Wednesday, September 02, 2009

The Parable of the Trapeze

A friend sent this parable to me after I posted my facebook status as: "Some days, I feel like life is perfect. Other days, I get an overwhelming feeling that I am free falling and my parachute just might not open. Can anyone relate?"

It really hit home. I feel a lot like I am free falling right now, desperately searching for that new "thing" that will fuel my passion (what is my passion??) and give me a tremendous sense of purpose (what is my purpose??). I am feeling a lot of doubt, uncertainty and confusion lately. Who am I? What do I want?? What kind of life do I want to create? What will be my legacy? What is holding me back? What is propelling me forward? Why do I feel dissatisfied? Why do I feel satisfied? Where are my pecs disappearing too?

I have a lot of grumble that is constantly ping ponging through my head and it's driving me a little nuts.

What I am trying to convince myself of is that I am growing and evolving during this "transition" process and that I NEED to go through this time in order to figure it all fact, if my search has taught me anything, it's that as soon as you think you have it all figured out then you no longer have it figured out.

I hope you enjoy this parable as much as I did.


The Parable of the Trapeze

Sometimes I feel like my life is a series of trapeze swings. I’m either hanging on to 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 hanging on for dear life to my trapeze-bar-of-the-moment.
It carries me along at a certain steady rate of swing and I have the feeling that I’m in control of my life. I know most of the right questions and even some of the answers.

But, every once in awhile as I’m merrily (or even not so merrily) swinging along, I look out ahead of me in the distance and what do I see? I see another trapeze bar swinging toward me. It’s 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 this 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 let go of my old bar completely before I 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. It doesn’t matter that in all my previous hurtles across the void of unknowing I have always made it. I am each time afraid that I will miss, that I will be crushed on unseen rocks in the bottomless chasm between bars. 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 on to that old bar is no longer on the list of alternatives. So, for an eternity that can last a microsecond or a thousand lifetimes, I soar across the dark void of “the past is gone, the future is not yet here.” It’s called “transition”. I have come to believe that this transition is the only place that real change occurs. I mean real change, not the pseudo-change that lasts only until the next time my old buttons get punched.

I have 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 that new one that’s coming towards me, I hope it’s real, too. But that void in between? Is that just a scary, confusing, disorienting nowhere that must be gotten through as fast and as unconsciously as possible?

No! What a wasted opportunity that would be. I have a sneaking suspicion that the transition zone is the only real thing and the bars are illusions we dream up to avoid the void where 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 honoured, 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 of our lives.

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 trapezes. 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 just may learn how to fly.

- Danaan Parry


Candice Bauer said...

I love this. It speaks to so many people. Especially myself. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Journalism school? You are a great writer.

Cdineb said...

Thank you for sharing this Kyle. It is such a poignant reminder of the value of every moment, and the importance of always asking yourself "what is the lesson?" I wish you well as you try to figure out where next your journey takes you.

prin said...

That's awesome, especially this:

I have a sneaking suspicion that the transition zone is the only real thing and the bars are illusions we dream up to avoid the void where real change, the real growth, occurs for us.

I hope you find your way and your new passions.