Honestly, I don’t recall consciously channeling Mary Poppins as we made our way onto the shimmering white sands.
But when that kite took flight on a brilliant New Year’s morning, with our hopes and dreams for the coming year scribed on its tail, I freely admit my inner child took over.
Belting out the chorus from “Let’s Go Fly A Kite”, I was overcome by a surge of happiness and joy, gleefully watching the plastic toy dance at the end of a seemingly endless string, soaring ever higher into the clear blue sky, carrying our belief in the future to unbelievably intoxicating new heights.
I never wanted to leave that beach, or more importantly, that moment in time.
When the chapter ended and pages turned, I knew certain traditions would be relegated to footnotes.
Little did I realize it wasn’t the tradition that mattered.
It was the ability to dream and move forward; to foster an unwavering belief in the promise of a better tomorrow that mattered most.
And trust that when the moment called for it, a new tradition would begin.
Crescent Moons and Stars
A moment of insight had transformed our original plans of simply sharing New Year’s resolutions into an opportunity to connect with those ambitions on a more holistic level.
Memories of how or who came up with the idea of kite flying at the beach on New Year’s Day have blurred, but it sounded like the perfect family activity. We even had the kite: a blue plastic masterpiece imprinted with yellow crescent moons and stars, still in the packaging from a birthday or Christmas past.
Each of us would write our wishes and aspirations for the coming year on a long piece of white ribbon, which would be attached to the kite as a proper tail.
When that kite began dancing against the backdrop of a cloudless blue sky, I got chills. You could sense a magical presence within the playfulness of our imagined ally, a vivid reminder that what could be is so much greater than what is.
My eyes teared as every ounce of my soul wanted to sing out, the chorus of waves crashing on the beach accentuating every heartbeat and high note.
We hadn’t prepared for the moment, so our spontaneous version of “Let’s Go Fly A Kite” turned into a mishmash of “up to the highest heights”, leading straight into “up in the atmosphere, up where the air is clear” . . . then repeating “Oh-oh-oh-oh” like we were on continuous loop.
Fitting that outside of “up”, the words really didn’t matter. It was the feeling that carried us higher and started a tradition we shared for the next several years.
Just Push Pause
My transition to a property-based position in Central Florida did more than just take us away from our favorite beach.
It symbolized a shift in perspective, one that I hoped would strengthen the gravitas among personal ideas and concepts by supporting front-line leaders in their efforts to drive performance.
Which it did, and I was grateful for the opportunity.
Meanwhile, time was busy ticking along the continuum. Kristofer was off to Boston University, followed by Nikolas’s departure to the University of Florida.
We continued to spend holidays together as the boys welcomed the chance to catch their breath between semesters.
Personally, being on-property meant there was no easing into the flow of a new year. This was Central Florida, where the world comes to vacation in winter’s warm sunshine and businesses bank on the success of kick-off meetings and conventions.
January 1st became the day before January 2nd, when the gates officially opened and we charged into the new operating cycle like thoroughbreds in a run for the roses.
Devoting time to contemplate the future was on last year’s agenda, and if you missed it . . . well, there was always next year.
Eventually, that “next” year would change the landscape of our lives forever.
A Sense of Vulnerability
Suddenly presented with the fallout from a global pandemic, I was among a cast of millions left jobless, threatened by the realities of a completely raw and uncertain future.
The shutdown provided an opportunity to step back and examine what I had been consciously thinking and feeling. I spent the next several months adapting to change, celebrating the freedom to innovate, to be creative and intuitive . . . to use my imagination.
It had also brought the boys home, who to their credit, quickly acclimated to a lockdown routine no one could have envisioned.
While a semblance of normalcy slowly began to illuminate the promise of a better tomorrow, a sense of vulnerability remained. Hope and positivity fell prey to shadows of pessimism and despair, exposing progress made to the unhealthy influence of old memories and emotional saboteurs.
We decided to light a bonfire that New Year’s Eve, and with the strike of a single match, a new tradition was born.
Burn, Baby, Burn
My original intention was to seek inspiration within the flames, as I had done so many times before. Anna had a better idea.
Recalling the playful tradition of writing hopes and wishes on the tail of a kite, she suggested re-focusing attention on what was preventing our dreams from taking flight.
Each of us would identify aspects that were impeding growth: memories that had fostered awareness but were no longer useful; saboteurs such as fear, denial, envy, self-doubt, and complacency that kept us tethered to a reality that no longer existed.
We agreed that these aspects would be specific and were to remain private . . . something to be shared between you and your higher self. Casting them into the fire would release their control over you, lifting and shifting your perception, and generating a more positive approach to growth and accomplishment.
Taking a cue from our friends out west, I built a wooden structure and topped it with a symbolic pennant to identify the year being ushered out.
One by one, we placed tabs of paper containing our tethers and saboteurs within the structure, expressing gratitude for the experience along with a commitment to moving on. A sense of clarity and calmness emerged as flames reduced the structure to a pile of smoldering embers.
It was buoyant, uplifting, and absolutely brilliant.
While a shift in tradition to burning our fears and detractors may seem dark and significantly more serious, it is highly appropriate for this stage of my personal growth and development.
I have already dreamed the dream, envisioned a prosperous future filled with unlimited potential and influence. It was all written on the tail of a kite. Now, I need to make those dreams come true.
Which I cannot do if tethered to the past, or influenced by saboteurs such as fear of failure, envy, victimization, denial, etc.
It’s Your Thing
We all face the challenge of first breathing life into our hopes and dreams, followed by reducing, if not eliminating altogether, the influence of negative thoughts and emotional saboteurs.
Recognize that how you accomplish this two-fold process is a very personal decision.
I happen to be an extremely intuitive individual whose approach to life is Blue Sky at it’s best. I thrive on the potential of “What if?” and spend a significant amount of time exploring new and different realities. The symbolism of sending dreams aloft and watching fears reduced to ash has a great deal of value in my world.
Not everyone wants to fly a kite at the beach or light a fire on New Year’s Eve. You may not even be a fan of traditions.
But the opportunity to grow through awareness remains.
Believe in your hopes and dreams, breathe life into them by simply trusting your higher self. Express gratitude for the lessons experience has taught you, then let them go.
Identify aspects of your physical or emotional state that may be hindering progress. Deal with these directly through personal development, consulting with a mentor, or perhaps adjusting to a more conscious, health-centric approach to life.
Or call me . . . I have two ears, no waiting.
And I promise not to sing, if by chance we go fly a kite.
This Is Tall Tim, and I Am At Your Service!