How I learned to Soar……and to stop desperately ‘flapping my wings’
My whole life, I have loved analogies as a way to describe and explain things. It is no wonder that this writing involves an analogy.
Like many of us, my childhood was no Norman Rockwell painting. Without going into the details, I was told, pretty much every day by my Father, that I “should have never been born”. That I was worthless and unwanted. This convinced me that I had no value, was unlovable, and needed to fight for and earn the approval of others.
Being continually anxious about my well-being and worth, caused me to develop a ‘scarcity’ mindset. As an adult, I continually worried about my basic needs being met and was hyper-focused on working to make sure these needs were met.
All of us have a strong innate drive to survive built into our very DNA. It automatically kicks in when adversity leads us to believe that our survival is threatened. If a child feels that they are on their own, without the protection of their parents or an adult, they take whatever actions are necessary for their self-preservation.
The child’s intellect creates various methods and mechanisms to protect themselves and ensure their survival. This can include building ‘walls’, or barriers, within their minds to protect themselves from harmful effects from attacks on their well-being and self-confidence.
One survival tool is to disassociate their mind (cause their mind to be somewhere else), when they feel threatened, attacked, or belittled. This can sometimes be the only available self-preservation method to a child because they do not typically have the power, resources, or ability to physically remove themselves from an abusive person or harmful situation.
Because a child has very little autonomy or control over their life, they can desperately crave the power to control their situation and also control others in their life.
As that child becomes an adult, it may become essential for them to try to control relationships and people in their life.
The desperate drive to be good enough, so that they are accepted and loved, can cause the individual to try to be perfect, pleasing, or accommodating, so they can earn the love and approval of others. If we can just try harder, and put our needs last, we just might be good enough.
The result can lead to a child, who then grows into an adult, who continually pushes themselves to please others, be perfect, control the narrative, and also all relationships in their life.
During my childhood, I experienced all of these things and much more. I developed lots of tendencies as a child, that continued as character traits as an adult.
As an adult, I no longer needed to incorporate these ‘protections’. However, they had become so ingrained into my personality, that they defined me.
Since I had to fight and scrap in order to emotionally and mentally survive as a child, I became a very determined and tenacious adult. I believed that I was absolutely on my own in the world and my very survival depended on how hard I could work and how determined I was. Feeling that I alone had to continually and diligently strive to ensure that my basic needs were met.
I embraced anger, and a victim mentality for most of my adult life. My parent did this to me and I wasn’t ready or willing to forgive and forget.
Being angry, resentful, and unforgiving requires a person to spend a lot of their energy that could be going to something positive in their life. They can’t move forward, heal, or reach emotional or spiritual maturity while holding tight to these negative feelings and circumstances from their past. Only recently have I started the process of letting go of past issues and releasing their control over me.
My whole life, I relied on my intelligence, efforts, and just plain stubbornness, to meet my basic needs and attempt to achieve my goals and desired results. I worked hard and invested a lot of energy and effort, to obtain things that I thought I wanted and needed.
Like an obsessed bird, I furiously ‘flapped my wings’ my whole life to survive and reach destinations that I had determined were where I wanted and needed to be. The whole time, I had forgotten that I was born with a built-in, and much more positive option.
As a retired adult, I recently chose to move back to Minneapolis, MN, my childhood home, to be closer to my family. My two daughters, three grandchildren, and now a great-grandson, all live here. This after a chapter in my life living 11 years in a much warmer and unique Reno, Nevada.
At this age, however, I had determined that I no longer had the desire or patience to endure Minnesota during its coldest winter months of January through March. I informed my family that I would be joining the ranks of the intrepid ‘snow bird’, who ‘ flies south every winter’ to return when things start to thaw out.
Over the previous 40 years, I had taken a few trips to Mazatlán, Mexico. A destination that intrigued me with each visit. Could this be the ideal place for a ‘snow bird’ to land and spend the winter months away from the frosty Northland?
At the end of my recent 3-month trip to Mazatlán, I reflected on this new life experience. This trip literally ‘reset’ my life and attitude and was life-changing.
I had, and continue to have, immense gratitude for the abundance that the Universe has shared with me. Some of the many things, that I am so very grateful to the Universe for, include:
• the opportunity to be a ‘snow bird’ for the first time by leaving Minnesota’s coldest weather months and ‘flying south’ to somewhere much warmer
• placing me in a beautiful beachside location where I had a wonderful, peaceful, healing time communing with the ideal weather, ocean, sun, and nature
• the time that I had to meditate, study and seek healing of my body, mind, soul, and spirit
• bringing many wonderful new people into my life that I was able to develop incredible new relationships and friendships. Also finding new people in my life that I now consider being my new ‘Mazatlán Family’
• the opportunity to be exposed to, and to learn to appreciate, the people, customs, history, architecture, culture, and food of Mazatlán; and
• the incredible opportunity of bringing both of my adult daughters down to Mazatlán, for two separate weeks, to have their first travel adventure outside the U.S., and share the Mazatlán experience
Nature played an important role in this incredible experience and in teaching me a very important life lesson.
Since my very first day in Mazatlán, I felt a deep connection with the many Pelicans that continually glided in front of my apartment. I called them ‘my bird friends’. Sometimes they would suddenly appear, gliding by within 10–15 feet from my balcony, like they too felt our connection and wanted me to see their soaring up close.
I noticed how these birds were very connected to the air currents and incredibly skilled at riding those currents for as long as they could. Sometimes as a solo bird, but most times with a group of other Pelicans.
When they soared as groups, they formed patterns with their bodies that ensured the least amount of drag and the greatest efficiency in their flight. Achieving better performance and results by working together on a common goal.
The Pelicans were skilled at aligning themselves perfectly with the air current to soar effortlessly. When a particular air current diminished so that they could no longer ride it, they would efficiently flap their wings a minimum number of times to realign them with the air current. Once aligned again, they would immediately stop flapping (using their energy or force), and once again rest and rely upon the energy created by the airwave to soar once more.
What an incredible lesson for me personally that I needed to learn!
My whole life, I have relied on my intelligence, efforts, and just plain stubbornness to attempt to meet my basic needs and achieve my desired goals and results. I continually worked hard and invested a lot of energy and effort to obtain and secure things that I thought I needed. I have been ‘flapping my wings’ furiously my whole life to reach goals and destinations that I felt were what I wanted and/or needed.
This important lesson has caused me to make a conscious decision to do my best to mimic my Pelican friends. I do this by asking the Universe to bless me and guide me. Patiently waiting to ride its wave of blessings and direction.
I no longer continuously ‘flap my wings’ furiously. Instead, I relax and trust in the Universe, which loves and values me, to provide me with my basic needs. I no longer allow myself to be anxious or stressed.
This does not mean that I just stop making any effort in life. I just stop trying to control everything. Stop relying on my sheer will, blood, sweat, and tears to provide for my basic needs.
The Universe loves me and wants to bless me with its unlimited abundance.
It wants me to just relax and soar.
All I need to do is express my gratitude to the Universe, ask it for its abundance, and trust that it can provide for all of my needs, then wait patiently for its abundance and direction. Trusting the Universe to guide me to where I need to go, bringing me the people I need in my life, and creating circumstances that are a blessing to me.