Life is a trapeze

Maude Banvard, The Catch, Brockton Fair, Massachusetts, 1907

Life is a trapeze.
It may be scary to jump off
but if you let go,
take a risk and trust,
you can revel in the heady excitement
of the leap
and learn to fly.

Shannyn Steel

This image captivated me this week.  When I saw it I drew a deep breath and sat up entranced.  It crept back into my thoughts constantly. I wasn’t sure why it enthralled me so until I sat down just now to write about it.

The image is a beautiful metaphor for so many aspects of life.

Jumping off – you can’t begin anything until you take that leap of faith.  We all know the adage that reminds us that if we don’t jump, we can’t fly.  If you haven’t jumped, and you are pushed, take it as a sign you should have jumped and embrace this new chance to fly.

Letting go – jumping off requires letting go. You can’t grab hold of the next bar until you let go of the one you are holding.  Who knows what’s next but a friend of mine regularly reminds me to choose the exciting nerve-wracking option (can’t get any more nerve-wracking than trapeze. Well, there’s skydiving I guess).

Transitions –  all transitions require jumping off and letting go. It’s in that space in-between that we reassemble and redefine ourselves, so we can fully embrace the next opportunity.

Living a happy and fulfilled life – do something that scares you every day , or so say today’s life coaches.  Jumping, letting go, choosing the nerve-wracking option will cover that objective pretty much. Living a happy and fulfilled life is also, for me,  about not tying happiness to a person or things but to goals.

Then there is vulnerability, trust and risk. You can’t gain anything without an element of risk, sometimes you have to put yourself out there and be vulnerable to attract the good in life and even when trust has been broken, you can’t live life without it. To get the best out of people you have to expect the best and offer your best. It’s a simple, elegant yet uneasy equation but one that will pay off.

I am sure there are many more elements to be captured from this stunning image. I’m not sure I’ve exhausted every reason this photograph delights me. I shall continue to ponder its magic and messages. In the meantime, take a leap of faith – see where you land. I will be, you can be sure.

Peace just snuck up on me

There is no secret ingredient. It’s just you.

Kung Fu Panda.

I’ve been mulling over an issue this week. Well, it’s not an issue as such, more an interesting insight.  A learning, an understanding and acknowledgement , if you will.

Over the course of several encounters in the last little while I have had a gentle realisation that things are shifting for me. That perhaps I’m growing and moving along my path with more grace and ease than I’d realised.

I’ve recently been contacted by several people from my past who, in the past, I have reacted badly to, for one reason or another. Feelings of bitterness, resentment, guardedness usually flare up and simmer for days on end, driving me crazy, souring my thoughts and clouding my heart.  Being in touch with these people, admittedly it hasn’t been face to face contact but contact nonetheless, has been quite pleasant. No resentment, no fight or flight, no anger or malice.  I noticed after each interaction I was actually quite compassionate toward them, not in a “I am a guru, better than you and will bless and forgive you” manner but in an “I am in a strong place and I no longer have to struggle with you” kind of way. Does that make sense?

Talking with a friend last night we came to the realisation that when we give up the struggle change happens.  Again, I’m no guru here. It drives me insane when people advise: stop struggling, let it go, just allow, don’t use force etc. Easier said than done I say. I didn’t just drop this stuff that happened between me and those others, I got so intent and focused on other things that the issues between us slipped away and became insignificant in light of what was going on around me.

Almost by accident this shift has occurred, though many say there are no accidents, and I’m inclined to agree. Quite simply, I shifted my focus onto what I wanted rather than what I didn’t and voila, peacefulness slipped in without fanfare, filling the empty spaces.

Again, I stress, this wasn’t an overnight decision to focus on the good stuff and turn my attention away from my troubles. It was a long and slow process of choosing small actions each day, ensuring each week I got out and did something that made me happy. It wasn’t big stuff. It was lots of small actions and choices that together made the difference.

This morning two quotes spurred me to communicate my small gain, the one at the top of this post and the following, I hope they resonate for you too.

You don’t have to respond to negativity with negativity. You don’t have to pick up that burden. You don’t have to throw the next stone, cutting your fingers open on the sharp edges in the process. You don’t have to prove you are strong by hitting back. Remember, you can simply choose to stay in your own peace. You like it there. And who  knows? Others may decide to join you.

Nanea Hoffman