The other day I saw someone flying down the hallway. He stretched his arms out in front of me, fingertip to fingertip with muscles furled and it was as if the air moved to meet him. Even as I walked behind, I imagined I could see his eyes lifting towards the ceiling and this wonderful atmosphere of lightness filled the air. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the concept of lightness — and by this I don’t mean in terms of pigment. Think of it this way;
the quality of having little weight.
lack of pressure, force, or heaviness of movement.
I excluded the definition that links the word to the feeling of cheerfulness because, at least lately, I have decided that the two are not necessarily exclusive in nature. One can feel light after a great weight is lifted, and depending upon the nature of that weight, while one may feel the loss like a gaping wound, a space devoid of what once was – they can still feel a great sense of lightness.
For the past few weeks the word has slid against the roof of my mouth, pressed against my teeth — what allows for some people to feel light when they wake up in the morning just at the prospect of a new day, while others think over every small happening of the week before just to make their stomach reel? Lately
I’ve woken up only to lie in bed and wonder endlessly about what gives me the right to have the things I am lucky to have, the right to choose when I am happy, or perhaps most significantly, to be able to get help when I am not able to.
The truth is, I think I have found the most joy in the past few weeks by looking for the moments where others around me are experiencing this feeling, even if I am not. My heart caught in my throat when I saw him flying down that hallway – and at the end of the polyester road, he held open the door until I was through. I thanked him and as I walked away I realized there was a smile brushing the edges of my lips.
As I took the elevator up to a floor I was too lazy to manually navigate, I leaned my head against the union of two walls and spaced my vision out upon the orangey blur of illuminated buttons. It took me a few seconds to realize that the woman next to me was quietly singing along to whatever was playing in her head – I enjoyed listening to someone who was just having their own little moment regardless of whomever else may be around.
Maybe the reason that lightness and happiness doesn’t always go hand in hand is because all it takes to feel lighter is to experience someone else who has taken their surroundings, the weight of the world, the sound in their ears – and turned it into something beautiful. I was taught in Psychology that there is a physiological response to smiling, even if you don’t feel happy. Maybe flying is along those same lines.