When I was a little girl, I loved to swing. The thing I liked most about swinging was not how high I could go (although that was cool); it was in the moments I would come in for a landing. I would wait for just the right moment and I would leap off the swing. I’d get big air.
I spend a lot of time talking with people about fear. That emotion or reaction caused by an understanding that there is danger, or even the threat of danger. The instinctive aspect of fear is what gets our foot to the brake; it locks our body, puts our mind into survival mode, and tells our heart to brace for the worst.
Then there’s the intentional side of fear. Standing on the edge of something new – a goal or a change - the proverbial cliff. Two common scenarios emerge. The ground gives way, and we slip and lose our footing. Or, all of the sudden someone or something is pushing us and forcing us over the edge. In either scenario, we completely lose sight of the reason we are on the edge in the first place. We are thinking about how we protect and save ourselves from the exact thing we wanted.
Fear is a trick our mind plays on us. We stop looking at the opportunity to take flight. We push ourselves away from the edge, convinced we will fall. The scars on my knees serve a physical reminder of the moments I missed and fell. What is not physically obvious are all the times I landed. Those moments are stored in my heart and fuel my confidence to go again. If I let fear trick me, I see the scars, and stay on the edge. I lose sight of my heart and the brilliance of landing.
What happens instead if we live into fear as opposed to in avoidance of it? We embrace the confidence living deep inside us that tells us we have everything we need to get big air and stick the landing. We know it’s not possible to land every jump. There is possibility to gain inner strength and knowledge from the attempt. There is beauty in the fall if you take it and use it to learn and grow. Falling is a part of life and scars aren’t a reflection of failure, they are a passionate expression of our willingness to keep trying.
Back on the swings, I recall the moment right before I leap. I get my body set to take the jump. I check the surroundings and know exactly when the moment is here. Stay in the positive flow of fear. The instant I take flight. The second I don’t know if I will land or fall. In that moment, there is perfect harmony. My mind, heart, and spirit give me courage to leap, allow possibility of the fall, thrill in landing, and joy knowing that no matter what, I got to fly.
See you on the playground…