I hope you had a lovely day yesterday, dear reader! I did. I had a lie in. I studied (I think it’s becoming an obsession!) and then I went to friends for a late lunch, played with their 7 month old granddaughter. The day drifted happily into an afternoon of playing games and watching strange programmes on TV – those ones especially reserved for Christmas day viewing!!
And I didn’t bolt!!
So this year was better than last, which was better than the one before! Small steps!
A great friend of mine who became world champion glider pilot many years ago, said the art of winning was not to look back. Not wishing you’d taken that extra thermal or extra 100 feet or so to gain that little bit more height. Because as he so succinctly put it:
The situation you’re in is the situation you’re in.
And the only way to keep airborne is to deal with the situation you’re in there and then, and not waste one moment of brain power or energy wishing you’d done something different before. Use the knowledge you have and the knowledge you’ve just gained as a positive, and with that new found knowledge and your ability, concentrate on dealing with your NOW, to keep in the air and keep moving forward and this time in the next thermal climb a few more 100 feet so you can improve your chances of winning.
So dear reader may you pull on the resources and brilliant ability within you to fly your own particular course and win your personal competition.
This is getting harder! What to tell you about me that you don’t know already? That’s presuming you’ve waded through all my previous posts – which dear reader, for your own sanity, I will totally understand you not doing!
Number 5 – gliding
OK I know you all know I used to glide as a hobby but here’s a couple of gliding stories:
I went solo in a glider – at 16 – so before I could drive a car. I remember the flight so vividly! I was towed up behind the towplane to 2000 ft. I remember not wishing to release. A sort of “Don’t leave me up here on my own” moment! My first moment of terror. Little did I know how many more I would have!
A few years later and part of gaining my next gliding certificate (Silver C) I needed to do a flight of at least 50kms landing at a different place! I set off full of trepidation! My hate of ‘leaving home’ nearly got the better of me. So I adopted the ‘go for it’ approach. The ‘don’t look back’. So I shot off determined to get out of range of home. I did. So much so I didn’t bother to stop to gain any height by using thermals.
I landed in a field about 10 miles from home. Overcome with relief at having got myself safely on the ground without breaking anything and have accomplished my first landing in a field I marched off to find the farmer. I bumped into a young lad and asked where I could find him. Rather sheepishly he took me to an office and said “Headmaster I’ve brought this lady to see you”.
I was somewhat surprised as the place didn’t look like a school. It wasn’t. It was an Approved School (a young offenders institution!). I spent the entire afternoon there waiting for the gliding club to come and get me! I was the most popular 21 yr old within miles. None of these young offenders having clapped eyes on a girl for months and months! I was incredibly well looked after and when the glider trailer finally rolled up we had more helpers than we knew what to do with!
3.00am is a pointless time of day or should that be night!!
That great moment when I still find myself wide awake on occasions (though less and less which is good!)
beat myself up ask myself ludicrously stupid questions for which there is clearly going to be no answer, satisfactory or otherwise. When I wonder what the ‘point’ is. Or come to that where the point is! Navigation was never my strong point!
When I used to glide (pics of my glider above)
I used to turn the map round so I always had the direction I was flying in going ‘north’ or ‘south’. Difficult when you’re going round and round in circles trying to gain height (actually I left the map alone at those moments). Did I ever get lost? Sometimes! But never completely and totally. My circle of uncertainty had moments of being fairly large but never enough to cover the whole damned map! Did I ever scare myself? You bet! A couple of times I totally terrified myself!
My life right now seems a bit like a cross-country glider flight in conditions when staying home would have been the better option. When I seem to have lost the map. When I struggle to gain height whilst others around me seem to be finding the strong lift and soaring above (something I was notoriously good at doing. The gliding club instructors always said that if there was a good bit of sink in the sky then Caroline would find it!).
The thing is to get to my next ‘turning point’ I need to have gained a good lot of height to glide off – and possibly – to have a slight clue as to the direction I should be going in!!
The other thing I was notorious for was refusing to go cross-country and sticking within gliding range of home! On the occasions that I did strike out and throw caution to the wind I felt inordinately proud of myself and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. You see once you’re out of gliding range of home you might as well keep going!
So my problem right now is courage! That and a map. That and a task – points on my map which I’ve decided I would like to fly to.
And lying in bed at 3.00am discussing with myself the “How could he have done this to me?” question and the myriad of others doesn’t solve anything! If it did Alex would be curled up next to me and I wouldn’t be discussing this with my teddy bear! (Who has had to ‘bear’ a great deal over all this!)
Hope your day soars dear reader.
Or as my father would have said – ‘My Girl you are causing your own rough air’ – a good flying analogy to what I do to myself – far too often!
To explain: In flying this is when the trainee pilot moves the controls around far too much causing the plane/glider to jerk around the sky instead of flying smoothly. It feels as if it’s the fault of the air – when actually it isn’t.
But I am doing this to me. I know by shifting my focus I am causing myself mental ‘jerks’ in my life- ups and downs – which is not giving me a smooth ride. The problem is – like the trainee pilot – I haven’t quite mastered all the techniques to give myself that smooth ride.
In flying it’s far easier than you might think. As my dear father used to say – ‘When all else fails – do nothing – the glider will fly itself’ – which is true. I wonder if the same applies in life. It used to. It doesn’t now. My brain doesn’t allow that as an option – especially at 3.00am when I wake tense, unhappy and often with a splitting headache. Then my mind focuses on the ‘Pain’ and off I go on a rollercoaster of What Ifs and Whys which is so unproductive and not at all conducive to sleep!
I know focusing on my future is what I must keep hold of and not let go. I hate the dips I’m giving myself. It’s all rather unnerving and I feel I am letting myself down!
My Progress Line!
But I am doing a great deal better. I’m in a far better place than I was 6 months ago. I have the tools to keep going forwards and I want and need to do this ‘on my own’. Hence my decision to reduce my Life Coaching sessions to every two weeks rather than once a week. Apart from anything else I need more to discuss and talk about when I go!