Anubhav's Story

It was the early seventies when I was a young boy in his
twenties all alone struggling to understand the meaning of life. The
immediate resistance was society which fails to understand such an
aspiration. I was interested in realizing life through a contemplative
process rather than living an active life – as people do normally. And to
me came in book form Jonathan Livingston Seagull who stood by during
a crucial struggle of overcoming social obstacles and limitations.

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Carolyn's Story

To be able to live a life of freedom courage and choice like Johnathon seemed like an impossible dream to me in the early 1970's. I was growing up like a caged, scared animal in the Belfast civil war when my English teacher gave me "Johnathon Livingston Seagull" as a prize for doing so well in her class. Johnathon changed my life.

Now at 54 years old I have 4 copies - my original I keep for me with Richard's personalized note inside and 3 copies I bought for all of my children.

After reading his book and managing to find a way out of Belfast, Northern Ireland to live in California in 1984 (by having faith in my ability to crate my own life and know that I could fly higher than I thought was "possible") I wrote to Richard Bach thinking "he will never write back!!" I wanted to write and thank him anyway. I was SO shocked and honored that he wrote back in person - a hand written note and picture of a beach and sunshine....

That was another stepping stone in my young life realizing that authors and famous people were human too....

I have since been a community college educator in stress management and healing and have used Johnathon in all my classes as required reading with an essay at the end to see how he has affected their lives... The stories are and have been amazing.

After reaching a glass ceiling in teaching, massage and stress management and raising 3 beautiful wonderful children on my own I set them free to fly with their own version of Johnathon and watch them fly.

As for me ... the sky was still not my limit... I went back to school and became a Nurse . I graduated on my 53rd birthday last year. It took 8 years. I have worked in a children's psyche hospital in Alaska where Johnathon was talked about in my groups giving hope and courage to the young.

I recently moved to Idaho and now work in a critical care step down unit and feel that Jonathan's strength will carry me through this journey too. I was cycling along Boise River today and took pictures of all the many bridges along my path - each one built differently out of different materials; but still beautiful bridges across forever....with endless possibilities.

It reminded me of the title of one of Richards book "The Bridge Across Forever" so I went on Amazon to order it today . I then found this website and had to write. In the old days I would have written another hand written note (which I much prefer) to show my long term gratitude for all Richard has shared with his readers (& me).... And was so sad to hear of his plane crash ... hoping he has found his wings again to continue another leg of his journey.

I was also SO excited to see there is another edition of Jonathan which of course I must read too ... and Puff....and Illusions 2 !!

THANK YOU Richard Bach for being my invisible light through this world...it is a tough world to navigate alone... and Jonathan has been and continues to be with me every step of the way. I have NO idea if this note will reach you ... but I hope it does and know I have tried....I did my best to fly:)) ....and my life took flight , thanks to YOU.


PS. I am writing about my journey as a memoir for my children- I have had such a crazy. wonderful adventurous life in so many countries, places and jobs that I never thought would be possible never mind even dreamed of ... especially for a simple girl from Belfast. If anyone reads this that hasn't read Jonathan - READ IT !!!

Jonathan literally saves lives.

Carolyn W.S.

Peggy's Story

As a child I knew two things; I knew life as a mental, physical and man-made religious abuse. But I also knew how I felt when I was in nature.

I was a daily drug addict, and an 8th grade drop out at 15 yrs old when I read Jonathan Livingston Seagull. Even as life later became more unbearable, I never forgot I had an inner spirit within.

Over the years during the course of my life, I found that at times I could fly. With many continued hard lessons to learn, I never gave up. Each death brought a new path of life to experience.

I'm in my 50's now. I'm flying again, & I found what feeds my soul. I know now to never lose sight in taking care of my mind, body and spirit, so I can help others & make this world a better place to live.

Thank you.

Peggy H.

Michael's Story

Although I am uncertain if this story should go here, I do feel that it needs to be told. Actually, it is the memory of Jonathan that has brought me here.

