What I learned from paragliding and a flying start to 2018!
In January, I set off for a weeks R&R, little knowing that a big dream would come true - here's what I learned from jumping off a big volcano in Tenerife....!
1. This Planet is Amazingly Beautiful Vitality and beauty are gifts of nature, for those who live according to its laws - Leonardo da Vinci I hope the video above allows you to enjoy the amazing beauty I witnessed (with thanks to Enminube Paragliding Team for photos and Gregor for his filming.) I felt so alive and connected to the air, the trees, the mountains and the power of life humming through this incredible Planet. I hope in future humans can treat all life with more respect and preserve a legacy of beauty.
2. Courage is Cumulative You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. - Eleanor Roosevelt As the Enminube Paragliding Team van wound its way up hairpin bends to the top of Mt Teide, the third tallest volcano in the world, I found myself thinking - 'If I managed to lead 500 people singing at Sing for Water, I can do this.' The deep breathing exercises which are part of every warm up we do at choir also came in very handy! :) Every time we take even the tiniest step out of our comfort zone, we grow our ability to act on the callings of our hearts, no matter how scary it feels. We can build on each experience to reach new heights we never thought possible.
3. Space liberates clear decision making Decision is power - Anthony Robbins Just like any other human being on the planet I can dither, deliberate, procrastinate and delay major decisions in my life. In the fresh sea air of Tenerife, away from the daily grist of London and to-do lists, I was able to make a very clear, confident decision that I would paraglide and follow through on it. When we give ourselves space to breathe - by going to the gym, meditating, being in nature etc - we are then able to reflect and clearly direct our course in life.
4. Gently held, dreams come true in their own time “Life is all about timing... the unreachable becomes reachable, the unavailable become available, the unattainable... attainable. Have the patience, wait it out It's all about timing.” - Stacy Charter I have always wanted to fly - it's just been there, like a little seed within me that every so often gets activated by watching birds, hot air balloons or hang gliders. To suddenly have it burst into flower amongst the poinsettias of Tenerife was a wonderful surprise and a reminder to trust that all things come along in their own good time and as the runes say 'what's yours will not pass you by.'
5. Human Connectivity builds Resilience “Connection is why we're here; it is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives." - Brene Brown Experienced in flying people through their fears, the Enimube Facebook Pageis full of exhilarated, glowing testimonies to the unique connection they build with those who paraglide with them. We were transformed from a group of strangers from four different countries into a team for an afternoon. Gregor, who kindly allowed me to use his head camera footage in the video, said that the experience of flying was even better when shared. The same bonding process happens in shared creative activities such as singing, where we can be real, take risks and grow together. I'm currently working towards a Community Choir Concert with St Christopher's Hospice Compassionate Neighbours programme which is building a network of volunteers to reduce social isolation by visiting those experiencing chronic, long term and terminal illness. I've also been very honoured to be included in discussions about Social Prescribing initiatives aiming to build hubs of creative and wellbeing activities. We all have our personal volcanoes to face - but when we are connected to others, research shows that we live longer, happier lives and face our challenges with increased resilience. When we connect, we fly.
Wishing you safe and happy flights of creative connection this February