(excerpted from the The Essene Book of Days)
Sometimes I feel that my life is a series of trapeze swings.
I’m either hanging onto a trapeze bar swinging along or, for a few moments in my life, I’m hurtling across space in between trapeze bars.
Most of the time, I spend my life hanging on for dear life to my trapeze-bar-of-the-moment. It carries me along a certain steady rate of swing and I have the feeling that I am in control of my life. I know most of the right questions.
As I swing along I look ahead of me into the distance and what do I see?
I see another trapeze bar swinging toward me.
It is empty, and I know, in that place in me that knows, that this new trapeze bar has my name on it. It is my next step, my growth, my aliveness coming to get me. In my heart-of-hearts I know that for me to grow, I must release my grip on the present, well-known bar and move to the new one.
Each time it happens to me, I hope (no, I pray) that I won’t have to grab the new one. But in my knowing place, I know that I must totally release my grasp on my old bar, and, for some moment in time, I must hurtle across space before I can grab onto the new bar.
Each time I am filled with terror.
But I do it anyway. Perhaps this is the essence of what the mystics call the faith experience.
No guarantees, no net, no insurance policy, but you do it anyway because, somehow, to keep hanging onto that bar is no longer on the list of alternatives. And so, for an eternity that can last a microsecond or a thousand lifetimes, I soar across the dark void. In that space the past is gone and the future is not yet here.
It is called transition.
I have come to believe that it is the only place that real change occurs. I mean, real change, not the pseudo-change that only lasts until the next time my old buttons get punched. I have noticed that in our culture, this transition zone is looked upon as a nothing, a no-place between places.
Sure the old trapeze bar was real, and that new one coming towards me, I hope that’s real too. But the void in between? That’s just a scary, confusing, disorienting nowhere that must be gotten through as fast and as unconsciously as possible. What a waste!
I have a sneaking suspicion that the transition zone is the only real thing and the bars are illusion we dream up to avoid the void, where the real change, the real growth occurs for us.
Whether or not my hunch is true, it remains that the transition zones in our lives are incredibly rich places. They should be honored, even savored. Yes, with all the pain and fear and feelings of being out of control that can (but not necessarily) accompany transitions, they are still the most alive, most growth-filled, passionate, expansive moments in our lives.
And so, transformation of fear may have nothing to do with making fear go away, but rather with giving ourselves permission to hang out in the transition between the trapeze bars.
Transforming our need to grab that new bar-any bar-is allowing ourselves to dwell in the only place where change really happens.
It can be terrifying. It can also be enlightening in the true sense of the word.
Hurtling through the void, we may just learn to fly.
h/t Joanne Fossland