Thursday, November 25, 2010


Once upon a time

there was a woman who

once was a child.

Her childhood was very complicated.

(Complicated—the word you use in place of all the others…)

And it helped form the person she became.

She made her way through the world

making mistakes

and falling in love…

looking all around

and learning


She gave birth to children of her own.

These children made her heart sing, and

they made life



beautiful, all at once.

She carried many of her old fears and joys into parenthood.

Some of her fears she could manage,

and others…came swooping in and took her legs out from under her.

One was a fear of flight.

Not of dream flight (where she could soar over tree tops),

Or of the flight of birds,

which she always thought was breathtaking.

But of herself. In flight.

From one physical place to another.

Air beneath and all around and nothing between her and the ground but hope.

This fear laid her bare.

This fear would not leave and she could not seem to let it go.

It was as though all the chaos of childhood

sat inside this one


And the curious thing was, this woman wore wings

on a piece of coloured wool on her wrist.

And her friend said she thought they were angel wings.

And the woman said, "That's interesting! I never saw them that way…"

And then,

quite suddenly and without thinking, she said:

"They are

the idea of Flight."

And in that moment,

as she said those words,

Flight did not terrify her.

It represented

hope, and

possibility, and

trust, and

faith, and


All the things Flight can be.

All the things that come when you let go of fear.

In less than two weeks, I am flying out to an island in the Pacific

to spread the ashes of my father.

A beautiful island

with people I love.

Which makes me scared (very)

and happy (very)

all at once.

It's complicated, isn't it?

I will fly over cloud and over sea

and the birds will follow and they will lead.

All of us


All of us


All of us



  1. Ahh Helena. I too always have had a fear of flying, along with other fears that have diminished over time. I have claustrophobia and was very sad that I could never fly. When I was in my 30's I moved to California with a boy. California is a long way from Alabama. Being such a Momma's girl I wasn't sure I could live so far from home. Christmas came and I missed my Mom so badly. The only way I could see her was to fly home. I was terrified. I listened to tapes, I has a Xanax, I talked myself through it 1000 times. And I did it, and like most things it was nothing like the terror I had built it up to be.

    I know you have wings, I have seen them in your posts. You will have a wonderful trip. I will be here in Alabama lifting you up.

    You are just an amazing woman and I am so glad I 'found' you. Hugs!!!

  2. Thank you so much, Karen—especially thank you for sharing your own story. It means a lot to me that you did.
    And I agree, absolutely, about the fear being bigger than the thing you fear. That is so true!
    I love the idea of you in Alabama, helping lift me up. What a wonderful image. Hugs back to you and Kei :)

  3. I relate in a tiny way. I have flown so, so much but since I had kids - all of a sudden it makes me nauseous and frightful. We leave shortly, too. We fly for almost 30 hours in the air with our kids (one way.) I will be thinking of you and these lovely words. Thank you!

  4. I do not have a fear of flying, but everything else, I understand. It is SO AGGRAVATING how much my childhood influences my adulthood; and in turn my own children's childhoods. How I fight that...


I love hearing from you! Thank you for your heartfelt, thoughtful responses—they lift me, and give me light.