After a slower-than usual posting schedule over the summer, I’m ramping things up again with this poem that came to me – not surprisingly – on one of several flights that have kept me traveling in recent months. Apologies for my absence here; my intention is to post weekly but you know how it is – life intervenes!
Still, no excuses. With the change of seasons and school back in session however, I’ve been hearing the usual round of “stuckification” that seems to kick in this time of year bemoaned by various friends and colleagues. Some are busy moms lamenting the back-to-the-school-year grind which keeps them locked into set schedules of seeing kids off in the morning, shuttling them to after-school sports activities or obligations, and prepping for the upcoming holidays. Others are seasoned business professionals who feel on a treadmill gearing-up for the usual busy fall conference and trade show season and wondering why they feel like they’re rerunning the same activities every year.
Seems like right about now, we could really use some wings. Here’s my poem; a few final thoughts continue afterward:
Gravity pulls, tugs, sucks until
there’s a pop of release
and the rocketing upward;
soaring, coasting, rushing forward
into the yonder.
In flight I can breathe completely
the bonds of space, time, place
A welcome disconnect
from the chaos below
is punctuated only be the sound of rushing air
or pristine stillness.
There’s time to think here
above it all.
In flight I can see infinitely
By day the expansive cyan of sky
and inviting cushions of cottony clouds
paint unending vistas.
Later the dark cashmere of night sky
strewn with diamonds
yields no borders
What if we could soar at will?
Achieve escape velocity
for just an hour or two?
What if when we’re so grounded
we run the risk of burial
we could sever gravity’s ties
And free our souls as well?
If I could fly
beyond all earthly attachments
I’d ride a gentle jet stream
until it lulled me back to peace,
to the state between sleep and waking
that is simple existence
without judgment or thought.
This is exactly what I often experience while flying – a forced yet organized removal from the daily grind which, if even for just a few hours, is incredibly liberating. Sure I’d love my own set of wings (and a pilot’s license to go with them so I could take off at will and avoid soaring with 150 other souls, their carry-on food and often-screaming kids) but the point is this: you already have a set of wings, and the freedom to use them at any moment. You just need to claim it.
Even when you feel the pull of too many demands at once; even when you feel you have no choice without dire consequences; even when you feel like you could never achieve lift-off (so why bother even opening your wings?), at every moment you have the freedom to choose – if nothing else – the story you will tell yourself in your head about what you’re doing. Once you become conscious that there’s a story running (and that you’re making it up as you go) you get to choose how you feel. As a result, you determine your emotional state. You pick the perspective you’ll have. You decide whether you will bring positivity or negativity to the task and individuals at hand.
Two people doing the exact same thing can create two totally different realities about it. What reality will you create?
When you claim your freedom to choose, there’s a good chance you’ll discover that you don’t mind fulfilling life’s “demands”. It’s not that the kid-shuttling or meal preparations or business travel or trade shows are inherently meaningless, bothersome or that we mind them so much: how they will be for us is determined by the attitude we bring to them.
No, it’s not what we do that’s the problem, it’s the energy we bring to what we do and how we think about it that confines or liberates us. The real culprit? we are suffocated by the feeling of having no freedom to choose what we do.
It’s when that sense of suffocation kicks in that we get stuck and that’s exactly when you need escape velocity.
So get your wings out, dust them off, and start your engines. You’ve got some flying to do.