Learning to Fly

by Liz Jansen

learning to fly

Tom Petty and the Heartbreaker’s Learning to Fly (lyrics and video below) picks up with me on my motorcycle, heading down an Alberta back road last year, starting out for ‘God knows where’. I think of my hospital room overlooking the city of Calgary and the Rocky Mountains, and how everything changed.

“Well I started out down a dirty road
Started out all alone
And the sun went down as I crossed the hill
And the town lit up, the world got still”

It describes the unexpected cycles that have transpired since then—cycles of starting out, learning, soaring, coming down—in a world that perpetually looks different.

The song actually took over the room the year before during my first Four Winds Energy Medicine course. You can’t sit still in your chair while this is playing and soon students were dancing around the open space surrounding the chairs, ‘learning to fly’.

That introductory class was focused on learning to recognize and shed constraining beliefs and emotional drama passed down through generations, and to develop new relationships with self and others—much like a snake sheds its skin as it grows. Learning to Fly in that context was about learning to let go and create a new blueprint.

First recorded in 1991, the meaning of Learning to Fly’s lyrics has been the topic of much discussion, often based on psychedelic drugs. No psychotropics were involved in either of these events.

There are two video versions below. I prefer the audio of the first but find the video interpretation less relevant, so have included the second. Choose your favorite!

Turn up the volume and listen along. Let your imagination run wild, and let the song speak to you. Share your thoughts in the comments below.

“Well I started out down a dirty road
Started out all alone
And the sun went down as I crossed the hill
And the town lit up, the world got still

Chorus
I’m learning to fly, but I ain’t got wings
Coming down is the hardest thing

Well the good ol’ days may not return
And the rocks might melt and the sea may burn

Chorus

Well some say life will beat you down
Break your heart, steal your crown

So I’ve started out for God knows where
I guess I’ll know when I get there

I’m learning to fly, around the clouds
But what goes up must come down

Chorus

I’m learning to fly, around the clouds
But what goes up must come down

I’m learning to fly”


Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

Music video by Tom Petty performing Learning To Fly. (C) 1991 UMG Recordings, Inc.


Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers Live Concert

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – Learning To Fly (live 2006) HQ 0815007


photo credit: Bald Eagle via photopin (license)

Posted in Personal Growth, Travel Tagged with:
2 comments on “Learning to Fly
  1. Bill Airsman says:

    Hi Liz,

    I’m most impressed with your recent submissions. Keep up the great work!

    Safe Riding,

    Bill

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