Monday, July 12, 2010

Circus Tents and Flying Trapeze

When I was a child, my favorite circus act was the flying trapeze.  I loved watching the person glide through the air, letting go of her swing, her arm extended, she would  find another that would take her the rest of the way across the circus tent.  It was exquisite poetry in motion. A beautiful bird in flight.  A leap of faith.  A courageous act of letting go, and having faith in what lies ahead. 

Most things that we do in life are a practice for the next big show.  At  3, we let go our children's hands to go to playschool. At 5 they go to kindergarten.  At 6 they were front and centre in their tutus and tap shoes. At 10 they went to their first school dance.  At 16 they learned to drive and we gave them the keys and a machine to hopefully navigate safely.  At 18, we watched them walk across the stage, graduating from high school.  In their 20's, they continue their journey, forging a path of who they are yet to become, learning along the way, testing the skills they learned through all their practice.

As parents, each time we waved good bye, we said a little prayer to ourselves. We watched them fall and pick themselves up. And we wiped their tears and bandaged their scraped knees and egos. 

What we don't realize that that with every step they take, we take one too.  Growth is imminent. To stop growing is to become stagnant.  When a plant becomes stagnant, it dies.  If a bird in mid flight, becomes stagnant, it can no longer fly.  Think about it. We were not meant to stand still. 

So we shouldn't.  There are signs all around us that tell us when it is time to take that leap of faith.  Job dissatisfaction.  Checking out.  Not caring about the things that used to matter.  Becoming complacent.  Sometimes we act out against others when we feel stagnant in our lives, as if we are entitled to change without taking a risk. Sometimes we just feel . . . finished with where we are or what we are doing.  For me, that feeling is one claustrophia as if being caged. 

But some measure of risk is required to let go and find a new place.  Like the circus performer who flew effortlessly through the air when I was 7, I am sure she was scared, but she was confident that she had learned well and prepared herself to take the leap.  

We need to learn what we have learned, heed the signs that tell is change is imminent, and let go to a new place, exquisitely, gracefully and fearlessly.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So true, how boring life would be if you just accepted your current situation as the way it is to be for the rest of your life. Change is good and change is necessary. Otherwise you shrivel up and die. Well OK, I guess you shrivel up anyway, but you know what I mean.