learning to fly

In a few months, we will be leaving NYC. We will be moving upstate to Troy, NY. The decision to do this has been a two year meditation and I can’t say it was my own to begin with. But alas, I admit that it is not sustainable (financially, yes it is) for five creatures (3 humans, 2 cats) to live in a railroad apartment for the rest of our lives. How I’d love for things to never change and I’m terrified about moving to a smaller city and leaving my friends and everything that NYC has made me. For I love the city’s grit and grime and my love and hate relationship with it. There are days when I look around and think, I could never leave this place for I am able to feel large and small at the exact same time. I’ve managed to create a wonderful community of friends and yet, I could also wander the streets and know nobody and vice versa. Such a change from the square mile town I grew up in. Then there are moments when people are terribly rude on the subway and yell at you for trying to be kind (for simply trying to remedy the situation of an overcrowded train during rush hour). And in this moment, it takes everything in your power to hold your hand back from throwing your coffee directly onto their Kindle and you briefly think, I can’t wait to get the fuck out of NYC. But in the next moment, you will watch a stranger help carry a stroller up the stairs and instantly your faith in goodness and love is restored, because hope springs eternal. 

But living upstate will be okay too. I know this. A few months ago, we explored the area and found massive mountains and a waterfall. It was a day was full of elements, literally. It was as if Mother Nature was experiencing the same roller coaster and expressing it in rain and snow and sunshine. We found a waterfall with a tiny mountain of ice collecting at the bottom. While I know we may never see that waterfall in the same way (as that moment) again, I am hopeful that exploring the nature in the area will feed me in a different way. It will also be a slower pace of life and after two weeks in Europe (more on that who knows when) I think I will welcome this. I’ll also *hopefully* have my own art studio! Yay!

As I enjoy these last few months of NYC and navigate my feelings. I realize I just have to let go because I cannot control what will happen or how it will turn out and in doing so, I miss out on so much in the present.

So, onward I move. Somewhere between flight and fear and all things beautiful and terrifying.

Here’s a little video of that day of elements near Troy.

P.S. I read the following story a few weeks ago and it really moved me.

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 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 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 into the distance, and what do I see? I see another trapeze bar swinging toward me. It’s empty, and I know, in that place that knows, that this new trapeze bar has my name on it. It is my next step, my growth, my aliveness going 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, 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 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 my previous hurtles across the void of unknowing, I have always made it. Each time I am afraid 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 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.” It’s called transition. I have come to believe 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 punched.

I have 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 in between? That’s just a scary, confusing, disorienting “nowhere” that must be gotten through as fast as unconsciously 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, where the 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 honored, even savored. 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, any 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.

From The Essene Book of Days by Danaan Parry

 

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