Let’s Go Fly a Kite

by | Jun 30, 2024 | Trend

A kite flying through a clear blue sky

Summer is in full swing here in California. And that means escaping the heat and heading to the beach, diving into the pool, and–mostly–staying in air conditioned spaces.  

I love the beach. And for a recent beach trip, I decided I wanted to fly a kite. So, I bought this gorgeous, colorful butterfly/dragon kite (we couldn’t really decide if it was a butterfly, a dragon, some hybrid of the two…). Anyway, I felt like a kid, giddy with excitement. I hadn’t flown a kite in years, but I remember there was something about it that was both thrilling and a bit nerve-racking. 

Fly too high and I might lose it to the clouds, fly too low and it might come crashing down. And if there are people around, the stakes are even higher!

A kite can be viewed as a metaphor for life. The wind is life’s thrills and challenges, the kite is you. The goal is to find the optimal flow. Getting the kite up in the air is a task that takes patience and persistence. You work with the wind to make it work for you. It helps you get higher and higher, pushing past those difficulties. 

When it’s finally up high, soaring above everything else…you certainly enjoy the “metaphorical high,” but you can’t just sit back and totally relax. The job isn’t done. You still need to stay focused and continuously make adjustments as the wind changes to keep the kite afloat. 

And on this beach day, keeping it afloat was the part I found myself enjoying the most as I held onto the string of this beautiful kite. I felt my arms become almost like an extension of it. Joy flowed through me as my attention fell in sync with the push and pull of the wind. Through the kite, I was able to surrender to the wind, and instead of fighting it, I adjusted to its vacillating movements. For a moment, it felt like I was an inside observer of what it might feel like being a kite…I could allow myself, with pleasure, to be affected by nature’s unpredictable ways. Because down on the ground there was someone looking after me…And, of course, that someone was me. 

Like so many things that happen in life, changes in the wind are out of our control. We have to find the right balance of pull and release, pull and release. Move a little to the left, a little to the right. Keeping our eye on the goal, staying present, and in tune with our surroundings. Because life is a series of unexpected, challenging, and changing circumstances. Thankfully, even small adjustments can make a big difference. Succeeding in life–and in kite flying–is a process of fine tuning. 

On the beach, I had no control over the wind. But I had control over my attention and my intention. And so, little by little, I controlled the trajectory of the kite, and, as a result, positively shaped my experience. 

Next Steps for Happier Beings 

  1. Start with one small thing: Whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed and unmotivated, just start with one small change. If you feel like you need to be exercising more, just start by adding a time in your calendar where you will exercise once a week. That’s it. Even just 10 mins. Then build on it. Slowly. In small doses. Change will come. In fact, just by starting, change has already begun.  

  2. Don’t think, just do: Do you often get lost in rumination? Self-doubt? Negative self-talk? The key here is to shift your mood by changing whatever it is you’re doing. Stuck in a rut? Go for a walk. Feeling stressed? Do some jumping jacks. Call a friend. Listen to music. These quick adjustments won’t get rid of whatever challenge you’re facing, but they can do wonders for your mood and shift your attention away from the negative. 

  3. Go fly a kite. Really. Go to the beach, the park, down your street. And try it out. Maybe you’ll get it up on the first try. Maybe you’ll find the wind decided not to show up that day. So you’ll go back and try again another time. All I know is, you need to face challenges to do anything remarkable. Even if that’s just the simple choices we make to get a kite up and soaring. 

Content for Happier Beings

  • I am blown away and inspired by these giant kite festivals from around the world: the international kite festival in China, this one in France, and this one on ice in Minnesota! These are all just a tad more intricate than the one I flew, right?…haha.  

  • The folks at Greater Good Magazine found that micro-acts of joy can have a big impact on your overall happiness. Once again, small changes to your life can have big wonderful effects.

  • Fun fact from the Smithsonian: “Kites are said to have originated in China between 475 BCE and 221 BCE with the first kites made of wood and mimicking the shapes of birds.”  

  • For any of you that have been humming the song since you read the title of the piece, here’s the iconic scene from Mary Poppins: “Let’s Go Fly a Kite”. 

PS Here’s the newsletter version of this blog post.

 
 
 

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