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'm in control of my life. 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 swinging towards me and 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 the grip on the present, well-known bar to 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 hurdle across the space before I can grab on to 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. Each time I am afraid I will miss, that I will be crushed on unseen rocks in the bottomless chasm between the bars. 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 old 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 of "the past is gone, the future is not yet here." It's 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 "no-thing," a no-place between places. Sure the old trapeze bar was real, and that new one coming towards me, I hope it's real too. But the void in between? That's just a scary, confusing, disorienting, "nowhere" that must be gotten through as 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 that the bars are illusions we dream up to avoid the void, where the real change, the real growth occurs for us. Weather 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 a new bar, any bar and 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.
- From The Essene Book of Days