What Icarus Can Teach Us
Do you know the Greek myth of Icarus? Icarus is the son of Daedalus who dared to fly too near the sun on wings of feathers and wax. His father cautioned him that flying too near the Sun would cause the wax to melt. But Icarus became enthralled with his ability to fly and forgot his father’s warning. The feathers came loose and Icarus plunged to his death in the sea.
As I see it, this myth is a lesson about balance, about finding balance with your ego and with your gifts. It was Icarus’ choice not accept his gift as it was and to see it as enough. Instead, he chose to push it further, to a place where his gift was destroyed, and he destroyed himself in the process.
We all have, and are given, wings to fly on and it is our choice what we do with them. Do we not use them and never take flight? Do we accept them as they are and fly proudly on them to new destinations? Or do we misuse them, flying too high, too close to the Sun, destroying our gift and ourselves in the process?
If you don’t fly—or you try to fly too high like Icarus, the myth teaches you’ll find yourself falling into the depths of emotional despair, drowning in your egoic feelings (as represented by the sea Icarus drowned in).
To make the most of your gifts, you don’t need to make yourself into more than you are, you don’t need to fly higher than you can and burn yourself, but you also don’t need to stay down on earth, denying your own wings to fly. You are enough. Icarus teaches you have power over what you do with your gifts, and to what heights and destinations they take you.
photo credit: Benjamin Carnevale