Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Love The Spin You're In

My first husband was a flight instructor.  I remember when he started his own training to get his private pilot's license, he excitedly told me that one of his flight lessons would involve recovering from a spin.  The thought of intentionally stalling an airplane and causing an uncontrolled corkscrew descent terrified me!  While I couldn't share his excitement over this, I understood the logic.... recovering from a spin requires intentional steps that may go against what intuitively feels right to a novice.  Knowing the right corrective actions is mandatory for survival.

Life is pretty much the same way.  We all go through times when we feel like things are spinning out of control, and we expend tremendous amounts of energy trying to "fix" whatever has caused us to stall.  Out of desperation, we try whatever maneuvers we believe will quell our uncomfortable emotions in rapid fire succession, while our grasp of logic plummets toward the earth.

I'm not going to beat around the bush... this analogy struck me as I considered the recent stories of several single friends who found themselves upset over the outcome of dating relationships.  In the process of seeking their "happily ever after", their enjoyment of life stalled.  As their attention became focused on "fixing" what was broken, their innate reactions proved counter productive, resulting in an uncontrolled spin.

We've all heard the first rule of finding happiness - love yourself.  Enjoy your own company.  Love the skin you're in.  Part of accepting yourself is accepting where you are on your journey, which means not trying to write the script for every experience you have, but instead allowing your experiences (positive and negative) to contribute to your growth.  It's not enough to love the skin you're in, you have to also learn to love the spin you're in.  Like the flight student taking the controls as the plane stalls, part of life is gaining confidence in our ability to quickly pull out of an uncontrolled descent and return to straight and level flight.

Everything in our being tells us we need to assert power and control to pull out of a spin.  And this is where it becomes interesting... because the first step to recovering from a spin in flight is to throttle back to idle.  Sometimes you have to let go of power to regain control.

The second step is to bring your ailerons to neutral. Now is not the time to try to raise your wings, trying to change direction while still in an uncontrolled descent will only make the spin worse.  Give yourself an opportunity to level off before setting a new course.

The third step is to rudder opposite the spin.  Whatever direction the spin is taking you in, turn the opposite direction.  Walking away can be one of the hardest things to do, but it is necessary to return to a stable position.

And finally, elevator forward.  As uncomfortable as it may be when you feel like you're headed straight down, now is the time to quickly move forward.  Reducing your angle of attack will break the stall, and everything else is perfectly positioned to allow you to fly out of the spin, raise your nose, and restore your power to take you wherever you want to go.

Love the spin you're in.  Watch the video... the pilot does these things in quick succession.  There isn't time to deliberate - there are only two possible outcomes:  deliberately doing what might not feel natural to regain stability, or crashing to the ground.  Let the spin teach you, so you can pull out of it and experience the real freedom of flying.

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