The Parable of the Trapeze

I’ve been in a transitional state for a while now.  I moved back to Chicago at the beginning of the year with high hopes of moving on after my Father’s death and creating something new.  What I discovered, was that first, I needed to take another journey.  A deep journey inward, and into the depths of my sorrow, my fears, my grief, tmy anger, the darkness of it all.  For 6 months, I went into the cocoon…allowing.  Allowing whatever wanted to emerge to emerge.  Allowing myself to be with it, with no judgement, with compassion, with love, with gratitude, with anger..whatever arose in the space. To be there.

I am emerging from the cocoon…having gone in a caterpillar and coming out a butterfly starting to flap her wings to break free, to expand, to fly.  As I emerge, I understand now the importance of going into the cocoon.  To give myself that time.  I emerge in a new space, with a new mindset… ready. Ready to serve, to live, to love.  And I find myself impatient to be in that vision fulfilled to be living the purpose of my being here, now (all the while not quite sure anymore if the vision is the same. And  I in the inquiry of what it might be).

So…it was quite auspicious to discover this parable today, as I was perusing through one of my journals. I can not take credit for writing it, but I’m glad someone did.  I don’t know who the author is to give credit to them, but I thank them.

The Parable of the Trapeze

Sometimes I feel that my life is a series of trapeze swings.  I’m either hanging on to a trapeze bar or swinging along or, for a few moments in my life, I’m hurtling across space in between bars.  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 not 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.  It’s empty and I know, in that place in me that knows, that this new trapeze bar has my name in 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 the present, well-know bar to move to the new one.

Each time it happens to me, I hop (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 space before I can grab onto the new bar.  each time I filled with terror.  It doesn’t matter that in all  my previous hurdles across the void of unknowing, I have always made it.  Each time I’m 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 guarantee, 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.”  Its called transition.  I have com to belive 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 pushed.

I have noticed that, in our culture, this transition zone is looked upon as “nothing”, a no-place between places.  Sure the old trapeze-bar was real and that new coming towards me, I hope, that’s real too.  But the void in between?  That’s just a scary, confusing, disorienting, “nowhere” that must be gotten through 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 the bard are illusions we dream up to avoid the void, where the real change, the real growth occurs for us.  Whether or not my hunch is true, it remains that the transition zones of 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 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 that new bar, any bar, is allowing ourselves to dwell in the only place where change really happens.  It can be terrifying.  It can be enlightening, in the true sense of the word.  Hurling though the void, we just may learn how to fly.