At the convenience store yesterday, the clerk there - to whom I have always spoken kindly during my visits there - out of the blue and with her knowing really nothing of my pastimes, asked me if I ever go to the library or know of any good books to read. My first response, as I search through my memory thinking of what I could recommend to her that she might like and coming up short initially of answers, is that I would get back to her on that, that I would think of something and let her know.

After the short drive home and immediately glancing through my bookshelf, still coming up empty, my memory offered up a possibility: Jonathan Livingston Seagull. That would be perfect, I thought. Since she had told me of the two books she had read, or rather tried to read - one, a recommended story of Hinduism by the store owner, and the other, a sad story of loss about some younger person's search of their sexual identity - indeed Jonathan seemed like he would "fit the bill".

It has been years since I had read it and no longer possessed a copy, having given it away to some friend at the time who I thought it would benefit, so of course I had to ask Mr. Google. It pains me to admit it now, but as it seems I am often late for the "good stuff" (born too late to experience the sixties, too young to meet Jane Roberts and had only a brief correspondence with her husband before I fell into what some would call a "dark wind" period of my life and missed his passing) - admitting this freely, now, all because of that playful seagull and my memory of him, I have found this wonderful site, and thus discovered that there are many treasures written that still await me.

As it could come at perhaps no better time than this period in my life, with a currently refreshed state of mind and spirit, an intensity and focus to reach out for my idealizations and dreams I have so often ignored, searching and searching for something that I thought and feared I would never find: a place where my heart can open up, where Joy can come as it may, where tears can flow freely, and hope can be renewed. I am shaking as I type this, thinking of the world of possibilities that I can sense here. "Thrilled" doesn't describe it. More like, awed, yet humbled (but not too much, humorously speaking) mysteriously awed and more... a great wind to fill out the sails of my being.

As I stepped outside on that lovely afternoon, looking upwards, there were about fifteen or twenty very large birds with wings outspread, floating so high up in the air, drifting, drifting, moving along with the currents of a soft wind. As I write this I must admit again, I had never thought of Jonathan over the years; at that amazing flock I only stared, smiled, and wished them fulfillment and happiness. That wonderful flock of birds gradually drifted overhead to my direction, circling lazily, then finally disappearing from my view.

I did wonder if I would see any tricks in air, any playfulness that one of them might exhibit. Instead they just flew away, searching perhaps as I search still, seeking whatever they may seek as a rightful and proud creature in this universe. For that I am grateful.

Michael S. 

Jane's Story

Chris, my son was a bit of a loner, a bit shy and not so popular. He never read anything.
But when he was around 13 or 14 he joined the Air cadets with a desire to fly and this was the beginning. Around that time he also read "Johnathon."

He became a flight sergeant in the air cadets, became a qualified air instructor among other things and started college.

Sadly he died in 2010 in a totally unexpected tragic accident when he fell from a balcony aged just short of 18.

When we were planning his funeral we found a rather tatty copy of JLS and read it again, where we realized how relevant this was to Chris, a loner with his own troubles but who went his own way and looked after others and blossomed . We played the JLS soundtrack at his funeral along with Elbow and Courteeners songs related to flying.

We miss him every day but Johnathon Livingston Seagull helps us see who he was, not what he might have been.

Jane H.

Robert's Story

Thank you Richard for the fourth chapter!

"Jonathan" and I have been together for nearly 33 years, and ironically, we just became reacquainted again. Browsing the bookstore with my daughter last weekend, I found your updated book. I bought one for my stepfather's birthday and one for my self, fully intending to introduce you to my children after I read it yet again.

Done! Completed, and sad that in my world of business, I've forgotten some life lessons you taught me many years ago. I'm finding my center once again though, and seeking that perfection rarely obtained but pleasurable in the journey.

Thanks again from a fellow, life long resident of the PNW.
PS...while I'm pulling out "Illusions" again, I asked my daughter to take a break from "Jane Eyre" (advanced English assignment) to gain a little insight from "Jonathan"!
Cheers! 

Robert V.

