Last night, I was lucky enough to listen to an extremely empowering lecture by Joshua Rosenthal, the Founder and Director of Institute for Integrative Nutrition (where I will graduate from in a couple short months!)
I don’t know if it’s just me, but I feel like every time I am going through a certain internal battle or issue, the perfect lecture comes along like it’s speaking specifically to me. This particular discussion was on fear. Fear of change. Fear of growing. Fear of trying something new. Fear of the future. Fear of the unknown. Fear of being in that “transition phase,” as Joshua calls that place of uncertainty.
If any of you have ever ended a relationship or a friendship you knew deep down in your heart wasn’t working, or left a career you weren’t fulfilled in/ that you weren’t passionate about, or even took a risk to go after something you truly believed in, you know how scary that in-between phase can be. “Will I ever be successful?” “Am I ever going to find love again?” “How am I going to make enough money to support myself?”
And 9 times out of 10, everything sorts itself out. You find a better job that suits your personality, you fall in love again (even if it’s just with yourself), and you move on. These times are the moments we learn the most about ourselves; they’re moments of growth.
My favorite part of the poem is this line: “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 zone — between the trapeze bars — allowing ourselves to dwell in the only place where change really happens.” This to me says it all.
Read below for the full piece, which I’m sure you’ll find quite inspiring.
The Flying Trapeze
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, I’m hurdling across space between the trapeze bars.
Mostly, I spend my time hanging on for dear life to the 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. 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 looking at me. It’s empty. And I know, in that place in me that knows, that this new 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, 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 moments in time I must hurtle across
space before I can grab the new bar. Each time I do this I am filled with terror. It doesn’t matter that in all my
previous hurdles I have always made it.
Each time I am afraid I will miss, that I will be crushed on unseen rocks in the bottomless basin between the
But I do it anyway. I must.
Perhaps this is the essence of what the mystics call faith. No guarantees, no net, no insurance, but we do it
anyway because hanging on to that old bar is no longer an option. And so, for what seems to be an eternity but
actually lasts a microsecond. I soar across the dark void called “the past is over, the future is not yet here.” It’s
called a transition. I have come to believe that it is the only place that real change occurs.
I have a sneaking suspicion that the transition zone is the only real thing, and the bars are the illusions we
dream up to not notice the void. Yes, with all the fear that can accompany transitions, they are still the most
vibrant, growth-filled, passionate 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 zone — between the trapeze bars — allowing ourselves to dwell in the
only place where change really happens.
It can be terrifying. It can also be enlightening.
Hurdling through the void, we just may learn to fly.
Do you ever feel like your life is like a series of trapeze swings? How do you get through those periods of “transition”?