Flying Lesson


(excerpt) by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

I am waiting for my case to come up

and I am waiting

for a rebirth of wonder

and I am waiting for someone

to really discover America

and wail

and I am waiting for the discovery

of a new symbolic western frontier

and I am waiting

for the American Eagle

to really spread its wings

and straighten up and fly right

and I am waiting

for the Age of Anxiety

to drop dead

and I am waiting

for the war to be fought

which will make the world safe

for anarchy

and I am waiting for the final withering away

of all governments

and I am perpetually awaiting

a rebirth of wonder


In our crazy modern world, we are not often encouraged to listen to our dreams. I’m not talking about our dreams for the future. We are certainly goaded to live, breathe, eat and sleep for that illusive, never ending pot-of-gold. Taught to keep reaching for that magical, perfect, glossily brochured future where everyone is thin, happy and young. Taught that if we don’t live for the future, there’s actually something wrong with us. We have the laziness disease.

What about now? What’s wrong with being happy now, with everything I apparently do not have? Watch out. If we all start getting happy now, you know what that means…it means that maybe we don’t need all this stuff we keep killing ourselves for. So, no, I’m not talking about those kinds of dreams. We have them. Fine. Try not to get lost. I’m talking about the dreams we have when we sleep. The ones most of us simply forget in the morning. The ones we are not taught or encouraged to remember. Some curious seekers may stumble upon a dream guide in the self-help aisle of the local Barnes and Nobles and then you’re basically on your own.

In my dream, a large eagle, larger than human, landed on the roof of a building. We saw each other, face-to-face.

I think these dreams are important.

It flew away and returned with several of its young. I guess it was a Mother bird, but I hadn’t thought of that until just now.

As I mentioned in an earlier post (Infinite Yumminess) there are three kinds of dream: normal every day processing, message from spirit and premonition.

The baby eagles were learning how to fly off the edge of the roof.

The biggest clue I have regarding the importance of dreams is how they make us feel. Have you ever woken up crying or laughing? Have you ever experienced a love, a longing, a passion, a hatred, a peacefulness to a much deeper extent while dreaming than you ever have while awake?

The Mother was trying to teach me too, how to fly. I was scared. I knew I had to–

Perhaps we’ve learned to discount the validity of dreams because we’ve also been taught to discount the validity of our feelings. We are ashamed to cry or show ecstasy, so we take a drug called ecstasy to make it alright. But our feelings are important. They are hugely important to the experience of living. We have been taught instead to value the mind above all else, to in fact live in the mind.

I have nothing against the mind. I love my mind. It dances. It skips. It’s a fucking merry-go-round of lust up in there. But we have to start remembering, honoring, our feelings because they tell us who we really are.

The mind creates The Fear.

Because we are somewhat cut-off from our feelings, we have difficulty healing ourselves. Feelings, you see, point us towards our healing. It sounds so simple, but the pain, the sadness, shows us what’s wrong. We need to allow ourselves to feel the pain when it’s there. At least some of it. I spent a few years of my life running from my pain. Everything I tried ended in disaster. I couldn’t take on anything new until I got down to business with my crap. My crappy pain led me to gratitude and humility which are healing values.

So, in addition to being cut-off from our dreams and feelings, as a result, we are also cut-off from our ability to heal ourselves. We are force-fed the lie that it is ok and appropriate to mask our pain and our feelings with pharmaceuticals.

When I talk about self-healing, I’m not referring simply to healing the physical body. That’s part of it, but the body will break down. The real healing I’m talking about is healing our hearts, minds and spirits. Healing our inner life. The body will die, of course, no matter how many sit-ups you do. No matter how much blue-green algae and B vitamins you ingest.

Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against the body. I love my body. It dances. It skips. It’s a fucking merry-go-round of lust up in there. But we have to start remembering, honoring, our feelings because they tell us who we really are.

Instead, we are mostly taught to hide from who we are by a culture that pushes us to keep going, without pause, from one thing to the next. We are so busy going, going, gone. We are going faster and faster all the time, multi-tasking sloppily through phone conversations while walking and driving and changing the shitty diapers. We are taught to be constantly moving, improving, for fear we’ll fall behind.

We are not taught, for the most part, to take time to get in touch with our feelings and to heal ourselves. Doing this is a life-long process. It never ends while we are here. We are not taught to balance healing time into our daily routines. It is not profitable. Most of us only allow ourselves to stop our constant doing when we are sick. Maybe, once every three months, we’ll take a personal day to go shoe shopping or whatever, but that’s not enough. We fear that if we drop the ball for a second, everything will collapse. If we leave the job we hate, we won’t be able to survive without the health insurance it (hopefully) provides.

As an aside, I think business interests in this country don’t want universal health care because they enjoy the power of having us all by the balls, doing shit we hate, just to keep our health insurance. To keep our heads and our family’s heads above the ever rising water line that they, the businesses, are controlling.

Fuck the water line.

I’m taking a bath.

The baby birds taught me that the first step in flying is falling and that the first step in falling is flying.

I want to learn how to fly.

I am flying.

I fly.



One response to “Flying Lesson

  • Erica Robinson

    Tai Tai Tai. I would write a lengthy review, but I am on this iPhone thing. This piece right here, may be my favorite of them all. And of course with your gorgeous work that’s hard to say.

    This is not only brilliant, but very relevant to what has been on my mind, or perhaps more accurately, what has been in my feelings and spirit lately.

    Ok. Now that it’s getting nicer and less icky out there, let’s really meet up for that tea next time.

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