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Flying Lessons

by Libbie Kerr

Flying Lessons

This little bird avoids change ... an impossible scenario, or course. The chick has to shed the egg in order to fly. The very struggle of shedding the egg empowers and strengthens its life force. Without this struggle, the chick does not thrive.

We exercise physically to strengthen our body and go beyond our limits. We study, practice and work at learning a new skill to broaden our opportunities. But in the area of self-knowledge, we tend to say, "I am the way I am. I like this way of being." In fact, we don't even know where to begin to decipher the essence of who we are or even recognize this as a question. Self-knowledge requires reflection.

Jorge Waxemberg, in the book Words Matter,* offers us "flying lessons" to increase our self-knowledge. These exercises are immediately applicable and require only the desire to learn in a real way, through direct experience. It is one thing to understand, another to make understanding real through living experience.

On p. 29 of the book, the exercise of "not talking about ourselves" is offered to make us aware of others, give us space to listen and reflect, and allow us to stop our justifications and explanations. This scenario is suggested:

When we are with someone else or in a gathering, we set aside a pre-determined amount of time, based on the entire length of the gathering, in which we choose not to talk about ourselves—what's going on in our lives, or our feelings, actions or wishes.

Practicing this exercise can give us a glimpse of what it would be like to leave our personal shell and fly.

Enjoy your flying lessons!