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How I am Learning to Fly

Me, during one of my rare moments of liftoff.
Me, “flying,”…..sort of.

Last year my boyfriend and I watched a very sad (but good) movie.

It was called “Now is Good.”

One scene featured some kind of flying contraption – you went inside a clear tube, and somehow it made you float in the air.

Of course, I thought the filmmakers just made it up – something cool you can only do in movies.

When I found out the flying contraption is a real thing called ‘iFly,’ and that the newest one had just been built in the city of Houston where I live, I signed us right up!

Being a parrot mommy and all, I assumed I would be a natural.

Plus, I was so eager to discover if real-life flying would feel like the flying I do in my dreams (which feels very floaty yet controlled, and so wonderful!)

When we got to iFly, we quickly got all oriented and suited up (our ensemble included a full “flight suit,” goggles, ear plugs, AND helmet).

Then we entered the flying chamber, where we discovered the way we would fly is to be hit from below by 170 mph gusts of artificial “wind.”

When the instructors did it, they looked graceful and confident, like human birds.

When my boyfriend did it, he was a pure natural – he said it was so relaxing he nearly fell asleep in the chamber.

When I did it, I felt like a giant (and really pissed off) bird had just chewed me up, swallowed me, and then spit me back out again.

I emerged shaking and sweating, drool coating my chin and the top of my neck (the wind blew my mouth open and my saliva took its chance and made a break for it).

To make the whole experience even more memorable, the clear tube gave me a very clear view of my parents and friends, busy snapping pics and filming live videos of me panicking and crash-landing inside the flying chamber again and again.

I was so embarrassed – I couldn’t make myself lift off the ground (where I spent about 50 of my first 60 seconds pressed against the mesh floor).

I couldn’t keep my chin raised. I couldn’t remember the right posture. I couldn’t remember what my instructor’s hand signals meant.

It was my idea – my “bucket list” dream – to fly…and I couldn’t fly.

But then, right at the end of my second flight, there was this one beautiful moment when my (angel of mercy) instructor grabbed my suit handles and guided me all the way up, up, up into the highest reaches of the chamber, and we soared and floated and circled together, and I FLEW.

I flew.

Click on the image to watch me fly....with the help of my flying mentor.
Click on the image to watch me fly….with the help of my flying mentor.

But I didn’t fly on my own on my very first try.

I flew with help.

I didn’t succeed at flying AT ALL until I let my flying mentor help me – and then it was glorious….glorious enough to give me the courage to go back and try again.

p.s. Oh yes – we have already enrolled in our second course!

Today’s Takeaway: Perhaps you have no desire to learn to fly, but is there something – some skill, some hobby – you really want to learn, and all that is holding you back is your own insistence on doing it perfectly, for yourself, BY yourself, on your very first try? Would you be willing to allow a mentor to help you learn, and if so, how might that change your ability to achieve your goal?



How I am Learning to Fly

Shannon Cutts

Parrot, tortoise & box turtle mama. Writer. Author. Mentor. Champion of all people (and things) recovered and recovering.

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APA Reference
Cutts, S. (2019). How I am Learning to Fly. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 2, 2020, from


Last updated: 29 Mar 2019
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