“I didn’t plan it, but I’m on my way…higher and higher…feels like I’m flying but I’m sure to crash if I don’t find a way to come down, Damn you gravity, I’d do better if you weren’t around.” Hussy Hicks, Flying

Many years ago I heard a little voice say, Take a dive class. Say what, I said. Sign up for a dive class, it replied. Whatever…I ignored it. But I kept hearing it and kept ignoring it until one day I was driving down the street and the ‘voice’ was so loud I pulled into a parking spot, looked up a dive shop and called to schedule the class. Satisfied? I said into thin air.

Of course, that changed my life. Diving became a spiritual practice after the learning curve of gauges, partial pressures, theoretical compartmental off-gasing, and everything else that goes with staying alive and healthy while breathing compressed air under the pressure of water. I became more at home underwater than I felt walking around on two legs. I loved the beauty, feeling of weightlessness, communion—utter communion—with a magical realm so amazing I could scarcely be away from it.

When I first learned to dive, a dear friend…a pilot and a diver…told me that diving was as close to flying as we can get because of the weightlessness. Once, when diving in a cave in Mexico that had a ceiling probably three stories tall, I totally understood what Hans meant. The water was so crystal clear that it took concentration to not get dizzy from the ‘height.’ I was flying. Seriously…flying underwater.

A few weeks ago, I was walking the spiral labyrinth and glanced down as I neared the center. I wonder what that would look like from the air? I didn’t think much about it and continued. The next day…and the next…and well, you know…I kept hearing that question. And then I began pondering flight and how seeing different perspectives can change life. Diving did that for me…completely changed my life for the better. Flying? I have never wanted to be a pilot. Oh…but drones…that’s doable.

The inner dialogue continued, I argued with and dismissed the ideas that began interacting with me. But the ‘voice’ wouldn’t shut up. So, I emailed a couple of drone-flying friends, started reading about unmanned do-hickeys called drones and the FAA rules. Finally, I recalled that voice that prompted me (okay…it nagged me) to sign up for a scuba class and so I decided…what the heck!

I ordered the drone and registered it with the FAA and ordered two different prep courses to take the exam for remote pilot. I didn’t want to be a commercial pilot but if I use any drone footage or images for promoting my work or if I traded images for a place to fly or for anything, I would be, in the eyes of the FAA and the state of NC, a commercial remote pilot. So I spent a few weeks studying, took the exam at an airport near Gatlinburg, and passed. WOO HOO!

Meanwhile, I watched YouTube videos on the drone I purchased and put it in beginner mode to limit the height and distance from the home point and finally, after a bit of shaking and fretting, started flying.

The entire process brought back similar feelings I had when I first started learning to cave dive. Of course, it was not as physically intense but the emotions that arose were surprising. There was fear of flying into a tree or my home or the drone deciding to act goofy and fly off, never to be found. I think I read too much of the drone forum I joined.

I tracked the emotions…aside from the anxiety of financial loss if I lost the drone or had it stuck in the top of a tree…and found that familiar experience of TRUST and SURRENDER playing out once more. As a diver, but especially a cave diver, I had to learn to trust myself on a very deep level and along with trust, I had to learn to surrender. Not a fatalistic kind of surrender, rather an empowered surrender that comes when I prepare and learn and have done everything I can to prepare…and then I just have to do it. Let go. Plunge in. Leap up.

I say diving changed my life because it led me to a deeper experience of being alive. It showed me old fears, new fears…gave a perspective I had never known. What is it like to be underwater, on a coral reef, in an underwater cave, in the inner cave of my psyche? How could I know unless I went there—unless I trusted myself to take the journey to underwater caves and my own inner depths. And so it is with this new experience of flying.

What is it like to leap up, to expand into the vastness of space? And even though it’s not me physically flying, I am controlling a device that is totally dependent on me navigating the sky safely.

I guess the biggest idea to consider is that the things that call us are not necessarily calling us to a career or to earning ga-zillions of dollars. Perhaps they call us to step into unchartered soulscape and expand our journey inward. Thankfully, I have come to know this truth on a deep level in my life. Perhaps it’s not a new career but another way to learn to trust myself, to surrender to that voice that calls me to new adventures within myself. Or perhaps it just comes down to…dive deep, then…fly high.

I view life as a pilgrimage and from the perspective of a journey interweaving inner and outer landscapes. I know the terrain of adventure and have treaded those unknown soul-scapes interweaving outdoor adventure with personal reflection and deepening. I do this with courage and profound awe at what Nature teaches me about my soul journey.

The inner journey to wholeness mirrors so perfectly the journeys of outer exploration to wild, unchartered landscapes. When we leave the familiar and known and take the great adventure of life, we feel the risks and uncertainty. Our task then is to build a bridge from the known to the vast and rich expanse of the unknown, inner realms. These inner realms are fertile soil that is rich and alive with potential and possibility.

Feels like I’m flying….I didn’t plan it, but I’m on my way higher and higher…Feels like I’m flying.” Hussy Hicks

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