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September 2, 2020

Is This the Most Important Journey of Your Life?

You are on the most important journey of your life. Joseph Campbell termed it the heroine’s or hero’s journey. You are the action hero. And Campbell described the stages you go through on each of these journeys of life as: the departure, the initiation and the return.


The departure simply means that you leave the familiar, the home base. Sound familiar in the land of COVID? We’ve all left home.


We’re all going through an initiation. And usually this involves a challenge, hopefully a guide and a road of trials. For the survivors of the road of trials, there’s a return, where you get to share whatever wisdom you’ve amassed in your journey.


What is your particular challenge now? I’d say mine is keeping my vibration high, staying positive and hopeful in this crazy state of the world.


And what is the call behind that challenge? I know I’m being called to be a warrioress of love, to keep believing in the good and true and beautiful, regardless—without denying anything. I’m being called, as I was when I was getting my pilot’s license at age 56, to fly above gravity and to learn to navigate in all kinds of weather. That involved pushing the envelope then, and certainly does once again.


Do you have a guide? It could be a close friend, a relative, an historical or current figure of prominence, or it could be your God. Identifying some guide will help you stick to “high flight.”


I had a road of trials during my flight training, when I persistently circled around to the conclusion that I didn’t have it in me to be a pilot, and should just quit. The trials involved mastering skills, and also mediating between two voices within: my flight instructor, Clio’s (the voice of confidence and reason) and my neurotic voice of fear and self-doubt.


What is your road of trials like right now? It could be that you didn’t have the privilege I did of taking on a challenge few could afford; you may be just trying to survive.


What I couldn’t see then, and maybe you can’t see now, is that possibility of a return. I didn’t know that a year after earning my license, I would be diagnosed with breast cancer for the first time. Both bouts of it required mastering those same inner voices and putting up with some suffering. My flying lessons paid off. I ended up being a kind of Clio myself, helping others with their healing crises and writing and speaking. I wonder what surprises your return might have in store…


How might your challenge look if you were to frame it as an adventure? I know, that may sound laughable. But that’s how I got through cancer. I figured I would learn a ton and experience unexpected gifts, no matter what the outcome. I’m more than grateful to say it’s been twenty years.


If you were to use the ancient metaphor of flying, you’d be tapping into wisdom without having to leave the ground. Flying doesn’t mean denying what’s happening around you; instead it means working with it. You get to power up, rise above the fray, see through the lens of the eagle, and then develop the skills to land safely. (Without that last part, you’d never do it.) So even if you hate getting on an airliner, buckle up and try my current project: Flying Lessons Revisited.


After all, you’re here at this time. That can’t be a coincidence. This is our time to draw on the inner powers we’ve been gathering and apply some principles for our individual and collective evolution. The metaphor of flight can instruct us on how to bring out the very best in us and to share that kind of soaring with the world around us.


Just so you can tune in to how this metaphor might work for you, here are seven flying lessons that can be lessons for life. See how they fit for you:


  1. Know Where You’re Going to Land
  2. Bring Enough Fuel for the Journey
  3. Take the Pilot’s Seat
  4. Remember Why You Long to Fly
  5. Communicate with the Controllers
  6. Broaden Your Scan
  7. Give Way to the Winds.


For the next seven weeks, I’ll address these lessons and see how we might use them together to spread our wings and fly through these turbulent times. May you soar!

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