Learning To Fly

Day 8 - Baby Robin Learning To Fly Main - Doodlewash

Many of you who read my full posts and/or captions know that when I was a kid, I wished I had the ability to fly. This, I’m sure, was something many little kids might have dreamt about at some point. As I grew older, however, in a fit of pure irony, I developed a fear of heights. Standing on the top of a tall building makes me go weak in the knees and I don’t like getting too close to the edge. Philippe knows this well, as on trips to the top of tall buildings in New York, I nearly clawed his arm off. I find it fascinating that this is a fear that only developed in adulthood. As a kid, I had no such worries and could climb the tallest of trees and once got in trouble for climbing onto the roof of our house. Back then, I wasn’t scared of consequences so much as being impossibly eager to experience a fresh perspective. Over time, I’ve built an encyclopedia of consequences in my life. Things I tried and failed at miserably and things that simply produced embarrassing results. While these things are a wonderful guide to avoid repeating really dumb mistakes, they’re also a hinderance. Were I a baby bird with that level of knowledge, I would have never left the tree.

While I do think having a rational mindset is helpful, I think that finding a balance is an even better plan. Sometimes my rational mind can grow so loud and tedious that I almost shout out loud in order to shut it off. For example, when my mind tells me that what I’m currently doing is basically stupid and should be avoided at all costs, I take a moment to pause. Before simply submitting to my militant mental companion, I ask myself a few questions first. The most important question is whether or not the thing I’m currently doing is exactly like the thing I did before. Even identical twins possess unique traits that can cause one to be more successful than the other. Before abandoning an idea based on similarity I force myself to consider it in full. After all, it’s entirely possible that the little distinction that makes this idea just slightly different, might be the very thing that will make it successful on this go around. And fortunately, the only way to know for sure is to go ahead and attempt it.

As much as I talk about the power of doing new things and practice doing them myself, I still have moments where I’m left confused. Times where the path seems quite exciting, but full of fog and not particularly clear. Choosing what path to take in life is no small undertaking. Heading down one path versus another will produce a story with an entirely different ending. What I’ve learned along the way, though, is that I have yet another ability that guides me. This one is simply called hope. It’s wildly imprecise and a bit fallible, but I often find it to be the best guide on any journey. If I believe that something will happen, there’s a far better chance that it actually might. That a dream might actually come true. Unlike my rational mind, the mind that hopes is capable of believing anything is possible. And that’s the mindset that makes incredible things happen. It feels revolutionary as an adult, but it’s simply the same mind we all had when we were young, clutching that branch of a tree, before learning to fly.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Vermilion, and Indigo (my “Vintage” Trio!). Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Day 8 - Baby Robin Learning To Fly - Doodlewash
Recommended4 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!

30 Comments
  1. Mary Roff 2 weeks ago

    And that explains why artists at a two day art show, after having a less than optimal first day, can often be heard saying “there’s always tomorrow”. Hope and perpetual optimism. 🙂

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      Hehe! Yes to that, Mary! 😃💕That perpetual optimism is what I love about us! 😉

  2. Sharon Nolfi 2 weeks ago

    Love that little bird! Hope is a magical human quality, driving us ever forward to greater discoveries.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      Thanks, Sharon!😃💕Yeah, hope is the coolest talent we possess. It’s definitely worthy of perfecting just as much as our art!

  3. Laura M Bailey 2 weeks ago

    I’m not afraid of heights. I’m afraid of fall. Lol

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      haha! Yes to that, Laura! 😃💕 As adults we know well what falling feels like, so sometimes, I do envy that little child who doesn’t quite know yet. 😉

      • Laura M Bailey 2 weeks ago

        I remember too well, being 10ft tall, bulletproof, fearless, audacious. I too remember the exact moment that ended. 21 days in ICU. Lol

        • Author
          Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

          Oh my goodness! Yeah… that’s definitely a lesson worth remembering for sure! Yikes! 😳Glad you’re still with us now! 💕

  4. Lisa 2 weeks ago

    It has been proven that you can make yourself happier by looking at things differently. I suppose it’s the glass half full way of moving through the world. I’m a very strong proponent of this way of thinking. I was sitting at lunch with a handful of women a number of years ago. I didn’t know any of them well. The conversation turned to the worst things that had happened to each of them. When one asked me what about you, Lisa, I kind of racked my brain and finally had to say I didn’t have an answer because nothing bad ever happened to me. It wasn’t until later that it occurred to me that I was sitting there in a wheelchair with an incurable disease. Lol Still, even today, I feel blessed (in a nonreligious way) because the good has always outweighed the bad and I’m thankful for that.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      You are amazing my friend! I adore your thinking and your spirit! 😃💕 It’s something that should be bottled! And I totally agree… when you read the scorecards of life… it’s amazing how we actually always come out ahead. If you read them with the right eyes and all of your heart!

