Thoughts on perspective, patience, purpose and passion have been bouncing all over my brain today as I contemplate what it means to succeed at a goal. Often times, we enforce deadlines upon ourselves, arbitrarily, and then get angry at ourselves when we don’t meet them. The most beautiful thing dawned on me this afternoon as I washed the dishes, looking out the kitchen window: This grand, lovely mess of a life is gorgeous and is throbbing with changes and glowing surprises.
Let’s back up a few steps… about 2 months back, while jogging in Wash Park, I tripped and fell… breaking my left hand and splitting my chin open. I wore a hard cast for over a month but now it is off and the bone continues to heal. S-l-o-w-l-y. I can’t make a fist or even pick up a glass of water with my left hand and I am wearing a brace about 75% of the time.
Life is a series of experiences, each one of which makes us bigger, even though sometimes it is hard to realize this. For the world was built to develop character, and we must learn that the setbacks and grieves which we endure help us in our marching onward.
For a pilot, a broken hand means you are grounded until strength resumes. Especially when you fly a Cirrus with a left side stick.
When I completed the transcontinental flight from Oakland to Miami, I announced that my next goal would be a July 2012 flight to Paris to honor and celebrate Amelia Earhart’s 1932 flight across the pond. July would give me enough time to complete the instrument rating and move forward with plenty of training. Everything was set, the money, the support, the excitement… then CRASH. I broke the hand that controls the plane and communicates.
Anger, confusion, that burning feeling of *oh my god what am I going to do now* set in, in a very real way. There were tears, complaints, and plenty of four letter words for the first few weeks. This was a full blown, Amelia pity party and I was the only one invited. Not much of a party, right? It lasted a few days… then everything changed. I mean everything.
Isn’t it funny the way people, ideas, magic come into your life at just the right time? It was time for my big suck it up, get over yourself moment. People get hurt all the time. Plans get changed all the time. This is a small hurdle in an amazing journey of a life. Right around the same time that I was sulking over my casted arm, I came across a book that changed me in a very real way. The Firestarter Sessions by Danielle LaPorte helped me wrap my brain around what postponement means (and what it doesn’t), being open to the changes that will inevitably happen and seeing the big picture of accomplishment feels like. I read the book lying upside-down on my bed, I slept and I worked out to the sounds of the audio book, I even gave my mom a copy for mother’s day… This book got my head back on straight after things got wonky when my plans changed.
“Great minds have great purposes, others have wishes. Little minds are tamed and subdued by misfortune; but great minds rise above them.” – Washington Irving
What I realized is this: Paris is not going anywhere. The sky will always be ready for me to fly. Broken bones are temporary and often times, grow back stronger.
Understanding your relationship to your goals allows you to meet them as a fully present, respectful love-filled do-er. This broken bone helped me see that I am in a long term relationship with flight, with my goals to soar, to help others fly, to live my life in a constant state of curious adventure. The ups and downs are part of the beauty of this glorious flight. Reworking goals, getting stronger, never giving up… sounds so cliche right? Nope… cliches come from repetition and truth.
“Show me a person who doesn’t make mistakes and I’ll show you a person who doesn’t do anything.” – Leonard Rubino
When you fall, when things don’t work out the way you originally planned, when you get smacked by reality, it is ok to mope around for a minute… but listen here: it feels so much better to say it hurts, take care of yourself, and get back to business, even if that means changing your self imposed due dates and deadlines.
When things don’t go according to plan, tear up the plan and write a new one.
Whatever you do, keep rockin’ it to the best of your ability.
“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” – Dale Carnegie