My Musings – Flight
I have always dreamed of flying. Usually in my dreams, I am running across a field when suddenly I spread my arms and take flight. Have you ever had one of those dreams? I hope so. They are amazing. When I was growing up in Louisiana, I would lug my Schwinn banana seat bike up the levee just down the street from my house. Once I reached the top, I’d take a quick moment to catch my breath and check for any cars coming down Island Drive, and then “whoosh” I would go flying down the levee. I could make it all the way from the top of the levee to my driveway three blocks away without pedaling once. My childhood offered up several different flight opportunities. My grandfather raised horses, so I started riding about the same time I started walking. I found my first soul mate in a pinto pony named Sparky who loved to fly as much as I did. Sparky had a well-earned reputation for “running away” with riders. My sisters and cousins used tie-downs when riding Sparky to keep his head lowered and make it harder for him to run at top speed. I was pretty sure Sparky wanted to be tied down about as much as I did. I loved nothing more than letting him “have his head” and run as fast as his painted legs could carry us. Racing through the cotton fields on Sparky was my idea of heaven.
Time has passed, but my love of flying has not. These days it often takes the form of travel. Airports make my heart flutter with excitement – so many flight paths all waiting to be explored. Ironically, I am typing this from 30,000 ft. above the earth. Last month, I traveled to Zambia on a Talking Circle Tour with Gloria Steinem and a group of extraordinary change makers. We spoke with political leaders, community members, teachers, students, journalists, doctors, midwives, NGO directors, etc. We discussed the challenges facing women and girls in Zambia and visited programs that are addressing them. We also listened to the personal stories of the women and girls we met. They shared their struggles, their dreams, and even their super powers. Natasha is 16 and wants to be a journalist so she can tell her people what is happening in the world, Linda wants to be a farmer because she loves to grow things, Farai wants to stay in school but has a friend who is being married off at 14, Faith wants to be a teacher and her super power is singing. When we look at the issues – like child marriage – we often feel how different our lives are from each other. When we listen to individual stories, we hear how similar we really are.
“Imagine we are all linked, rather than ranked.” ~ Gloria Steinem
We are all linked through our humanity – our daily lives may be different, but we all have struggles, dreams, and super powers to share with the world. One of the greatest gifts of traveling is the expansion it brings to our minds, hearts, and sense of community. We are all linked. The message is especially potent at this particular time when so many are trying to tell us otherwise. We get so many messages of us vs. them, so many people wanting to rank us based on the color of our skin, the gender we identify with, where we were born, who we love, how we worship. We must remember there is no “them.” We hear so much hate. Hate may be loud, but love is stronger. We must turn up the volume of our love.
“Frankly, there isn’t anyone you couldn’t learn to love once you’ve heard their story.” ~ Mr. Rogers
Perhaps that is why I am so passionate about sharing stories. It is my way of learning to love people. Traveling allows me access to even more stories, even more love. The further I fly, the more stories I gather, stories of women and girls overcoming obstacles to realize their fullest potential, using their super powers to create positive change in the world, and refusing to stay put in the tiny boxes that society tries to keep them confined in. These stories lift me up; they are currents of inspiration on which I can fly. Yes, it all comes back to flight for me. My mother used to call me “a bird.” She had no idea how right she was. That is one of the reasons I am over-the-moon excited to announce my new partnership with Oiselle, a women’s running apparel company committed to lifting women up and, yes, named after the French word for bird. This past March, we invited Oiselle founder Sally Bergesen to present at our 4th annual Muse Conference.
“At 47, Bergesen looks a bit like Mary Tyler Moore. Warm smile, smooth brown hair, nice eyes—your new friend. But over the past year, she’s started to emerge as a different pop-culture icon entirely: the unassuming rebel, a fledgling Erin Brockovich.” ~ Outside Magazine, June 2016
Sally brought some of her team with her. I don’t want to speak for them but, for me, it was love at first flight. I wanted them all to be my new friends. A few months later the Oiselle team ~ Sally, along with Sarah Lesko and Lauren Fleshman ~ confirmed that we were indeed birds of a feather by created a new program called Oiselle Muses.
“We’ve discovered that sponsoring pro athletes is just one way we can “woman up” in this world. We also greatly admire women who, like us, use running and sport to inspire other pursuits. So it is with great pleasure that we introduce Oiselle Muses: a group of women (we’re starting with six!) who inspire us with their fire, their character, and their dedication to creating positive change in the world. And perhaps most importantly, their willingness to be loud and proud with their stories – so we can all share, learn, grow.” ~ Dr. Lesko (aka: Sarah)
I am thrilled to say that I am now officially a Oiselle Muse. I can’t wait to introduce you to the rest of the flock: Jill Catherine, Melody Moore, Nikki Myers, Kyleanne Hunter, and Lauryn Williams, along with Oiselle’s leading ladies Sally, Sarah, and Lauren. My hope is that their stories will provide you with currents of inspiration.
“When we can spread our own wings and take flight, we experience freedom. When we can spread our wings and fly with others, we experience harmony.” ~ Jill Catherine
Head Up, Wings Out.
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