Learning to Fly — Team Flower Workshop
This summer I was on the coast, and I learned how to fly. What I learned is invaluable, and today I'd like to share it with you.
This is a long post, probably the longest I've written in a while, but I promise it's worth the read, and we all need to read more… and write more. It slows the mind down, and brings it to a tranquil place. Did you know the normal state of the human brain is tranquil? I read that in an old fashioned printed paperback book a few weeks ago.
So rewind — I'm driving to the coast, and this little line was impressed on my heart...
I'm teaching you to fly, so high, higher than a kite
Over and over again it came, along with a little tune. I quietly sang it for almost an hour on my drive. As I approached the island I had to wait at a drawbridge. It was here, as I watched several colorful kites fly in the breeze, that it occurred to me that I should actually learn how to fly.
I drove into town and there it was, a sign that said, "LEARN HOW TO FLY." It was a kite store. I thought about those kites on the bridge, and pulled in. Turns out they teach hang gliding classes on the dunes. I'll admit...my heart rate went up as I walked into that store. I'm adventurous, but being thousands of feet in the air does not sound appealing to me at all. Thankfully, I was informed I would just be a few feet off sand, with watchful eyes that would keep me happy and in one piece. Oh, and half of the experience would be in a classroom. I can do classrooms! Haha! I was assigned Tuesday at 10:00 a.m.
I drove to the site, singing my little tune. I sat down in the classroom and within 60 seconds I knew exactly why I was there. "Flying is easy," he said. "I'm going to show you a target, you're going to keep your eyes on it and relax."
Keep your eyes on the target and relax
There were, of course, a few other little nuances to learn. Things like checking that you are connected to the glider (which really does all the work for you), balance and opening your arms really wide to the sky so you can land on your feet (which are additionally all great life lessons). But that part about keeping your eyes focused and relaxing — that sunk into my mind so fast and deep. "I'll never forget this," I thought.
So there I am, with my harness, helmet and $8 pink flowered Forever 21 "fun" (sun) glasses on the dunes of North Carolina and the instructor calls for the first flyer. No joke, every single person turns and looks at ME! I didn't know any of these people.
So, off I go.
I got on the ground, latched myself into the glider, looked up at my instructor and asked for my target. He pointed out an island across the sound. "Keep your eyes on the target and relax, keep your eyes on the target and relax," I thought to myself.
Then he said something like, "We're going to stand up now, and I need you to run as fast as you can. You won't get very far. The glider will pick you up and carry you down the dune."
So I did, and I yelled "CLEAR" because that is what you do. He was right, I ran my little legs off for like 2 steps, then suddenly, I was in the air. I was, well, FLYING! When we got to the bottom he asked me what I did wrong. Haha! I thought I did a great job! I had no idea. "You need to relax more," he said.
Round two was better! "You know why that was awesome?" he said. "You were totally relaxed." Round three... the wind picked up, and I totally looked down! That really knocked my focus and in round four I lost it altogether. I tensed up as the wind picked up. I looked at the sand — even though I seriously thought I was doing everything right. It was eye opening. The fifth time was better, but let's just say I still have some work to do.
The instructor gave me my "flight details." West/Southwest, 18-25 mph. The details of that are less important than what the man who I reported them to said. "Whoa, we don't see that around here very often. Usually the wind comes from the opposite direction. It's the easiest to get off the ground in, but the hardest to control."
I pondered all of this in my heart, and shortly after the experience, maybe even on the ride back, I can't remember, I felt the peace of the Holy Spirit wash over me about the 2016 Workshop. You see, the 2015 Workshop was a hard one for me. Don't misunderstand or assume — I loved that event and all the people who were a part of it, but I didn't keep my eye on the target and I didn't relax. There was too much on my plate, too many moving pieces. From this, I seriously considered pulling the 2016 Workshop off the calendar permanently. However, I know why I started it, and to me, that is more important than the possibility of something being hard. Laura is handling the details for me now. I'm doing it. I'm pouring all the love and dreams in my heart out again. I've got a map (well, maps) in my little house office with scribbles, thoughts and dreams all over them. I'm asking the Lord to draw each attendee to the Workshop, whether a mile down the road or the whole way around the world, just like he does with the monarch butterflies. Because it's time to fly. Light and easy. Focused and relaxed.
Before I close, I'll share a little bit about the images you'll see and touch on that monarch butterfly I mentioned...
This was our farewell dinner in 2015. This dinner was inspired by Team Flower. The table was dressed by faithful, kind flower friends while I helped attendees with their arrangements and fielded questions inside.
You'll see a small monarch butterfly attached to each plate. The butterfly represents each of us. We are small (in the grand scheme of things), fragile, but so strong. If you don't know about the monarchs, they are the largest known insect migration in the world. They travel thousands of miles, from Canada to Mexico each year. As they fly along they are mostly alone, but they bump into each other along the way. When they get to their magic mountain in Mexico they are all together, thousands of them, and it is spectacular — truly.
Monarch also means "king" or "queen." You are a leader. Not in a bossy pants kind of way, but in a serving, giving kind of way. Your sweetness sets a new industry standard.
So, to summarize, we're alone (physically), but we bump into each other and are together sometimes. And those times are so sweet. We're sensitive and fragile, which supports our ability to notice the world and create amazing things that speak louder and encourage the world more deeply than we ever could with words. We are strong, which helps our resolve. We are leaders. We are setting industry standards — sweetness, kindness, long-suffering, generosity. And...
We are learning how to fly, so high
Keep your eyes on the target, relax, and to that I'll add — enjoy the view!
I didn't think it could happen, but I'm gushing with excitement about the 2016 Workshop. I can't wait to meet you. I already planned your welcome and your send-off. It's going to be spectacular, just like that Mexican mountaintop.
Photos: Holly Carlisle Photography // Location: North Carolina Arboretum // Linens: Enchantress in Silver Cloud by La Tavola // Catering: Savory Thyme Cafe // Chairs and China: Classic Event Rentals // Team: Emily of Kennedy Occasions, Deedie of Springvine, Marianne of RiverOaks, Ashley of Tinge and Holly of Rosegolden // Nikki from East West Vintage Rentals was a huge part of making this dinner come together, so special shout-out to her!
Inspired by Flight of the Butterflies. You have to see this film. Apparently the butterflies are underrated because I was in the theater with like 3 other people and I'm pretty sure I was the only one who cried their eyes out. Gosh, the beauty of people following their dreams moves me in a deep way. The man who discovered the mountain in Mexico worked his entire life with his wife on studying the monarchs. He started when he was little boy. It is so inspirational in several regards — a must see.