(c) 2010 Jeanne Powell
"Learning to Fly"
all rights reserved
(Editor's note: We regret that a technical error prevented this entry from posting when it was submitted on May 6th, 2010.)
Learning to fly is easy. Just put aside everything you know to be true based on a lifetime of assumptions. This becomes easier to do when your literal back is against the proverbial brick wall:
 You need surgery now and won't be able to return to work for three months. Your rent? Not our problem.
 We cannot publish your book for two years at least; others have waited longer.
 Loved being your art patron; but I just lost everything in the real estate market.
 Can't offer you employment because you're greatly overqualified; sorry.
 You can write like this, and you're still working for someone else? Why?
Step off the cliff and trust that some version of wings will appear. You're more likely to do this when there are no other choices. Tears generally come first, along with the urgent need to throw salad plates against that brick wall. Why salad plates? They're easier to pitch than dinner plates. And you may require a lot of them, so best to visit a thrift store and purchase a pile first.
Some see flying without an airplane as a miracle. Miracles happen all the time, every day. Most of them we don't even notice. Lucille Clifton expressed gratitude in a wonderful poem about life trying to kill her one day, and failing. For example, you purchased coffee at the local cafe, and it did not scald you. That BMW driven by someone texting did not hit you. The hepatitis hidden in that green salad you bought simply passed you by. The boy you pined after in high school, who married someone else and became a serial killer? He didn't even notice you.
If you prefer not to be in despair when you learn to fly, then start the preliminary process now while things are good, relatively speaking:
 daily gratitude work, as in "I am grateful for...."
 daily forgiveness work -- this one takes a while.
 daily tithing or giving back -- money, a smile, a thoughtful gesture.
 promiscuous dissemination of childlike joy -- laughter from deep down, spontaneous dancing.
Think Zorba the Greek dancing in the sand. Think comedian Flip Wilson in character as Geraldine. Remember Tinker Bell from "Peter Pan" flying in delight because people believed in her. Think Dorothy's wonderful red shoes in "The Wizard of Oz," which seemed to take her all sorts of places; and then allow the possibility that you can create your own "wings."
(c) 2010 Jeanne Powell
Causes Jeanne Powell Supports
Union of Concerned Scientists, VVAW (Vietnam Veterans Against War), Doctors Without Borders, Waterkeeper Alliance, PSR (Physicians for Social Responsibility...