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Kite Flying: Reflections from Long Beach Island

By Ellen Neiley Ritter, Ph.D., BCC

It occurred to me, as I watched two children getting ready to fly their kite, that this form of play represents the essence of life. We buy kites with dreams of flying high, imagining the possibilities -- of reaching the sky, exploring new worlds, soaring without limits. There are countless designs and colors available, as individual as we are, so we often choose one which best represents us, our banner as we sail above the beach.

But before you can fly, you have to put it together. Some are far more complicated that others, but in each case, failure to put in the effort may mean your kite will never to soar. From putting the support pieces into place so the kite can fully open up to catch the wind, to attaching the guide strings and tails, to tightly tying on the string that connects you to the kite, allowing you to fly again another day, all lay the foundation necessary for kite flying.

Patience and teamwork also come into play, for it is difficult to fly a kite without the wind and someone who holds the string while you run, kite extended, trying to catch just the right breeze. An unknown author once remarked that “a kite rises against, not with, the wind” and isn’t that true of all of us –it is when we take the time to put it all together, to begin to know that we don’t have to follow others, that we can give ourselves permission to be ourselves, that we begin to reach new heights, explore new possibilities?

As every kite flyer learns, once you have begun, once you have started to fly, your work isn’t done. There are adjustments that need to be made, tugs to help the kite reach greater heights. It’s also important to stay aware, not lose sight on your kite, for it is when we look away, when we stop paying attention, that the kite begins to falter, to flutter back to earth, and perhaps become stuck in nearby wires, or lost in the ocean.

So as we approach the coming holiday weekend, perhaps it’s time we all think about finding our own kite and beginning to explore new worlds, reach new heights. Just remember:

  • Give yourself enough string – do not limit yourself as you begin to think of where you and your kite could go.
  • Watch out for obstacles – not only those which others may put before us, but perhaps more importantly, those obstacles which we create for ourselves, the self-doubts, the negative self-talk, the imagined worries of what could go wrong.
  • Don’t fly your kite alone (or in an electrical storm, even if Ben Franklin did). Reach out to someone who also wants to see you fly, someone who can not only help but who will also celebrate your successes. Whether a friend, a loved one, or a life coach, find someone who believes in your dreams, and shares the joy as you soar.

Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, or a new country. ~ Anais Nin