A PRACTICAL MYSTIC'S STORY

At eight years old, my Wild Soul called me to adventure, but the invitation came disguised in the mask of trauma.

Born into a culture known as The Plain People (Old Order Mennonites and Amish) I detected no hint of the grand and colorful destinations this Path would wind towards. I could not have imagined (nor would I have believed) the bigger life that awaited: as a military pilot and airline captain and the decades of traveling the world. 

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Patty Bear

A Practical Mystic's Story

Nor did this call to adventure inform me I was enrolling in a curriculum of learning to live as a practical mystic—and that the ultimate destination was a vocation for teaching others how to navigate as practical mystics via the call of their own wild souls. Had this enigmatic invitation revealed its secrets, I might have been more excited by its arrival. Then again, had I understood how arduous this path was, I might have refused the call. 

As a child in an Old Order Mennonite community, I inherited an utterly grounded life, generations deep. We lived an insular existence guarded from direct contact with the “corrupting” influences of the outside world. Television, movies, engaging law enforcement, voting, military service, jewelry, and much more were all forbidden. Men and women sat segregated on opposite sides of the church. The women did not have to contend with the anxiety of choices, for we were to be uniform in every way. The singular role available to us was that of wife and mother, and every woman wore the same clothing: a long, dark dress, white cap, and black bonnet. An ambitious woman was silent, submissive, and unquestioningly obedient in all things. 

It was a path paved in simplicity, with one-size-fits-all rules, and the security of black-and-white certainties. Educated in the details of conforming and obedience to authority figures, it required only that I follow the well-trod path of my ancestors. 

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And then, on June 11, 1972, I reached a pivotal turning point, a catalyst for a radically unique path.

What unfolded on the way would see my family’s story reach the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and make the front page of The New York Times, and grace The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, and People Magazine, along with newspapers in virtually every small town in America. 

 

When I emerged from this passage, life was radically transformed. I had choices I could never have imagined. I write about this journey in my memoir, From Plain to Plane.

This childhood journey not only transformed my life but taught me to recognize the underlying universal structure of subsequent journeys I took. It illustrated the four stages of this journey and taught me to recognize the unique terrain in each stage. The journey also illuminated the mystical and practical navigation tools and skills needed on any journey of following the call of our wild soul. It showed how to navigate the mystery. 

I learned along the way that the aim is not to solve the mystery, it is to surf the mystery. To be capable of following the promptings of our inner world and to trust that if we defy the algorithms that police our attention and keep us from taking the road less traveled, we will not be lost. That we can live out the expansiveness and uniqueness within each of our souls by hearing the call and navigating the mystery. To be Heros, Adventurers, and Artists of life means cultivating mystical perception and practical application.  

The Flying Club is another soul’s adventure I am walking. It is a long-term vision that coughs up new pieces of the puzzle as I progress. As a Type-A personality with a lifetime of goal-oriented training, I have had to learn respect for the creative process of the soul as well as patience—a virtue I was NOT born with. I’ve learned that I am merely along for the ride and that this endeavor is still very much an unfolding mystery for me.

What I do know, however, is that The Flying Club will serve as a resource hub for learning to navigate as a practical mystic in the following ways:

 

  • As a Trail Guide, with inner and outer maps of the soul’s transformational journeys and detailed information on the terrain in each of the four stages 

  • As a Trail Guide workbook that integrates the inner and outer journeys

  • As development of practical mystic navigation skills

  • In finding trail mates for camaraderie and support on your journeys 

  • As Professional Trail Guides to support your journeys

  • As Navigation Tools for independent navigation

  • As Manuals for understanding the Shadow elements we encounter on our journeys

Many of these above items are in the process of being created. In the meantime, I invite you to explore what has been developed and is available now (click links to visit pages):  

 

Check back from time to time to see what has been developed, or if you would like to be notified of new offerings, you can sign up here and receive a free excerpt of my memoir. 

Life’s an adventure—live it!

Patty Bear