Knee deep in autumn, it’s a sweet time on Vancouver Island. The harvest is still bountiful at the farmer’s markets, and the weather is still hot by mid day. But come evening (with it’s darker nights) and mornings (with their cool bite), I am reminded that we are at another turning point in the year.
The autumnal Equinox is coming up this September 23rd, and it’s the moment at which day and night are equal as wellas the tipping point towards a lengthening of night and a darkening of day.
Equinox is an elusive balance point in a year of cycles, the midpoint of the pendulum swing.
The thing about balance though, is that it’s a constantly moving moment, a swinging target. Both our ideas of balance, as well as the attainment of it, are always in a process of being redefined. It’s never static. On one side of balance is trust and faith, and on the other side of balance is fear.
A few months ago my friend D persuaded me to bungee jump. It’s not something I’ve had much interest in trying, but he paid, so I couldn’t say I didn’t have the money. And I’m not afraid of heights so I couldn’t use that excuse either. However, I was definitely resistant to doing it.
With the opportunity presented to me, and the only reason I wasn’t doing it being resistance, I decided to take the challenge. Why? Because I was curious.
The jump was off of a bridge, and standing on the edge, hobbled by the thickly padded bungee cords, I was most definitely standing at a balance point. The jump and any fears I might have were before me. To my back was safety and retreat. Neither points were in balance, but the place at which I stood, toes poking off the edge, wind in my ears and hair, blood and bright sky in my eyes, that was the balance point. Like anything in perfect balance, the moment is a weightless pause, but a pause that quickly becomes uncomfortable when lingered in for too long.
I was starting to feel the awkwardness of standing there, neither going forward nor retreating. I had to make a decision to create movement, so I chose the jump. Leaning slowly forward, slowly, slowly, slowly, waiting for the terrifying moment when gravity took over and snatched me down, I was surprised to discover how fast the plunge was, how much I screamed my head off, swearing and cursing, and how high the rebound took me back up away from the river.
My heart was rattling in my ribcage and I felt as high as a kite (and stayed that way for several hours after).
It was an exhilarating experience. But even more than the exhilaration, I was really interested in how it felt to be in that moment of balance, then to take the inevitable step away from it.
It’s a decision that’s an exercise in trust and faith (that the technicians knew what they were doing, that the equipment would keep me safe, that my friend’s judgement was sound, and so was mine). It was also an exercise in fear (clarifying exactly what it was that I was afraid of – not heights, but of trusting).
And this is the thing. For the last few weeks I’ve been exploring how to trust and have more faith. How to believe in a friendly world. I’ve been longing for this. And by making a decision to practice more trust and faith and working on taking that metaphorical leap, I’ve also had my fears illuminated which has been the most interesting thing. When I decided to practice more trust, I didn’t realize that having trust and faith in a friendly world was in fact part of what I was afraid of, and that under the big fear even more fears more lurked.
I had the opportunity last week to write a guest blog post for a fantastic series called Fear Confessions, and a fear of trusting is what I explored.
But the really interesting thing about this sort of self-inquiry, this sort of self-healing, is that the intentional work of bringing awareness forward is also the work that shifts those fears and declaws them. Being, again, at the edge of the bridge, looking at my fears, and leaping into greater self awareness, that’s been my bungee jump lately. I’m happy to say I am slowly learning the gracious art of surrender and trust.
The fears I talk about in my guest blog post are being winnowed away. And thank goodness for that.
As always, I am truly so curious. Do you have certain fears that rule your life? Or little fears that surprise you when they pop up? How do you deal with your fears? Do you avoid them, or do you get curious and lean into them?
Send me an e-mail and let me know.
Until next time,
ps – I love sharing my stories and thoughts on my blog. In fact, I share more stories in my weekly e-letter than I do here on the blog. You can sign up for my Sunday Morning Pleasures here.