I love love love the new Beauty and the Beast movie. One of the best parts, of course, is the Beast’s library, so I wrote “Belle Would Be Enchanted by These 10 Lovely Libraries in Hotels” for USA Today 10Best.Read All Entries
flying lessons by pamela hale
It’s never too late to soar, as healer/speaker/author Pamela Hale learned in her late 50’s. In her new book, Flying Lessons: How to be the Pilot of Your Own Life, she shares her personal story of learning to fly and what it taught her about facing her deepest fears and discovering how to live more freely. Pam is also a two-time cancer survivor, and her memoir is inspiring and empowering.
Turning 70 tomorrow, Pam is proof that nothing can stop us and that we can continue — or start — to fly later in life. We’re thrilled to be able to celebrate her birthday with a guest post from her. Happy birthday, Pam, and long may you fly!
Back when I was a mere child of 57, I managed to earn my private pilot’s license – despite the minefield of fears I had to cross to get that little piece of paper.
You’d think that the privilege of sharing a small plane with my pilot husband, and getting to train with a talented and supportive female instructor, would make me feel great about myself. Not so. Flying became the area where my fears and self-doubts were displayed to me in their full regalia. My self-esteem and my sense of humor were nowhere to be found. But recovering them was only half the story.
Let me backtrack to when I was six. At that point, I believed I could fly on my own power. I knew it was just a matter of practice.
To prove it, I gave myself my first flying lessons from the ladder of my swing set. I would climb up, turn around and face the yard, gather the image of flying into my body, spread my arms out … and jump!
The fact that I usually made green body prints in the grass didn’t discourage me. And neither did the fact that my family situation wasn’t exactly perfect. Some mysterious force within me believed I could rise above it all and fly, like a goddess in a myth.
Fast forward to the ripe old age of forty. Probably feeling death was imminent, I made a bucket list. On it was “Get private pilot’s license,” even though I’d never been in a small plane, didn’t know anyone who owned one, and didn’t have the money. But I had the desire, probably because my biological father had been a pilot and was tragically shot down and killed in World War II, when I was just a baby.
By the time I had flown with my husband for eight years and finally had gotten around to taking lessons, I had a lot invested. And I had spent a lifetime trying to prove I was enough. Here was another opportunity.
My book title, Flying Lessons: How to Be the Pilot of Your Own Life, says it all.The lessons I learned from Clio, the voice of reason and confidence, became lessons for life. Lessons that I would use in two bouts with breast cancer and in thousands of other situations.
We teach what we have to learn. And my metaphor for what I want to learn is flight. I not only had the chance to learn to fly an airplane; I’ve had the opportunity to be trained in energy medicine and spiritual mentoring, and to find my life’s work … on the “downhill” side of life.
Today, I’m about to turn 70, and my heart is full of gratitude. Every birthday is a gift. I love working with clients, speaking to audiences about stories of flying in the air and in our lives, and taking aerial photographs from our Cessna 182.
And you? You are the heroine of your own journey. Your soul already knows how to fly, and now the adventure is to work with those winds so that you can spread your wings, soar, and navigate the uncharted territory we all face in today’s world.
So take a moment and imagine that you have invisible but powerful wings. Wiggle them! Close your eyes and imagine lifting off – and flying.
After all, it’s just a matter of practice!