An unexpected pregnancy with twins, at the age of 43, was the end of my career as an airline pilot – and the beginning of my journey home.
I gravitated towards flying at the age of 17 because it was an acceptable way to be different, while still demanding the strict form and structure I was accustomed to. As a pilot, there was a very defined set of rules, do’s and don’ts, and no room for error.
4,000 pilots are taught to recite the same words in response to a checklist, so we can substitute for each other on a moment's notice. We all dress the same. Well, almost the same. For years I wore the male tie instead of the female tie, because I mistakenly thought it would make me “blend in” with the guys.
In 2012 I started my business, Pathfinder Healing Arts. (In aviation, a Pathfinder is the first airplane that flies through a storm, charting a safe course for all those that follow.) I immersed myself in Reiki, essential oils, mindfulness and sound healing, all the while keeping it secret from anyone I worked with at the airline. I was drawn to explore intuition and the unseen energy that pulses beneath the planet and through each one of us, and yet it felt too “woo-woo” and out-there to talk about at work. If it wasn’t tangible or felt too much on the fringe of what society considered “normal”, I didn’t talk about it.
I was also hiding part of myself when I staffed a mindfulness retreat or attended a drum circle or personal growth weekend. I didn’t want to talk about flying in these situations, because I was letting my hair down and showing the “other side” of me. I didn’t want to be reminded of my alter-ego, pilot-self in those situations. I kept the “magical” parts of me hidden under a pilot uniform for years.
It wasn’t until I quit my job as an airline pilot that I felt the freedom to begin expressing all of who I was in any situation. (Some days, it's still a work in progress.) In hindsight, I realize how much my fear of being “found out” held me back – not only personally, but also in reaching out to the people who could benefit from my knowledge.
Sometimes, it’s the very things we judge ourselves for the most that are exactly what others need to hear from us.
How much energy does it take to keep a part of you hidden? I wonder if being authentically you could create more in your life and your business? Is now the time to explore your own abilities and share your gifts with the world?
Stop fearing. Start creating.