In this exhausting and exhilarating season of change, transition, and letting go that I'm in right now, I keep coming back to this picture.
That's me, top right, in the blue hoodie. I can honestly say I have NEVER been more terrified in all my life than I was right there. In that moment.
That's a rope swing I did in Colorado, at the Captivating Advanced retreat, last October. I committed to the swing before realizing exactly what it was, and the next thing I knew, I'm saddling up with these two dear sisters and hanging on for dear life.
I was strapped into that rope swing, and as the minutes ticked by toward our big release, the more I wanted out. Pure panic, sheer terror. Wanted. Out.
This is me, the girl who hates roller coasters, hates the sensation of falling, hates adrenaline and the unknown...WHAT was I DOING? I was tied to a flimsy chair swing with ropes, wearing an ill-fitting helmet, that was going to DROP ME in a free fall and then PROPEL ME toward a mountain some ridiculous number of feet in the air.
I actually invited the man you see in the top picture, the one getting us all set up, to my funeral. I was so convinced this was it, I was done for. The End. Peace out. He laughed. Then realized I was serious.
When we were all "secured", the man asked if we were ready, and all three of us shouted "NO!"
I was beyond terrified. I can still vividly remember the emotions, the rush of adrenaline, the sound of my pounding heart in my ears, the panicked choking in my throat. I wanted to do it because I want to prove to myself I could.
But in that moment, all I could think was NO NO NO. I had changed my mind. I wanted the safety of that platform, I wanted SOMETHING under my feet, I wanted security - even if it was security in the world. I wanted to be safe in the familiar and the known. I realized the fall and the swing would be probably one of the best things I could ever do.
But it seemed too scary and impossibly out of reach to ever get there.
I'm back in that rope swing these last few weeks. Terrified of the fall, fearful of the release, with everything in my flesh screaming for safety and security and the familiar. The known. Even a bad familiar and a bad known, in my weakness and limited perspective, can at times seem safer than the free fall.
There's a quote I keep seeing around the internet.
That's me right now and it was me in October on top of that platform and it's most of us at some point in our lives.
I had to choose to stay in the swing.
And somehow, against everything me, I stayed put.
And I flew.
I have a tattoo on my right rib cage. An anchor, with the word Yashab written in rope. Yashab is Hebrew for "stay" or "abide".
I never connected the symbolism before, of that rope, and how it connects back to that rope swing. How everything in my heart right now goes straight back to that swing. To that choice. To that fear, adrenaline, and pure terror.
And to the joy of flying.
Some days I still just want OUT of the swing. There are so many days I still have to consciously, intentionally, trade my fear and my flesh and my insecurity and my doubts for wings.
And on those days, when I choose correctly....