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Center for Action and Contemplation

Fly Loose 

Friday, May 5, 2023

The Rev. Cameron Trimble is an author, pastor, and leader in the United Church of Christ. As a pilot, she honed her wisdom for navigating the turbulence of transitional times:   

“We are going to hit some turbulence ahead,” [my flying instructor] went on, “and you will learn something about your airplane…. If you tighten your grip on the yoke, you reduce the aerodynamics of your aircraft. You, as the pilot, actually make the flight less safe, steady, and stable. So, remember: When the going gets rough, fly loose….” 

Our world today is nothing if not swirling, turbulent wind tossing us around. [Recently], we have experienced economic meltdown, climate countdown, racial throwdown, political breakdown, technology showdown, and religious letdown. We are living through the breakdown and breaking open of much that has defined modern life.  

In the face of such extraordinary transition, it’s natural to look for solutions to our problems…. We tightly grip the yoke of our families, businesses, government, and communities, trying to regain control of people and systems that feel broken and dangerous to our safety and survival. Of course, no amount of control will create the conditions needed to traverse these rough winds of change. 

Trimble offers challenging yet hopeful advice:  

We must resist looking to the frameworks of the past to lead us into the future. Doing so is a way to pretend to control, to tighten our grip and reduce our cultural aerodynamic flexibility. Instead, perhaps we turn to ways of wisdom that cultivate intuition, patience, and ingenuity. We embrace the ways of a Mystic Wayfinder, one who purposefully gets lost in order to chart new ways forward. By getting lost and welcoming the reality that we do not have the answers or know the way forward, we enter a space of liminality and emergence. We are not attempting to fix “broken systems” but are, instead, summoning entirely new worlds….  

We do not have the answers today. We have the wondering. We have the gifts of being lost to guide us. We must now use the wisdom of our wounds, both caused and carried, as portals into new ways of becoming….  

[Author and public intellectual] Bayo Akomolafe often begins his presentations with this call:  

The times are urgent; let us slow down. Slowing down is losing our way. Losing our way is not a human capacity or human capability. It is about the tensions, the invitations that are now in the world-at-large, inviting us to listen deeply, to be keen and to be fresh and to be quick with our heels, to follow the sights and sounds and smells of the world. [1]  

His is an invitation to become fully present to the unfolding wonder of the world around us, to let go of our need to control the narrative and be swept up in the possibility of a more just and generous future ahead…. I hear in these words the invitation to fly loose on the yoke and enjoy the ride. [2] 


[1] Kamea Chayne and Bayo Akomolafe, “Bayo Akomolafe: Slowing Down and Surrendering Human Centrality,” in Green Dreamer, episode 317, podcast.   

[2] Cameron Trimble, “In Times of Turbulence, Fly Loose,” Oneing 11, no. 1, Transitions (Spring 2023): 32, 35–36, 37. Available in print and PDF download

Image credit: A path from one week to the next—McEl Chevrier, Untitled. CAC Staff, Exercise in Grief and Lamentation. Jessie Jones, Untitled. Used with permission. Click here to enlarge image

On retreat, the CAC staff used watercolors to connect to our collective grief. This is one of the watercolor paintings that came from that exercise. 

Story from Our Community:  

In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, our only son was preparing to move two time zones away. Each morning, I awoke to a wave of anxiety—even after taking morning meditation—[that] lingered throughout the day. While walking one morning, I noticed a vast carpet of wild violets, covering a great lawn like biblical lilies of the field. When I returned home, there were texts of good news—tiny affirmations to reassure me. Every few days, I hear another whisper that in God’s time, all will be well.  —Melanie-P. S. 

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