There’s a saying, that parents should give their children both wings to fly and roots to anchor them. I feel a bit like a child of the world who is now acutely aware of both roots and wings in my life, but not always in the way I expected.
On the road, returning home after my six-month odyssey through the southern U.S., I had mixed feelings about ending my travels. During this time, I had laid many fears and hurts to rest, opened myself to possibilities and rediscovered joy. Many of my friends and family had traveled with me in spirit, and at the very least I hope I inspired them not to settle for things that don’t make them happy. I found a happiness I hadn’t felt since my teens. In that happiness was also hope and a depth of spirit I have craved for all these decades. The only missing piece was the people who have made me who I am—my parents, children, sister, extended family and friends—not to mention several important business colleagues who kept in touch by phone and email when I was on the road. It just wasn’t the same as looking each other in the eye over lunch. Being away so long showed me how much my heart is connected to these people in Nebraska. The question in my mind now is, “How will I stretch my wings?”
I am the kind of person who too easily becomes jaded and slow when there is too much of a routine. Ironically, I also need structure to function. And I too easily accept routine without a thought to the way it can erode my spirit and thwart my plans. As with many things in life, I see that the answer is balance.
I need to create structure to contain my work and make achievement, play and rest possible. But when structure begins to take away from my energy and goals, I need to break out of it and allow my wings to spread. I believe I can do this in small ways now that I am far from spectacular vistas and tantalizing unknown quantities. Many of the ways I can now spread my wings are physical. In the middle of my routine day, I move over to the treadmill and do a lap with a smile on my face, kicking up my heels as high as possible. I step out to the patio with a soda and breathe deeply, allowing any thought of routine to slip out of my mind so I can focus purely on a beautiful thing: water tinkling from the pond fountain, perfect daisies on the stem, or floaty clouds. I feel the air, warm or cool, on my skin and smell for familiar cut grass, sweet blossoms and hot cement. This is how I stretch my spiritual muscles—the same ones I stretched when I hiked into the Grand Canyon, walked barefoot on Florida beaches and people-watched in Houston’s toniest mall.
It is good to be home where my heart is rooted. And now I realize I can stretch my wings and fly—even here.