Sunday, January 24, 2016
A Bird Learning to Soar
An Early Description of My Process
Most of my life I’ve been weighted down by my neediness in the world... a bird grounded on earth. I recognized I had wings, but did not really know why or what to do with them. So I ran about on foot struggling to stay alive, envious of those famous birds in history who I’d heard had been able to fly. Sure I’d been told that we were all made in the same image, but I believed the mystical birds to be magical creatures, not a bird like myself. Even so, there were times in the midst of great pain and frustration that a longing would well up in my heart and something deep within would stir. In confusion I would find myself stretching forth my wings and frantically flailing about. At those times I would cry out, “Why can’t my wings be magic too? I want to soar up into the heavens and be free!” Occasionally as I floundered, I felt as if I rose an inch or two off the ground, but always I convinced myself that it was just my imagination.
Then one day I read an amazing book about flying which stated that all birds had the capacity to fly - and I wondered… did it mean even those as hopeless as me? It described how the magical birds of the past had taught that the ability to fly was not magical , but a bird’s natural birthright! The author explained that birds who couldn’t fly had merely forgotten how and that the ancient ones had come to be examples for us to follow, birds that we could emulate. He said that by virtue of our being birds with both feet and wings, we could choose at our discretion to walk on the earth or fly through the heavens. He explained how the earths’ gravity could be used not only to hold one down, but lift one up as well - and that we need only look within for direction!
Whoa! Filled with excitement and anticipation, I then struck out to try and fly. I bobbed my head, wagged my tail, stretched out my wings and sang a song. It felt wonderful - however, nothing too exciting happened. Still, I did not give up, but tried again and again, day after day until one day I had an incredible experience. I had stretched out my wings when an unknown wind came by and lifted me high into the heavens. I felt such freedom - such peace and love and joy, that the burden of all my perceived neediness and fears faded in the ecstasy. I knew then what it meant to be a bird and what it meant to fly. This was what I had always yearned for deep within my heart, this was my purpose and my deepest desire!
Since that day I have sought with passion to become the bird I am meant to be. I look and listen and practice, practice, practice. At times the wind has returned and lifted me to heights above where words lose their meaning. At other times, I stumble and stagger - laughing at my clumsiness - and sometimes crying too. At those times I pray, “Guide me and help me be patient and compassionate with myself.” But now no matter what I feel, I know what I am meant to be – and that I am not alone.
As you might expect, many other flyers, usually authors, have come into my life. Many have extensive experience and exquisite insight - while others have only flown in airplanes. I am grateful for them all. Supported by their inspiration, my explorations into flight have been increasingly successful. It’s hard work (except when it’s not...), but I’m gradually making progress. And I’m not just talking about short hops, but prolonged flight! ...Well... maybe a flight long enough to get me into the tops of bushes... but, no matter, because, in case you don’t know, flying is a glorious experience and now that I have begun who knows where I might go!!!!