Wings. Taking wing and taking a leap of faith.

Spreading Your Wings—Become Who You’re Meant to Be

I’ve always loved the symbolism of wings. To me, there are many attributes of spreading wings that have analogies in our lives. Starting with making the transition from dependent children to independent people. As children grow up, they spread their wings a little more each time they have a new experience. Unlike birds, however, we humans don’t leave the nest in one dramatic leap of faith, but in many little ones throughout our lives.

Still, wings and flight have always held a special place for many people. Our desire to fly, literally and figuratively, is ingrained in the human experience and highlights our adventurous spirit. Our adventures can be literal forays into the unexplored, or they can be adventures within ourselves as we spread our wings internally and take flight to explore our personal landscapes. But we all need to understand how and when to spread our wings and fly toward the lives we are meant to live.

The magic of wings

Flying has a magical quality for many people. For me, that took hold early, and I was flying single-engine airplanes as a teenager. I couldn’t wait to get to the airport for flying lessons, and when I took off and viewed the landscape from that third dimension, I felt transported to someplace else; I was able to access a different dimension inside myself. The magical feeling associated with flight never left me, and even when traveling a lot for work, with all of the crowds and hassles of post-9/11 airline flight, I always wanted a window seat, and the thrill of taking off never left me. To this day, many of my dreams include the ability to fly, and sometimes I awake thinking that it’s possible, if I only believe and try hard enough. I’m also a sucker for movies or TV shows about angels (e.g., Michael or Lucifer), and the most powerful moments in those shows are when the characters spread, or otherwise utilize, their wings. This underscores not only the deeply ingrained desire of humans to fly, but also the magical qualities of everything that goes with it.

Spreading your wings in different phases of life

All flight is a leap of faith. As we spread our wings in different phases of our lives, we grow as people. If we’re intentional about new experiences and treat them with a sense of adventure and a spirit of exploration, they can be as magical as flying. We have many small examples of growth throughout our lives. Some are more significant changes, in which the landscape of our lives shifts. In these instances, we have to spread our wings, take flight, and navigate our way on our journey. As children, our first day of getting on a bus and going to school on our own is certainly an example. Others might include our first part-time job, playing sports, and the big one, going away to college. In each of these instances, we lose part of our safety net and must begin to build our personal foundation that we rely on for the remainder of our lives. That foundation is made up of the wisdom of experience, increased confidence, and connections to people we meet along the way.

As we progress through our lives, we have other instances of continuing to spread our wings. These include our first professional job (and each time we take on a new responsibility), getting married, and having children. In each of these cases, we’re flying into the unknown—we’re having experiences that are totally new to us, and so we have to learn the lay of the land and be able to navigate over it. Our opportunities for spreading our wings should never end as we continue to look for opportunities to grow.

Becoming a fully fledged person

To make the wing analogy literal for a moment, consider a fledgling bird leaving the nest for the first time. It will likely falter at first but will ultimately take wing and become a fully-fledged flier. The word “fledge” means to develop wing feathers that are large enough for flight. As people fledge, we learn to spread our wings. We still are flying into the unknown, but the experience of flying—of taking that leap of faith—becomes something we’re accustomed to. We become experienced flyers.

Along with this experience, we may become jaded and feel there is nowhere new to fly. Our wings and what they symbolize in ourselves may atrophy. The trick is never to use our experience in spreading our wings as an excuse not to continue to fly into unknown territories. Being fledged and having experience spreading our wings should never make us feel as if there’s nothing more to explore. It should have the opposite effect. It should help us understand that we’re in a better place to fly more, to experience more. If we’re lucky, we’ll continue to find experiences that make us feel like that fledgling bird again—to make us feel that spark of excitement as we try something new and challenging, while at the same time using our wisdom and confidence to fly higher and higher.

We can all learn how to fly, and we should find a way to spread our wings every day.

Our Wings, Ourselves

What do they mean?
What can they do?
Are they real?

Wings on a bird,
   give it flight,
   change its world.
What do they feel?

Wings for us
   on a plane,
   in our hearts,
deep down, a part of us.

We can soar
   above the ground
   above our lives
to transcend who we are

We transform
   to someone new
   still us, but someone else.
An evolution.   

A leap of faith
   into the abyss
   into the unknown
An adventure within

We soar on wings.
   that we create
   that we unfurl.
Part of who we are.

You may also like

Leave a comment