An airplane takes off against the wind. So does happiness.
Henry Ford said, “When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.”
I researched this and discovered that when taking off against the wind, the oncoming force on the wings causes an upward thrust, allowing the plane to actually become airborne at a lower speed. So when you want to take to the skies, going against the wind is the answer.
What if this is true in our daily lives as well?
I’m not saying we should do things the hard way on purpose. Things are hard enough already. We’re getting blown over by climate change, political misinformation, the health care situation, book banning, etc.” That’s just life doing its thing. Hardships will always be with us, no matter what.
The wind I’m saying we should face into is the wind of our own resistance to everything good —good for us and good for the world. I think we can start doing this on the most basic level.
For instance, the very first thing I do in the morning is turn my alarm off and go back to bed. Why don’t I do what I wrote in my planner that I’d do: Meditate, exercise, and write? Because I don’t feel like it. ← Right there.
That’s the magic moment. There’s the resistance.
And it’s not only resistance to what is good for us. It’s resistance to our own unselfishness toward others. Have you ever had the thought, “I should probably do the dishes now instead of letting [fill in the blank] do them. But. I don’t feel like it.” As though the ‘Better Us Fairy’ will sprinkle fairy dust on our head ‘later,’ and we’ll suddenly feel like doing those dishes.
Yeah, that never happens. We sit there watching “30 Rock” reruns until we hear the water running and cupboards opening and closing. After about a half hour, we get up and say, “Hey, I didn’t hear you. Aww, I was going to do that.”
That’s hilarious when we see it on Everybody Loves Raymond, but not so funny for [fill in the blank] who has to clean up after us. Chances are [fill in the blank] is every bit as tired as we are, but they have more tolerance for facing into the winds of their own resistance.
But let’s not give up on ourselves. We can develop our courage in the face of strong winds. We can practice. Every day. We can start small, and eventually take to the skies.
One thing I will try: I’m going to keep a tiny journal of moments when I faced into the wind. I’ll call it my Resistance Journal. Or my Liftoff Journal. Whatever.
Got up anyway. Took a shower
Sat for two minutes
Didn’t snack @ night (!)
No matter how small the standing up to I-Don’t-Wanna, I will write it down.
I might also take a moment, while I’m doing what I so don’t want to do, to picture that very action as wind accumulating, building up under my wings, helping me lift off, helping me become the healthier human, the much kinder, more genuinely giving person that I’ve always wished I could be.
It’s not rocket science. Well. Wait a minute. It is, kind of. It’s physics. Science and physics. When taking off against the wind, the oncoming force on the wings causes an upward thrust, allowing the plane to actually become airborne…
Let’s go outside. Let’s face right into the wind, push back, use our resistance to the Almighty-I-Don’t-Wanna, and fly into the vast expanse of: