Fly High!

Yesterday I learned to fly an airplane.

Why? ….Why not? What a great idea to try something I have never done before.

Mark and I spent a weekend visiting friends in Massachusetts, near a small family owned airport in Marlboro, and because of this proximity, Mark got an idea for me to learn to fly a plane. Mark is a professional helicopter pilot, and I keep hearing his fascinating stories about learning to fly and his experiences up in the sky. So I agreed.

The funny thing was that I was not afraid. I never flew a small plane and never even sat in one. I did not know what to expect. I was not scared of this unknown experience.  Mostly I was curious and excited about that thing that I did not know. It never entered my mind to be afraid of something that I did not know how to do, or whether I could do it. I was sure that I would have fun and that I would not only survive, but be enriched by that experience.

And I did. And I was.

As the plane took off, flying low over the trees, I began experiencing sensations in my body I never had before, that I was not sure how to respond to. Yeah, when the seat goes from under you, it was kind of unusual. And before I responded with a thought, I took a breath and listened to my sensations a little closer with curiosity and a challenge to stay calm.

There was no intellectual reasoning. No words. It was quiet in my head.  Just feeling the sensations and moving through a series of feeling the sensations as I sent the plane to climb up to 1800 feet, turning it sideways to circle the area, showing a dim view of the city of Boston, a large bird right in front, a shopping mall below, a water reservoir, endless forest areas, little plans of houses with thin ribbons of roads. At one point I let go of the controls as the plane steadily flew forward, all by itself. That machine is clever! The time flew by quickly, and before I knew it I was on my way back to the landing strip barely visible in between the trees.

Without judging my experience while flying I was experiencing interchangeably an excitement about the unknown further, quick realization that I am a little spec of being in a matchbox up in the clouds, and a vast continuos calmness of feeling of belonging up there just as easily as I belong on the ground.

I brought back with me a sense of accomplishment, a sensation of another cool thing I have done in my life, with excitement and fascination with my own coolness, and a sense of how it is when I am just in the moment feeling sensations in my body without thought, my mouth open with awe. What a great experience.

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