“The gull sees farthest who flies highest.”
~Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull
I’d been afforded many days of bliss, and much to my chagrin, yesterday I felt a wave of melancholy wash over and settle in. It wasn’t due to heat, humidity, hormones or fatigue.
It was just time to learn again. Growth comes when I feel weighed down – when another ballast must be untied in order for me to go higher and deeper. And I’m not open to growth when I’m comfortable, content, or blissful. I haven’t mastered that one yet. It’s when I suddenly realize I’m close to the ground again that I start to reflect…
In the meantime…
I wrapped my towel around my middle and reluctantly went to the beach. I’d wanted to work on some unfinished artwork, but my pen broke. A nap was tempting, but two little boys needed their mom. So, we drove to a very windy beach where I sat in the sand, watching the massive waves swallow and spit out my boys.
Fast. Fasting always helps by quieting my mind and helping me tap into the deeper spiritual part of me. So, I started a fast. Moments later the lessons began.
“Notice how you’re not in the water. You love the water. Do you know why you don’t feel like swimming?
“Yeah! I’m in a horrible mood and can’t shake it this time.”
“No. I brought you here to watch them.”
“Them” were the seagulls.
I know all about seagulls from the dump, playgrounds, and parking lots where I’ve seen them swoop down on unsuspecting nibblers of food, stealing whatever they could grab a hold of and fly away with. Scavengers of freebies, they are.
For a few minutes I watched four gulls floating with the air currents, barely needing to flap, staying aloft effortlessly. I didn’t know what I was supposed to be learning or understanding. There was a lot of symbolism there, but nothing that lifted my thoughts higher. They were tremendous, those gulls were. There was such a stark contrast between the gulls on the beach, picking the sand around the beach-goers, doing what they’d been taught to do by generations of gulls in the area, and the four peaceful ones overhead. The floaters were perfection to me. Everything they did seemed effortless.
I felt like they were wiser – trying to teach me something about where my melancholy was coming from. Maybe it comes from the same place as yours?
You see, I seek wisdom. All the time, in everything. Nobody knows that. But I do.
It wasn’t that I was sad because I wasn’t blissful, if that makes any sense. I wasn’t down at all. I just yearned to be higher.
(Bear with me…I’m working this out!)
When there was more ocean inside James and Kenny than outside, we left the beach behind and started for home.
As we drove I was reminded of a book I’d read when I was a teenager: Jonathan Livingston Seagull. by Richard Bach. I remembered none of it, but couldn’t shake it from my thoughts. So I came home and listened to it on Youtube (part 2 here) I was comforted and uplifted as I was reminded again of spiritual growth born of flight to “higher” places. (You can read a brief synopsis of it here.)
I’m not searching for truth. I’ve found a lot of it and am sure I’ll stay open to more. I’m on the right path. I’m struggling for freedom to feel like I’m not “living to eat”, but instead, “living to fly.” Do you ever feel like that?
Flying makes people nervous. They like it for a while, but eating always calls with a louder voice, as does providing shelter, paying bills, and managing the stuff that makes those things possible. It usually means being in and of the world more than feeling joy and learning from it.
So, I choose to “fly” while doing normal, every day things, like sitting on a beach, in the middle of an ordinary day, with gulls as my teachers. But there are other teachers – nature being the best and easiest to access. I’ve learned truths from studying the nature of things like fire, and trees, and have journals full of notes about my insights.
Maybe there are many people sitting on beaches around the world also quietly and imperceptibly learning from gulls. All I know is that….
“We choose our next world through what we learn in this one. Learn nothing, and the next world is the same as this one, all the same limitations and lead weights to overcome.” ~ Richard Bach, JLS
…and I want to fly higher.
Wanna fly with me? 🙂