Sandy's Story

I first found my inward Jonathon in a high school literature class. Jonathon Livingston Seagull was a required read and our entire semester focused on the principals found within. I never knew that this book, these principals would affect me in so many ways years later. Sadly, I was rebellious, immature and had no interest in the BIG picture. I dropped out of high school, took a job as a factory worker, and then came LIFE!

Fast forward three years.... I had gotten married and my wife unexpectedly died, I had no purpose. Life had no meaning. I sat on a carpet rolling machine one day and looked at the others around me. For the first time, I saw the "Flock" and I knew I wanted no part of their self-imposed lot in life. That's the day I determined myself to rise above my circumstances and fly!

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John's Story

I was a child the first time I ever met Jonathon. The small house I grew up in had a bookcase that created the wall of the staircase leading to my parents' upper story bedroom. There were so many books up there to explore, most of them books my dad collected about WW2 airplanes or locations National Geographic sends well-studied photographers to explore.

I'd sit on the floor staring at the books wondering which ones I might actually be able to read and found this little paperback book with its failing binding stuck to one of the larger books. The bird on the cover captured my attention immediately, although I didn't understand a word of what I read. My spiritual exploration of life wouldn't happen for a few more decades until after I finally realized I wouldn't find the answers I was seeking in a church.

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Mark's Story

On our first date, I printed a quote from Illusions in a card I got for her... "You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it come true.  –Richard Bach, Illusions."  She knew exactly who Richard Bach was, and that led to hours of conversation that night and three years later, a marriage. Now, 15 years later, on the eve of my final divorce hearing, I run into the updated "Jonathan." I discovered it by accident at a bookstore, and had just sat down to read it when the friend who long ago introduced me to that book, called me. We talked for hours again tonight about my journey, and the cycles and "coincidences" that have occurred. It still never ceases to amaze me.

 

Mark H.

Tanika's Story

I met Jonathan eight years ago and he helped me being what I am today. I do things differently, I don't compare myself with the other lot. I chose an offbeat career for myself, whereas my friends were busy making money. I just believed that I was meant for something else. It was a dream I had to chase, hard enough, which demanded me to stand strong even at the worst times. But it was just the courage I believed in which helped me leave behind all my valuable degrees and chase my dream. 

I would always like to thank Jonathan, for inculcating in me the thought of being independent, different and following my heart. Believe in your dreams and you can make anything possible. Its a must read. I found my life in this book.

 

Tanika S.

Suzy's Story

My high school years were horrible, not only full of the typical high school anxieties and self-esteem issues like every teenager has, but also some incidents of peer and date abuse. It was a Catholic school in a small Southern town. My world was so small, and I didn't fit in anywhere in that world. I honestly do not know why I was not a teenage suicide statistic. That is how sad I was. So off to college I went ready to reinvent myself, but how? I had no idea that life could be different than what I was living, but my hope was that there would be new people who did not know me before, and I could start over. I had a crush on the (upper classman) newspaper editor. He was nice to me, and did a good job of not breaking my heart. Actually, I think he enjoyed the fandom that I provided. Anyway, one late weekend, college-party night after being introduced to a keg earlier in the day, I spilled my sad stories and dreadful history to him. He was kind, told me it was okay, life happens, you go on, etc.... Later that semester, we were working on the paper late one night, and he handed me JLS and said he thought I would like it. I did. I devoured it, and ran to him the next day, and he told me about Illusions. A new world was open to me, a new everything. It was like the scene in the movies where black and white turns to color. I was strong and I was me and I was okay and I could fly.

 

Suzy S.

Sura's Story

I first heard of Jonathan sitting on a mountain at a camp in Colorado. A guy named Charlie had a copy of a book not yet published back in the 70's, someone he knew wrote and we sat as he told us the story of Jonathan Livingston Seagull. I waited for the book to come out, I tried to order it from my bookstore back in Virginia and they laughed at me. Months later their window was full of the book as it hit the best seller list and Richard appeared on talk shows. I believe my copy might have been read by over 100 people. My adult children know the story as I got the tape version and played it on family trips. Back to the 60's, the Beatles had been to Rishikesh and opened our minds to eastern philosophy, Richards Bach was asked on that first talk show was Jonathan a Christian or a Buddhist. I had come from attending Christian Science camp and church and was seeking more. 10 years later I found the path of Universal Sufism where lessons are taught through stories and Jonathan is at the top of my list. I once designed a teenage retreat around the book and they all made collages of what their wings were. Now in my sixth decade of walking this planet, I have recently taken on being a Story teller, Tales on the Caravan, stories of the heart, having sat with many teachers around the planet and absorbed the stories, I now want to share. Jonathan is my foundation on which I have built this caravan.

