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2020 APRIL | Before We Can Fly

Updated: Jan 19, 2022

How surely gravity’s law

strong as an ocean current,

takes hold of even the strongest thing

and pulls it toward the heart of the world.

Each thing –

each stone, blossom, child –

is held in place.

Only we, in our arrogance

push out beyond what we belong to

for some empty freedom.

If we surrendered

to earth’s intelligence

we could rise up rooted, like trees.

Instead we entangle ourselves

in knots of our own making

and struggle, lonely and confused.

So, like children, we begin again

to learn from the things,

because they are in God’s heart;

they have never left God.

This is what the things can teach us:

to fall,

patiently to trust our heaviness.

Even a bird has to do that

before it can fly.

~Rainer Maria Rilke, from Rilke's Book of Hours translated by

Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy

For more than three decades the brooding mysteries of Maria Ranier Rilke have drawn me toward my highest being in the world.

And now - amidst this remarkable global upheaval that buffets us - the paged breath of Rilke continues to extend his glimmering call to the way of stillness, remembering, and courage. In our spiraling new reality, his clarion call invites us to a liberating surrender that pulls us to "the heart of the world."

Over these weeks just past - our global reset billowing about us - Rilke's words have allowed me to remember, to feel me own weight, to accept, surrender. Right here. Right now.

In the midst of my own very small stillness - falling from everything that has held me high above the earth - accepting that we are being readied for next.

With our surrender we come home to the primal belonging that cradles, weights, and challenges. Here we know what it is to be wildly loved. Here we become brave children, again. Here we become fearless, readied for the wonder of rising.

Will we learn to fly as all we thought safe and secure falls away? Will we go forth as wild and brave children again, deeply loved and courageous?

I wonder what will be our legacy? Will we allow ourselves to bear the weight of being still, being loved, being brave - becoming? Will we be known as "a generation that became still" and then transformed the world?

"What is safe? What is secure? Who will catch me?" We may never fully know, until we fall... Friends, we shall not return to normal. We are being prepared to fly.

During this recreating season, may we all become still. May all who lead, and suffer, and work, and love, and care amidst this recreating chaos- discover afresh what it is to be cradled... "like children, stones, blossoms." May we welcome this gravity. May we surrender to the deep forces at our center. May our leaders, government, and spiritual guides surrender as well.

As chaos and clatter drop away, we discover the necessary surrender...

Before we fly.

Be well.




Gently begin with at least one spacious, deep, centering breath.

Set my intention to receive wisdom and a shift in perspective.


What values and experiences draw me to the heart of my world?

What is one area of life I can imagine surrendering or at least releasing a small amount of control?

When is a time I experienced "flying"? What were my energy, emotions, sensations, and mood like?

What benefits can I imagine in life, and work, and relationships if I surrender now?


Determine one action that will support my perspective shift.

Imagine the cascade of impact from my new perspective.


Allow my body to savor the physical experience of this shift - such as relief, release, laughter, delight, surprise, calm - to receive the full benefit of your practice.

Gently transition with at least one spacious, deep, centering breath of gratitude that you took this time for yourself.

Move forward into the day with renewing eyes that embrace possibility.

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