You don’t have to listen long to find something about which to be anxious these days. Discussions of the future of the economy, the ongoing war in Iraq, and worry about what the next President will have to face are as ubiquitous as fleas on a dog. No wonder we find ourselves depressed.

Such is the case with bad news. The weight of it will always act with gravitational pull on the soul, pressing us downward instead of up.

It always takes more energy to fly than to freefall.

In order to sky dive, all one needs is a height from which to jump, and a reason to take the first step. Whether it’s out of an airplane or off a base like a suspension bridge, once you say go, you let the natural laws of physics take its course. Gravity doesn’t care if you have wings or a parachute. It will work on you regardless.

But the downward pressure can be counteracted and used to one’s advantage. Engineers tell us that a condition known as lift can be achieved if the right dynamics are present. But it requires significant forethought and effort to make sure lift is maintained, otherwise, the airborne body aloft comes crashing to the ground.

Winter has a similar effect on some people. Known as SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder, the combination of cold air, fewer hours of sunlight and less physical activity can act against the psyche as effortlessly as gravity on the rock you toss from the cliff.

Overcoming SAD won’t happen by chance. It takes determination, and the help of others. Orville and Wilbur had each other. The 747 doesn’t get airborne because of one person. Yes, it takes a concerted resolution to fly. Depression isn’t beaten alone.

Begin now to find ways to look forward this winter. Create diversions that take your mind off the bad news and onto the good. And they don’t have to be elaborate like a vacation to New York or a cruise to Jamaica. It might be as simple as going to a pumpkin patch or picking apples and baking what you bring back, savoring the aroma and flavor as a result.

And don’t go by yourself.

Learning to fly when you ain’t got wings

One thought on “Learning to fly when you ain’t got wings

  • October 7, 2008 at 5:48 pm

    thank you. this is far more meaningful to me than to most, i think.

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