Lisa Mitchell

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Grounding is good. But, is flying better? In celebration of Wings.

Lisa Mitchell | Oct 2, 2014 | 5 comments


In celebration of wingsGrounding is important.  To know how to ground yourself is to have the capacity to regulate, stay present, and sustain engagement.  I’ve helped many clients use the very same breathing and visualization techniques that I use when I need to center myself or get calm inside my skin.  I rely on my ability to ground every hour of every day.  It’s necessary, it’s useful, it’s healthy.

But, lately, I’ve been thinking about flying. 

This is the time of year when the geese stop by the American River on their way south.  Sometimes they fly so close I can hear their wings. The sound their feathers makes is a bit like leaves rustling or grass swaying.  Flying seems effortless until you get that near to a flock and hear their wings’ muscled resistance against the wind currents. 

I’m inspired by flapping wings because it makes me think that flying is to birds as grounding is to humans.  When they fly, aren’t they calm inside their skin?  Aren’t they in their element, regulated, present, engaged?  Their soaring is our centering. 

It’s no wonder I have so many clients depict wings in their art.  Wings represent the exquisite combination of calm and exuberance.  Wings are freedom, power, speed, hope, unhindered imagination.  And, they enable a bird to be a bird, an angel to be an angel, and a mythical horse to be a mythical horse.

So, if grounding helps us become centered.  What can flying do for us?  Help us return to our essence?

In the face of seemingly unnavigable conflict or intransigent struggles, I’ve asked clients, “What would you do if you had wings?”  In art therapy sessions, I even invite clients to make themselves some wings so they can embrace the question with props. 

Dollar Store Leaves are perfect "feathers" for this winged reminder.

Dollar Store Leaves are perfect “feathers” for this winged reminder.

Sure enough, wings enable us to have a different perspective; to see things from another point of view.  Clients have been able to see that the relationship with which they are struggling is much more important than the problem at hand.  They’ve been able to put a bad day, a bad grade, or a bad decision in better perspective and see these as only part of their big, amazing lives.  For many, including myself, wings help assess from a more realistic vantage point.  I can know things, celebrate things, and take better stock when I see through my winged lens.

It’s Fall, the wind is perfect and there’s a lot of flying opportunity going on.  Maybe it’s time to make some wings and try them on?  What would you see differently if you were flying?  What would that perspective change for you?  And what might it change for your clients?

5 responses to “Grounding is good. But, is flying better? In celebration of Wings.”

  1. Julie says:

    Love the idea of “if you had wings” and using a multitude of media for expression. In some having wings may also add a spiritual element of protection, or angelic realm. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Vikki says:

    Love this post in lieu of my recent symbolic self portrait.wings helping us to return to our essence, freedom, power, speed,hope, unhindered imagination. Think I’ll soar around a bit and contemplate this. Thanks Lisa!

  3. Pam Blamey says:

    Thanks for this lovely post Lisa!

    I have a poem in my Commonplace Book, attributed to Guillaume Appollinaire:

    Come to the edge, he said.
    They said: We are afraid.
    Come to the edge, he said.
    They came. He pushed them
    and they flew.

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