 

Sura T.

 

Celia's Story

I think I ve always known Jonathan, ever since I was much younger, however, he was in the back of my mind. Much more recently, he has come into the foreground, and over the last 8/9 years, I have taken charge of my life and have strived to be the best I can in all aspects. It really has paid off, even when times have been tough, and there have been many, I continued to feel the purpose of my own journey deep inside. I know I still have a long way to go but I also now know that everything was already in place, it just took time to tap into the constant strong feeling deep inside me. I am now a mother, a successful business woman, I have my own TV show and won the Inspiration Awards for Women last year. More importantly my ambition now is to give something back to others who haven't been as lucky, and although the path is windy and long, I am certainly on it and striding fast along it! This book was something I read some time ago, and I am now asking my daughter to read it too, so that she can also continue along the path of success. Many thanks!

 

Celia S.

Vi's Story

In 1970 I was twenty-one working at a clerical job. Miserably married to a man who literally thought of himself as God in our household, I longed for escape. But escape was a sin. After all, according to the way I was raised in a fundamentalist church, my husband had male parts, and I had female parts, and that made me inferior. One day a couple of the laborers at my place of employment were talking about JLS. They recommended it. I had so little money. I couldn't afford the book even though it was inexpensive. One of the guys loaned it to me. I read it on my lunch hour. I was forever changed. It was hard for me to believe I could fly, but from that day onward I worked to make it so. 

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Paul's Story

When I was 25, a short voyage on a 40' sloop inspired me to build my own. Five years later I had built a 43' ketch complete with a teak laid deck. No one believed that I could do it. Some years later, I fell victim to a mental illness which nearly killed me (by my own hand.) I got through it after a few years but I had lost myself. A friend (who is now my wife) gave me a copy of JLS. It was and still is the most important book that I have ever read because it reminded me that I was once a young man who chased his dreams and made them come to life. JLS led me back to me and I became that young man again. I have bought about 40 copies so far because on my way through life I have met people who I think would benefit from this amazing fable. It should come as no surprise that I now have one copy as I given away all the others. Thank you, Richard, for your inspiration. You helped me to return.

 

Paul P.

Sandra's Story

The haunting music, the words in the beautiful book gave a small country town girl in Australia hope... hope that there was a world where it was OK to follow your dream. Jonathan gave me courage to learn to fly.  And as the years have passed I have always taken a chance, walked away to again follow my heart, chosen to be alone far from that initial family.  I can learn and grow, becoming better with each upward spiral and in so doing I believe I am becoming an example of what it means to live.  Jonathan gave me a love of flying.

 

Sandra W.

Jim's Story

In 1962 I was seven. I stood on the ramp at NAS Moffett Field watching the Blue Angels. I was mesmerized. I knew I needed to do what they were doing. In 1971 I was in high school and discovered JLS. His message to me was to have the courage to follow your heart and I held that thought close. In 1983 I was earning enough to take flying lessons. By 1986 I was earning a living flying (barely). I towed banners, gliders, gave rides and flew skydivers. By 1991 I started flying freight but I still had not accomplished my primary goal. Doing aerobatics. 

About 1993 I was preflighting my Cessna 208 freighter when I met Richard Bach. He was picking up his C-337 from the avionics shop in Santa Maria, Ca. I told him that I had read JLS and some of his other work and it had inspired me to follow my dream of aerobatics, but akro was the one thing I really hadn't had the opportunity to do. He encouraged me to just "do it," but it wasn't until 2005 that I could afford a Pitts Special....

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