The Freedom of Ballooning

My wife and I recently took our daughter hot air ballooning for her birthday. The great delight was to see the expression on her face as the massive balloon was inflated and then to watch her delight as the balloon ascended high in the air.
This was a special flight for another reason – the pilot, Robert Zirpolo of Berkshire Balloons. He absolutely loves his work and ignites when his passengers are enthusiastic and appreciative.
I am a hot air balloon fanatic and have ballooned all over the world. But, it was a special period of time when I studied hot air balloon piloting with Robert. He was a patient and caring instructor and we had wonderful time together. Needless to say, he did an extra special job, keeping us up on this beautiful fall morning longer and higher than he would normally have done with paid passengers.
There one special moment as we zipped along when Janet said, “I don’t feel the wind.” And then there was that moment of awareness dawning on her face when she said, “Because I am the wind.”
“I am the Wind” is the title of an article I wrote years ago after the same insight and it is why I love both hot air ballooning and scuba diving. They both are perfect metaphors of “letting go,” not fighting reality and “going with the flow.” If only we could all learn to let go of fighting what we can’t change, let go of petty resentments, prejudice and fear and – flow with the possibilities of life, we would all find our feeling helpless quotient diminishing and our happiness quotient rising