, if only we overcome our fear of flight.
Once we face this fear, we can spread our wings with confidence and keep them this way, ever-ready to catch the next gust on which we might change the world.
And it sure would be silly to miss out on an adventure like that all because of fear, wouldn’t it?
So, we must be fearless even when reason tells us to run and hide. We must spread our wings even in the worst conditions for flight.
And then, we must fly.
We must find a way off the ground when it’s time—which the wind always lets us know—whether that means shaking off the unnecessary weight before we rise or on the journey upward; either way, we must try. And if our efforts are in line with the purpose of the gusts that carry us, we will succeed.
If they’re not, then we will fall. We will hurt for a little while and then we will try again. But we will never know if we refuse to leave the ground.
There’s so much we’d never discover if we spent all our time with our feet planted—how high we can rise, how much is up there waiting for us, how brilliant the sun and moon look from the vastness that holds our world.
By the same token, if we never know what it feels like to carry a heavy burden, we can’t know the true spirit of lightness. If we never know what it is to be grounded, we’ll never know what it is to fly. So of course, we need both ends of the spectrum and everything in between.
But in the process of seeking this balance, we tend to forget the beauty of our own wings and the truth on which they fly, and in the end, that hurts more than even the greatest of falls.
So no matter what, we must fly. It’s what we are born to do. And while we can’t control the wind or the direction in which it sweeps us, we can care for our wings to ensure that our brilliance can be met by our fearless endeavors in the skies of possibility.
We can rise and fall and try again, and we can do it all by harnessing our gift of flight.
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Editor: Travis May