Have you ever had a flying dream? I have—these are my favorite dreams. In some, I am flapping my wings, er…arms, to raise my altitude and rise above the treetops; in others I am soaring so high I can see cities with rivers and mountains in the distance. A glorious feeling! The dreams have felt so real that, on a least one occasion, I went running after I woke and it was all I could do to not flap my arms and lift my feet off the ground!
Wouldn’t it be grand to have this experience in real life? So my birthday present this year was to finally go hang gliding after years of wanting to, but being thwarted by weather or life in general. To me, hang gliding is the closet thing to having your own wings attached to your back.
On the Edge
Well, I met my edge. Much to my naïve surprise, I was terrified. And with the physical demands of training to be a pilot, I may have waited 20 years too late. Starting with learning how to pick up and balance the glider and have it rest on the “meat” of my shoulders, one the weighs around 50 pounds. Then I was instructed to run as fast as I could down the hill carrying it, falling forward and trusting (there is the operative word) that the wings will catch the air and lift me off the ground, holding me safely by the attached harness that I have to remember is there, because I can’t see or feel it until it is in play. Right. Then, just as quickly, push the bar in front of me, that I am to have a loose hold on (instead of the death grip I had) up over my head for a feet first landing. Right.
It is required that I both remain in control of the craft and at the same time, give myself over to it, and then take back control on order to get my feet on the ground and land. It’s more that this brain can process in one day of training. I always thought I would prefer to go tandem with an experienced pilot (there’s that trust thing again), but the Mountain Wings School in Ellenville, NY didn’t offer that option.
It Happened—Success! Briefly…
I am really happy to say I was able to pick it up, run down the hill and for a few quick seconds, allow the wings to lift my feet off the ground. Woo hoo—I’m flying! But then, oh yea, the landing. I never did master the ability to release my grip and push the bar over my head. Instead it was crash to the ground, over and over again.
As my 16 year old son said, who did the day of training with me, it’s like learning to snowboard—you expect to fall a lot while learning how not to fall—that’s where the 20 years too late comes in. At this stage of the game, I really do not like to fall, especially when it is a given that it is going to happen. My son, however, was flying for longer and longer distances, still falling mind you, but what the heck, he’s got a 16 year old body that doesn’t seem to mind the abuse.
We watched many pilots launch off the 1,200 foot ridge high above us and glide to the ground ten minutes later, some with good landings, some a little rough. I hear flying is the easy part…
Check in Time
I tuned in and listened to my higher self and decided, while I am incredibly appreciative for the opportunity to have this experience, the longing is now complete. I can go back to flying in my dreams and metaphorically—that suits me just fine. I am disappointed in myself for not being able to conquer the psychological fear and physical limitations—it all has been very humbling and illuminating about where that edge is.
But, wow, what a metaphor—where else am I holding on for dear life—not trusting that the wind will catch my wings and carry me to a soft landing? What other desires have I been putting off that will someday soon be too late to pursue? This has really woken me up to the urgency of time and pursuing now what I am able to in order to live my heart’s desire.
How about you? Where are you holding on with a death grip to what seems secure and familiar but is actually getting in the way of you flying? Maybe it is as subtle as loosening to a light touch with a final push as you plant your feet solidly on the ground…
My Heart’s Desire
My heart’s like a boat out on the sea, sailing for lands that set me free
Fear aside, I ask my deepest self, what do I hunger for my life to be?
My mind’s like a canvas waiting paint, landscapes defined by my beliefs
When I accept what my heart craves, my mind supports what it can dream
I dream the dream of a thousand dreamers
Yearning for my heart’s desire
To be the one I came here to be
Fulfills my heart’s desire
Our lives are like flowers bursting forth, opening up with brilliant hue
As we bring to light our gifts to share, the world becomes so much richer here
©2008 Lyrics by Diane Ingram/Music by Chris Farrell