  5. ann christina 2 weeks ago

    Thanks for this nice post, Charlie! I have a fear of heights too, and extreme fear to talk in front of people. I also don’t like crowds very much. Well, I wonder how I still manage to step outside my door 😉 – just kidding… I think I will try your way of questioning those things a bit more and trying to analyze if they are really that catastrophe I am imagining… I think that could really help. Wishing you a wonderful day and a great weekend!❤️

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      I’m so thrilled this post spoke to you, Ann! 😃💕 Yeah, I’m not good with heights and crowds make me perfectly nervous, BUT… I’ve spoken in auditoriums before. I’m not sure that counts, as you can’t really see everyone properly. They say you should imagine people naked, but this only makes things more awkward in my experience. What I know to be true, is that we are all capable of well more than we give ourselves credit for. I hope you have a wonderful weekend as well!

  6. LoriCtoo 2 weeks ago

    Ohhhh, I am such a positive Polly. I am always saying, “Hope fot the best.” I have this attitude when I teach my Art Journal classes and promote it. I think I will use this word for my holiday season. We all need a little hope right now. Your little sparrow is wonderful. So detailed!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      Thanks so much! 😃💕Yay to spreading hope… I think it’s the best gift we have for dealing with everything that’s happening in the world today. And certainly the best art supply I can imagine! 😉

  7. June Hadaway 2 weeks ago

    Cute little bird and an encouraging story. I can relate as I am an identical twin. We have a lot of similarities but our paths in life have been much different, yet we both enjoy the arts.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, June! 😃💕 I adore how we artists are like identical twins… it brings me so much comfort each and every day!

  8. OMG I also developed a fear of heights as an adult. Even driving down a steep long hill gives me a pulse rate of about 150. I can’t drive down from Big Bear ‘the front way’ because it involves stopping at every pull-out to calm myself.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      I know! What is it about being an adult that makes us fear heights so much! I’m with you! 😃💕 But I wish my inner child would pop in more often to console me! 😉

  9. Carol 2 weeks ago

    Sweet bird, Charlie. If only our childhood dreams could come to fruition. You’d be able to fly, and I’d be able to wriggle my nose like Samantha or blink like Jeannie to make magic. At times I still wish to have those powers, but generally there is much satisfaction of doing things the good, old-fashioned mortal way 😄

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      Lol! The mortal way is indeed cool, Carol! 😃💕 BUT… I would be remiss to not admit that I would be perfectly pleased if I could have those powers of Samantha and Jeannie! What fun!!

    • Mireya 2 weeks ago

      children have a way of believing and I really believe that’s what’s wrong with grown-ups. Gosh I hope to never be one.

      • Author
        Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

        You and me both! Being a grown up is dull and unnecessary! lol 😉

        • Mireya 2 weeks ago

          Yes

  10. Mireya 2 weeks ago

    Yes children always say yes of course and I love that. I too dream of flying…haven’t for a long time. I do though fly in my dreams in the calm and cool of the night and among the city light. Wait did I just share this…yes why not.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      You did just share that and it’s a lovely dream indeed! 😃💕Flying dreams are the best kind of all!

      • Mireya 2 weeks ago

        Thanks

  11. smzang 2 weeks ago

    That little bird looks so vulnerable, and yet his destiny is to soar..

    Charlie says, “I have yet another ability that guides me. This one is simply called hope.”

    I think it is more than hope; I think it is faith, and I think it is infallible…Not that one will ever
    succeed in everything they try, not even that we don’t get bruised when we fall, more like whatever
    happens to one with hope/faith will be turned to their good. I don’t think we are supposed to
    reason it out (or that we can). I think we are to keep the childlike enthusiasm that keeps us believing
    that anything is possible, and trusting that que será será the way it is supposed to be.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 week ago

      Thanks so much, Sarah! 😃💕 I totally agree! What a beautiful way to put it! Yeah, I think whenever we take a moment to truly believe in something, it’s the greatest moment of all!

  12. Sandra Strait 1 week ago

    I agree with finding the balance. If you know your center of balance, it’s easier to make the leaps of faith and decide that you are dancing to a new tune, even if the steps seem all too familiar. You know if you fall, you’ll be able to bounce right back and start up dancing again.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 week ago

      Beautifully said, Sandra! 😃💕I totally agree. If we can find that center of balance… anything is possible!

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