Posted in:   Pagan Dreamer

Pagan Dreamer: A Lesson in Flying, Freedom and Fear

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What does it look like to live from a place of freedom, rather than fear?  How do we make this shift when fear has us in its grip?  These are big questions that are best answered through life experiences rather than words or theory.  So the Mysteries conspired to give me these experiences, using their foolproof formula for engaging me: my sleeping and waking dreams.

Choose freedom: loosen your grip on life; let go of your clenching fear; soften your body, listen from your root; it knows how to be and dance with what is.

Flying is a powerful metaphor for freedom.  For three days in a row, I had intense dreams about flying.  I don’t remember the details, and I don’t need to. Three is the magic number and the Mysteries had my attention: they were gifting me with one of their life-changing lessons, this one about flying.

At this particular time, I was flying a lot, commuting by floatplane from my island home to my City client on a weekly basis. The morning after the third dream, I found myself as the lone passenger seated in the cockpit beside my favorite pilot, a big-hearted man with a quirky sense of humor. Out of nowhere, he slid the control wheel to my side of the cockpit and said casually, “here, fly the plane.”

I was petrified. Operating mechanical vehicles isn’t one of my strengths.  I’ve forced myself, out of necessity, to master the basics of driving a car, but flying a little tin can of a floatplane above a stunning, but lethal, expanse of ocean and islands, was way, way out of my comfort zone.  My grip on the wheel gave fresh meaning to the expression white-knuckling it.

In response to my ramrod-stiff body language, my pilot friend simply said, “loosen your grip, listen from the seat of your pants, and don’t worry, I’m here.”

And I got, in the flash of that terrifying moment, that this was a waking dream of the most powerful kind. The Mysteries were speaking to me directly through my pilot friend, teaching me how to fly in my life from a place of freedom, not fear.

Loosen my grip on life, let go of my clenching, deadening fear; soften my body, listen from my root, from my flesh, it knows how to be and dance with what is; and don’t worry, I’m held by the love and presence of God, Goddess and the powers of life.

What a difficult lesson this is. Freedom is what we hunger for most, and yet seems most elusive. We’ve been conditioned to associate freedom with having more than enough money and things, which only further feeds the rigid fear and control-based state of mind that’s the antithesis of freedom.

There’s more to my waking-dream story. Within a week of my flying lesson, I was again commuting home by floatplane, alone with another pilot, but this time in a winter storm of epic proportions. There was zero visibility and the plane was being tossed about in the wild winds, like a child’s toy in the hands of rough-playing giants. Though my first response should’ve been oh-my-God-I’m-going-to-die fear, it wasn’t; I knew I was still dreaming awake with the Mysteries, and that I was being put to the test on their lesson on flying, freedom and fear.

So I emptied myself of all thoughts and reactions; I entered my body, deeply, fully, and let it move and rock, soft and open, with the violent turbulence of the plane. I saw, very clearly, that this was a potential death moment, and that my fear would gain me nothing. Death didn’t care if it took me rigid and terrified, or supple and open; it was indifferent whether I was in a state of fear or freedom. But my soul did. My life did. And the Mysteries did.

It was my choice, in this moment, and in every moment for the rest of my life, whether to fly from a place of fear or freedom. I chose freedom. Then the pilot said to me, “do you trust me?” And I said, “yes.” And he turned the plane around, taking us back and safely landing at our point of departure.

Believe it or not, I got in a floatplane the very next day and the exact same thing happened, and I made the exact same choices. Test and re-test taken. Test and re-test passed.

Life is going to give us what it’s going to give us: flights through easy, sunlit skies and turbulent, rock-us-to-our core storms. I don’t need to tell this to you. You know this yourself — that life is a tricky, bumpy business jostling you between very, very good and very, very bad experiences. And yet freedom is there, in every experience, to choose to fly free with whatever life throws your way.

In those times when a rocky moment has you in its grip, and fear suffocates your freedom, remember these words from God, Goddess, Spirit, Love, Self, or however you name the Mysteries that guide you: “loosen your grip, listen from the seat of your pants, and don’t worry, I’m here.”

Photo Credit: Vladimir Chuchadeev on Unsplash