I will never forget being face to face with solid rock, hanging by a rope, fingers gripping the ledge and thinking that this was where I belonged. I was 28 and had never rock climbed before and said “yes” before thinking about what that meant for someone afraid of heights. I had an experienced climber teaching me, a small group of positive friends for support and made the wise decision to only look a few holds ahead of me. Rappelling back down was much more terrifying than going up, despite it being easier. Once you say “belay on” you have to trust, let go of the rock face and sit back while your friend slowly lowers you. I fell in love with rock climbing that day, it resonated for me as a non-competitive, contemplative “yogish” activity where your mindset determines your success in the moment. You definitely have to live in the moment up there when you’re trying to figure out the best way to ascend.
© Leon Kirchner
Most of my life I’ve jumped in before thinking things through and it has stood me well most of the time.
I think the extent to which we are able to “let go” is a reflection of how well we deal with the anticipated outcome. In a goal oriented society we are often taught to strive for benchmarks, standards and variables that can quantify or qualify our accomplishments. While these can be unavoidable in many areas of life, I think things go swiftly awry when applied where they don’t belong. Relationships, family dynamics and many creative outlets and recreational physical endeavours come to mind, how does one measure “success” or “accomplishment” in these areas of your life?
Having an “end” in mind perspective can be a chokehold mindset that almost guarantees that we never fully explore potential. If we could just delve into our lives without expectation, the world could offer us untold miracles.
It is so enlivening to dream, I love creating a vision board to portray my possible future, but after this initial step, I think it’s equally important to let go and to allow the Infinite Spirit to direct the course of our lives. It’s important to pause long enough to connect with God’s purpose and I find intuition can be a reliable component for this. I love taking the time to meditate, pray and sing while listening in my heart for God’s direction. I like to think of it as taking those first few steps and then letting the process of walking then running unfold in a naturally organic awakening of the spirit, always moving forward with an open heart in all ways.
Having a rigid attachment to predetermined outcomes can infuse stress and often prevent us from taking that risk in the first place. I have spoken with many friends who haven’t gone to the gym in ages or taken a class because they were fearful of taking those first steps alone and they had a real fear of embarrassment. Honestly, if I thought for a moment that God’s plan for me was to play for the philharmonic orchestra, I would never have attempted playing the cello in the first place. Who of us can ever really know God’s will and plan for us?
I know when I first embark on any adventure, relationship or creative endeavour, I go through an awkward, even ugly, first stage of discovery. Trust me, even now I shudder when I listen to my recorded cello playing. Yet, if I had allowed that to interfere with the process, I would never have improved and would never be where I am today. Which, by the way, is still very much amateur!
But.. I love playing the cello, I love painting, cooking, baking and am insanely crazy about writing. I can’t NOT do one these things every single day. They bring light to my life. I am also blessed that I love my job, I have clients I enjoy working with and am inspired to be able to help them change their homes and in doing so, change their lives.
If we could abandon the attachment mindset that decides in advance the expected outcome of our endeavours, I think we’d see just how much freer and expansive our lives could become.
I am learning to let go of my attachment to people as well and this includes my family. I often remind myself that no one in my life “belongs” to me, even my children. They are all a blessing from God and were meant to journey with me for a time. Some are with us for most of our lives and others for only an interlude. The purpose of their presence in my life will unfold as it’s meant and I love the mystery hidden in the possibilities.
It is a challenge to see friends caught up trying to understand and contain new relationships and friendships, sometimes to validate their self-worth. I have totally been there myself in the past. I think this desire for control or certainty is a derivative of unresolved issues. My beautiful friend Tannis always reminds me that if we can begin by wholeheartedly loving ourselves and placing ourselves at the centre of our lives, we will most certainly begin to create healthier connections. Raising our vibration through this self-love naturally will resonate with those who are either coming to join us with the same mindset or perhaps need some loving guidance because they’re not quite there yet. Just approaching everyone from a place of unselfish love might be enough.
1 Corinthians 13:13
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
My girlfriend,Claire went on the Camino this past year and I’d love to do the same when the timing works for me. She reminds me that life is about taking chances because without that we just receive more of “the same”.
THE ONLY ROAD YOU COULD FOLLOW
The road seen, then not seen, the hillside
hiding then revealing the way you should take,
the road dropping away from you as if leaving you
to walk on thin air, then catching you, holding you up,
when you thought you would fall –
and the way forward always in the end, the way
that you came, the way that you followed,
the way that carried you into your future,
that brought you to this place, no matter that
it sometimes had to take your promise from you,
no matter that it always had to break your heart
along the way: the sense of having walked
from far inside yourself out into the revelation,
to have risked yourself for something that seemed
to stand both inside you and far beyond you…
I’m really trying to live every day of my life like this.. stepping out into thin air, taking risks, standing on my own yet having faith that God will carry me when I need him to. Yes, our hearts could break but what if they break from the astonishing and terrible beauty of all of the gifts that God has given us. Who knows how far we’ll go?