Warrior of Heart by Danaan Parry
“The Fear of Transformation” from the ESSENCE BOOK OF DAYS by Danaan Perry
Sometimes I feel that my life is a series of trapeze swings. I’m either hanging on to a trapeze bar swinging along, or for a few moments in my life, I’m hurtling across space in between trapeze 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 at 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 some of the right answers. But once in a while, as I’m merrily (or not-so-merrily) swinging along, I look out ahead of me into the distance and what do I see? I see another trapeze bar swinging towards me. 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 my grip on the present well-known bar to move to the new one.
Each time it happens to me, I hope (no 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 hurtle across space before I can grab onto the new bar. Each time I am filled with terror. It doesn’t matter that in all previous hurtles across the void knowing I have always made it. Each time I am afraid that I will miss, that I will be crushed on the 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 on to 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 is called transition. I have come to believe that is the only place where real change occurs. I mean real change, not the pseudo-change that only lasts until the next time my old buttons get punched.
Ihave 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 that’s real, too. But the void between? That’s just a scary, confusing, disorienting “nowhere” that must be gotten through as fast as possible. What a waste! I have a sneaking suspicion that the transition zone is the only real thing, and the bars are illusions we dream up to avoid the void, where real change, the real growth occurs for us. Whether or not my hunch is true, it remains that the transition zones in our lives are incredibly rich places. They should be honoured, even savoured. 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 trapeze bars. Transforming our need to grab that new bar is 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.