letting ourselves fly

spray painted graffiti of the word "Hero"Yesterday it was skunks. Today it was a fresh new tennis ball near the courts, just waiting for a ball-loving puppy to come upon it and pounce. What a good life.

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Eleanor Roosevelt is quoted as having said, Do one thing every day that scares you. There are several things on my plate right now that I’ve been putting off for years, that terrify me (book proposals, grad school, growing the workshops, building relationship with family — you know, little things). How do you step up to positive action that scares you?

You probably remember, too, that bravery is defined as acting in spite of fear; that is, feeling fear and acting anyway. Bravery, heroism, isn’t about the absence of fear — but taking steps along with feeling that fear.

This is up for me a lot these days, and for many of my friends as well: doing what’s right, what we love, what we want to do, won’t always be comfortable or feel safe or good. Sometimes doing the best next thing, taking the best next step, doesn’t feel good at all. It’s scary, it’s laden with trigger points, it looks like I’m about to step off the ledge into nothingness.

(You know the next quote I’d include here; apparently I’m in a quote-y mood this morning. Yes, of course, Richard Bach:

“When you have come to the edge of all the light you have
And step into the darkness of the unknown
Believe that one of the two will happen to you
Either you’ll find something solid to stand on
Or you’ll be taught how to fly.”)

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Sometimes radical self care is about letting myself hibernate, letting the inside selves move away from the things that scare them. Sometimes, the best thing I can do to take care of myself is to be that fierce mama and push the babies up to the edge of the nest, push them over, thrill and mourn a little as they let the air lift up under their wings. You know we all have that fierce mama inside us. The mourning is about the loss, the change, how those parts will never be babyish again, never need to be fed — they’re headed off into the world. Change is both sad and glorious sometimes. What happens when we can feel it all?

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What’s the flight that you and or your character are resisting right now? Want to take 10 minutes to write that out today? Or write about a time that you were afraid and acted anyway. Dive into either the fear or the possibilities that could manifest after you/they take the leap — or both! What happens, in your writing, if you or they feel the fear and still take flight, still take action, do it anyway? Follow your writing wherever it seems to want to go.

Thank you for the times that you are brave enough to rest, to take time out, to quit pushing, and for the times that you are brave enough to reach out and step forward into something new and unknown. You keep on inspiring me. Thank you for your words.

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