Have you ever leaned back and let yourself fall? A dear friend of mine tells the story of facilitating a workshop with young people. One by one they climbed onto a table, leaned back and let themselves be caught by their cohort. As the last student emerged from the arms of his new friends, a feisty student with a mischievous gleam in his eye challenged E to do the same. He climbed onto the table, turned around and trusted. His eyes twinkle as he recalls the students catching him, and the shared feeling of trust.
Falling into uncertainty is a scary thing. It is a free-fall into self-trust.
Understanding that we are all living in uncertainty is en-lightening. People often remark on how brave I am to let go of traditional definitions of success, and follow my pathway to thriving, walking in uncertainty. Traditional pathways also contain uncertainty, though many create illusions of certainty for themselves by defining their lives through traditional models of success. At any moment each of us could be faced with a debilitating disease, the loss of a loved-one, or a natural disaster that renders us homeless. The only thing that is absolutely certain is your personal experience of this present moment.
At this moment, I am warm, and safe, and dry, and fed, and loved. And grateful.
2016 is the first year I committed myself to celebrating uncertainty. I shifted my focus from fear of what could happen to a celebration of all the things I couldn’t possibly expect. I listened more closely to the whispers of my heart. I let go of definitions of myself I had carried for many years, illusions based on my reflection in the mirror of society. These definitions had begun to feel too heavy for me to bear any longer. Putting them down, rather than putting myself down for not meeting expectations – mine or others – was the most compassionate thing I have ever done for myself. Giving up this burden gave me the strength to look inward and become familiar with the love-ly woman-child giggling inside of me, full of wonder.
It’s been a year of challenges, and a year of celebrations. I want to thank all of the people who accompanied me on my journey this year. Having touched you, I carry your DNA. It is helping to shape the future me physically. You are literally becoming part of me, and will live inside me forever.
Having heard your stories, comforted your fears, shared your tears and roared fiercely with you, I am a stronger and more compassionate person. You have helped shape the way I think, how I communicate, and what I pay attention to. You’ve helped me learn how to be vulnerable, ask questions, face fear peacefully, and create opportunity. You have helped me recognize and invite others to experience my Unique Genius. You may not have intended that our shared experience would be such a blessing in my life. I thank you anyway, for the precious gift of your time and perspective.
I myself have never climbed onto a table and fallen, trusting others to catch me. I would like to experience that some day. My free-fall was into uncertainty, trusting myself to catch me. And I did. And I do.