So I was on a plane flight to Minneapolis to continue my book tour for The Philosophy of Childing; there was a light passenger load, and this gave me an opportunity to have a chat with a flight attendant who was intrigued by my new book. She chose not to have children, but…. she attends and assists with on her farm the birthing of horses, and she showed me a set of photos of the recent birth of a colt. It was fascinating. I kept stealing quick glances at her as she showed me the photos; her eyes glistened. This was her passion, her love, nurturing and bringing these beautiful animals into the world.  She told me that one thing she has learned as a flight attendant is a talent that she has also carried over into her world of caring for horses — “I spend my professional life getting people to do what they don’t want to do.” I asked for an example. She practiced with me. I had my seat leaning back. She said, “Let’s say you’re sleeping and we’re about to land and you still have your seat back and your computer out.” I closed my eyes. And then in a deft movement she leaned forward, plucked my computer from my lap and put it under the seat in front of me, simultaneously bringing my seat forward. “Welcome back to the real world,” she said with a smile, and I couldn’t help but smile back, even as I was taken aback. She’s good. I didn’t mind at all what she did. When I saw her practice it for real during the landing with a man who looked like he was used to taking no prisoners — he was putty in her hands — I was really impressed.

She told me how most people who train horses don’t know how to walk them straight into a horse trailer when they’re ready to transport. She said they make a mistake in stopping the horses before they enter the trailer, preparing for what’s coming, as if it’s something to be timid or nervous about. She on the other hand trains them from early on to just enter in one swift move, without giving them the opportunity to hesitate, and voila, before you know it, it becomes second to them.

In ‘childing’ ourselves and others, how can we learn how to overcome doubt, hesitancy, in achieving our goals?  A wonderful person in my life who has little self belief; I see the amazing talent she has, but she doesn’t. She keeps pursuing things that she believes she’s good at, instead of things she wants to do. I told her that no one — and I mean no one — ever told me I could write. But I wanted to be a writer. So I blocked out all that sea of negativity, and became a writer. Or at least tried. To me, it’s the attempt that matters most — though of course you want to succeed at that attempt. The thing is, most people give up too soon — or at least, you never really know if or one you’re going to round that proverbial corner, so you have to keep plugging away. If it’s a dream that really matters to you, why ever give up?  I’m not the most talented writer in the world, but I’m a ‘gifted’ rewriter — meaning, I’m willing to put my writing through as many spins as it takes to make it polished. For a book, that means usually, at minimum, 20 to 30 drafts. At minimum.  Most writers I know usually write two to three drafts at most. But for me, there’s another reason to put myself through so many paces — my thinking evolves as I go through new iterations. It’s at the heart of my form of writing, thinking, being — it leads to new portals of discovery.

Dare to child yourself, dare to overcome the mindsets that keep you from being all you can be; dare to refuse to fall prey to the all too convincing reasons not to attempt something, no matter what age or stage, or state or straits, you find yourself in. And a childing you will go.  Don’t hesitate. Be like those horses that flight attendant guides through passages, refusing to allow them to be paralyzed with fear or doubt. Take flight. Child.

(I think this is probably the most prescriptive thing I’ve ever written. Quirky, sure, but prescriptive, no?)1296-Mandy-giving-Birth-8