“Never Knowing Where We Fly”Posted: March 23, 2013 | |
I just returned home from a four-day business trip. Due to the nature of my job, I often return from my trips late at night and find myself completely exhausted the next day. I didn’t get home from this particular trip until close to Midnight and so, today is one of those days. Except that I’m more mentally exhausted than anything. Through a conversation with a friend, and with myself, I came to the realization that I’d expended a lot of mental energy this week focusing on things I strongly desire to change, but that I really have no control over. I found that I did my fair share of fussing about being ready to move on from my job and wanting progress in certain relationships in my life. It was one of those moments that you don’t really see until you step outside of it. And it wasn’t until I was in the quiet of my own car driving back from the airport, and back in the quiet of my home, that I was able to see how truly busy my mind had been this week.
After allowing myself time to sleep in this morning, I immediately went to put on some of my quiet meditation music and picked up Mark Nepo’s “The Book of Awakening,” a gem that found its way into my life last summer. It is a book of daily reflections that I try to read every morning before starting my day. I’d forgotten to bring it with me on my trip, so I went back and read all of the days I missed. Every passage, from March 19 until today, spoke to exactly where my mind was this week. In one of his reflections, Nepo offered a meditation that guided me to pulling out a picture of myself as a little girl. I really looked at the picture and began to feel a world of emotions. That little girl had so many wonders and dreams of the world. That little girl looks so happy in her eyes. That little girl was carefree. Then I looked at myself in the reflection of the blank computer screen and I asked myself where did that little girl go. I thought of all the life experiences I’ve had since that picture and I acknowledged how they have all shaped me, changed me and moved me away from who that little girl was. But I had an “aha” moment as well. I can return to the child-like me. The one who was fearless and wide-eyed and ready to try new things. We can’t always control what will or won’t be in our lives, but we can control not losing sight of who we are.
Nepo’s reflection from today, March 23, beautifully captures this understanding:
Never Knowing Where We Fly
“Birds learn how to fly, never knowing where flight will take them.”
“There is a deep and humbling lesson in the way of birds. Their wings grow and stretch and span patches of air. First tentatively and then with confidence, they lift, they pump, they glide, they land. It seems, for birds, it is the act of flying that is the goal. True, they migrate and seek out food, but when flying, there is the sense that being aloft is their true destination.
Unlike birds, we confuse our time on Earth, again and again, with obsessions of where we are going – often to the point that we frustrate and stall our human ability to fly. We frequently tame and hush our need to love, to learn, to know the truth of spirit, until we can be assured that our efforts will take us somewhere. All these conditions and hesitations and yes-buts and what ifs turn the human journey upside down, never letting the heart, wing that it is, truly unfold.
Yet, without consideration or reservation, it is simply the presence of light that stirs birds to sing and lift. They do not understand concepts such as holding back or truly investing if the return seems certain. In this, we are the only creatures that seek out guarantees, and in so doing, we snuff the spark that is discovery.
Just how often do we cripple ourselves by not letting love with all its risks teach us how to fly? How many times do our hearts stall because we won’t let the wingspan of our passion open us fully to our gifts? How frequently do we search for a song of guidance that can only come from inside us?
I know that over the years, through fear and expectation, my mind has gathered and hoarded places I needed to go, things I needed to have, selves I needed to be. But here I am, without most of them – the goals and wants all used up in learning how to love.
So, try as I do to imagine and construct where I am headed, try as I will to plan and know what this life of feeling means, it is the pulse of what I feel itself that lifts me into spirit. In truth, wings don’t grow any differently to fit south or east or west, and our lives, no matter how we train ourselves, are more fundamental than any direction of worldly ambition. We, like the birds, are meant to fly and sing – that’s all – and all our plans and schemes are twigs of nest that, once outgrown, we leave.”
Let us always remember the song within us. And never forget to fly.