Checklist for a Pilot’s Life


As a former airline and corporate pilot, I lived by checklists. They kept me out of trouble when I thought I could handle everything because I was so good and “didn’t need no stinking’ checklists!”

Checklists saved my bacon more than once. Here’s a short article, a checklist if you will, for a pilot’s life.

I’ve adapted it from the wisdom of a Hopi elder, the original of which is posted at the bottom of this article.

Many years ago, when I was an itinerant “truth seeker” I found comfort and wisdom in the spirituality of many native peoples, but specifically the Hopi people.

Nowadays, I draw my wisdom from the Bible. But the ancient peoples’ wisdom is still as relevant as it ever was and always will be.

This is a time of great transition. We will be tested. If we don’t know what kind of influences we’re being affected by – environmental, spiritual, economic, psychological – then we’re at the mercy of things outside our control. And that does not bode well.

This is a checklist for pilots who are in conflict, in transition or are just plain stressed.

If you “have it all together” read no further…

  • Know who you’re in relationship with. Consciously choose those who are supportive, honest, heartfelt and accountable.
  • What’s your living situation?
  • Are you deep in debt and acquiring more?
  • What are your values?
  • What are you doing to make money? Is it in alignment with your values?
  • What and who is your community? If things get bad, and they quite possibly will, whom can you rely on and how can you be there for others?
  • What are you doing to maintain your health? Food, water, vitamins, exercise, rest?
  • Be honest. With yourself, your family, and your friends.
  • Do you gather with other men to speak into each other’s life with honesty, support and loving challenge?
  • What are you doing for your soul? What or Who, besides yourself, do you rely on in times of stress?

As the Hopi elder said:

“This could be a good time!

There is a river flowing now, very fast.

It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid,

They will try to hold onto the shore,

They will feel that they are being torn apart and will suffer greatly.


Know the river has its destination.

The elders say we must let go of the shore,

Push off into the middle of the river,
Keep our eyes open and our heads above the water.


And I say, see who is in there with you and celebrate.

At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally,

Least of all, ourselves.

For the moment that we do,

Our spiritual growth and journey comes to a halt.

The time of the lone wolf is over.


Gather yourselves!

Banish the word struggle from your attitude and your vocabulary.

All that we do must now be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.

We are the ones we’ve been waiting for…”