Do you remember that leap of faith you took when you let go of the trapeze bar on the playground? … It felt amazing, scary…new sensations….
Well we are doing that… We are excited to officially announce that after 12 amazing years in the Alps we are returning back to the States for new adventures as a family and in our professions. I am retiring from the World Cup ski mountaineering circuit but will certainly not be a stranger to the sport. This summer our family will move to New Hampshire where Michael and I will join the teaching and coaching team at The Dublin School. We will not be strangers to the Alps; we will keep connected to this amazing place and to our friends. The mountains will be forever around me and we will continue to live our life in Health, Sport & Balance
As I finish my Holistic Health Coaching degree with The Institute for Integrative Nutrition I am continually inspired by the words and lectures of so many in the field of nutrition and health. Just this morning I listened to this audio excerpt from the book, Warriors of the Heart by Danaan Parry. It spoke to me and our next steps.
THE FLYING TRAPEZE
Sometimes, I feel my life is a series of trapeze swings. I’m either hanging on to a trapeze bar swinging along or, for a few moments, I’m hurtling across space between the trapeze bars.
Mostly, I spend my time hanging on for dear life, to the 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. I know most of the right questions, and even some of the right answers. But once in a while, as I’m merrily, or not so merrily, swinging along, I look ahead of me into the distance, and what do I see?
I see another trapeze bar looking at me. It’s empty; and I know that this new 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, to move to the new one.
Each time it happens, I hope – no, I pray – that I won’t have to grab the new one. But deep down I know that I must totally release my grasp on my old bar, and for some moments in time I must hurtle across space before I can grab the new bar. Each time I am filled with terror. It doesn’t even matter that in all my previous hurtles I’ve always made it.
Each time, I am afraid I will miss, that I will be crushed on unseen rocks in the bottomless basin between the bars. But I do it anyway. I must.
Perhaps this is the essence of what the mystics call faith. No guarantees, no net, no insurance, but I do it anyway because somehow, to keep hanging on to that old bar is no longer an option. And so for an eternity that can last a microsecond or a thousand lifetimes, I soar across the dark void of “the past is over, the future is not yet here”. It’s called a transition. I’ve come to believe that it is the only place that real change occurs.
I’ve noticed that, in our culture, this transition zone is looked upon as a “no-thing”, a no-place between places. Sure, the old trapeze-bar was real, and the new one coming towards me, I hope that’s real too. But the void in between? That’s just a scary, confusing, disorienting “no-where” that must be broken through as fast and as unconsciously as possible. What a shame!
I have a sneaking suspicion that the transition zone is the only real thing, and the bars are illusions we dream up to not notice the void. Yes, with all the fear of being out-of-control that can accompany transitions, they are still the most alive, growth-filled, passionate 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 zone between trapeze bars. Allowing ourselves to dwell in the only place where change really happens. It can be terrifying. But, it can also be enlightening. Hurtling through the void, we just may learn to fly.
With all the fear of being out of control that can accompany transitions, they are the most alive, growth-filled passionate moments in our lives. This statement particularly spoke to me.
To manage the transitions with Grace has been my goal in the sprint race and my goal in life. I won a gold because I practiced and breathed in the transitions. It takes daily practice to find this grace in every transition. Hang out in it, be present…. and breathe.
Danielle Laporte says it well in the following poem on Courage and Breathe:
Courage breathes deep whole breaths
She can not be detained by the past
on her way
knows the odds
and still makes plans to celebrate.
Courage rolls up doubt and smokes it.
Always chooses flight
no matter what.