The man who most influenced my life in a positive way as a young boy between the ages 6 to 10 was not my father. It was my magical, wonderful and kind Grandfather on my mom’s side. His name was Frank Perry and he showered me and my siblings with love and attention. I don’t think he ever realized the impact he had on my life. He had this gift of turning the most mundane stuff into a fantasy land of wonderment. I remember fondly our trips to the “Smashed Cars,” a derelict and abandoned pile of old rusty cars which to me was like visiting the starting line of a Grand Prix. My brothers and I would clamber over the rusty old chassis’s making car noises and generally having the time of our lives.
My grandpa fought in the Second World War so bed time stories were re-enactments of heroic battles complete with all the associated noises including but not limited to explosions, gunfire and whining spitfire fighter planes releasing their bombs from the air.
The “Granddaddy” of them all for me was the drive in his 1960’s V6 Ford Zephyr to watch the small Cessna airplanes taking off and landing at Virginia Airport in Durban, South Africa where I grew up. I watched and listened mesmerized as my grandpa created fictitious names of war pilots as they zoomed into the air complete with his added sound effects of roaring engines and guns blazing. Even though they were mostly just 4 seater Cessna 172’s to me they were the RAF spitfires roaring off on some exotic bombing mission.
It’s no wonder that during my backpacking years in my early twenties I stumbled across hang gliding while in Sydney Australia and soon I was ridge soaring with the eagles at Stanwell Park south of Sydney near the town of Wollongong. It was the start of a long and exhilarating love affair with flight which continues to this day.
Later when I settled back in Canada, the country of my birth, I pursued my love of aviation and secured my Private Pilot’s license and then my Twin Engine Commercial IFR (Instrument) license and my Float Plane endorsement. A few years later I discovered paragliding and I was hooked. It’s the ultimate rush, suspended from a harness, with only a fabric wing keeping you airborne 6000ft above the earth, reaching cloud base, relying on ridge lift and thermals to keep you aloft for hours.
Today I have over 500hrs of flight time logged. I am also licensed to fly ultralights, hangliders and paragliders.
Flying was the time in my life where I was 110% in control of my destiny. Any wrong move could mean catastrophe, especially with hangliding and paragliding but the exhilaration of living on the edge defied description. It was a time for me where I was 110% committed and focused in the present moment. I touched the face of “Source” as I flew paragliders in spectacular settings such as the Canadian Rocky Mountains, the stunning Queensland coast of Eastern Australia and the magnificent Southern Alps and Fiordlands of New Zealand.
Flying Paragliders was for me, a time of complete distraction from all worldly concerns. My story, my past, my fears, my shame and my guilt ceased to exist during those intense moments of focus and exhilaration while flying a fabric wing that folds up into the size of a large backpack, thousands of feet above the earth. It was an external way for me to touch the face of creator.
When my life eventually unraveled and I had to face my past, my story, my shame and my guilt, I began to realize that flying was really a symbol I was chasing for the experience of connecting to Source. It was my way of getting my needs met for self-acceptance and unconditional love and my desire to feel free, exhilarated and unburdened.
I will NEVER lose my passion for flying. NEVER! I have told my friends and family that if I was to die while flying, to rest assured that I died doing what I absolutely most loved.
What I am now aware of is that I don’t need to do risky, living on the edge, thrill of the moment, adrenaline inducing and death defying things to feel a connection to Source/Universe/Higher Power/God.
The promise of living in a state of higher consciousness and in connection to Source is that we experience bliss and abundance in all areas of our lives.
We don’t need to seek the experience of Inner Divinity through external symbols. Our Internal world always creates our external world. The answers are all within. Everything we need to know we already know. Everything we need to have we already have.
All we need is the courage to trust, the willingness to be open, the ability to let go and to be reborn with a beginners mind.
Every thrill I have ever felt with aviation and every heart stopping moment of bliss while soaring beneath the clouds in my paraglider is utterly eclipsed by the euphoria and the freedom of coming home to Self and Source.
To unleash the magnificent splendor within and to live our endless potential knowing that we are connected to the infinite and all there is, is the Ultimate High.
That being said; just try and stop me from flying!
Much Love & Welcome Home,