I found myself standing perfectly still at the edge of my life. At the proverbial precipice, I was wondering what would happen next. The only thought that crossed my mind was, “It is time for me to fly.”
Cliché, I know. And honesty, I didn’t even know what it means or have a clue how to begin. Yet the vision and the feeling were clear—the freedom of a Condor riding the thermals above the Grand Canyon. I have no idea where the image came from, but it was real. I could feel it. But how did it fit?
When all else fails, I fall back on the sage words of Linda Ellerbee “Life rewards action.” Continuing to stand at the edge was not going to help me achieve anything. Unsure what to do next, all I could do was take inventory of what I had to work with. Finding something familiar would at least give me a place to start. A jumping off point, no pun intended. I was ready. Ready, but afraid.
I tried to buoy my fear by visualizing Anais Nin’s famous intention:
“Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country.”
Repeatedly, I kept reminding myself of my possibilities, potentials, and dreams. I was going to fly. I was ready to see what I could bring back to my life.
But where to start? The only experience I had to work with was hiking. When you hike, you absolutely need to be prepared, but at the same time, each item in your pack adds to the cumulative weight and weighs you down. You must be very selective in what you pack. You have to go light yet go prepared.
Looking out over the edge, I was determined to go light and go prepared, which implied something had to change. Ok—I was going to have to change something. What did I need to leave behind? What did I need to let go of? What was I tethered to? More questions than answers.
The frustrating thing is that, for me, most often, Creation does not provide answers or signs, but rather better questions. Ok Creation, this is clearly not about physical stuff. It’s about me. And with that, I knew the answer. Perspective. A recurring theme in my life, I had to change my perspective.
I had recently read the book, How to Change: The Science of Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be by Katy Milkman, which posited it was not the actual thing or action we try to change that keeps us from succeeding, but rather much larger barriers that stand in our way. To change, really change, Milkman suggests we needed to remove the barriers. She outlined 6 of them:
I was cruising down the list, making mental ‘does not apply’ check marks in front of each barrier, when I paused momentarily at confidence and let my eyes wander to conformity without making a decision on either. Busted.
Confidence and conformity. Huh?
The two change barriers I would never think applied to me, an avowed odd duck, strident hiker on the road less traveled. But here I was, and my inner knowing was telling me I was here for a reason.
Taking a page out of Dr. Wayne Dyer’s play book, I changed the way I was looking at the barriers. Conformity and confidence—and what I saw did change. Conformity. While confident in flying my personal odd duck freak flag, being honest with myself, secretly I was quick to measure myself against the ‘where I should be in life at my age” standard, making sure I was staying within the acceptable norms. I am a closet semi-conformist. Eeeaaakkkk!!!!!
I sat with conformity and confidence like old friends. Yes, I had lived aspects of my ‘visible’ life aware of how I measured up on the success and respectability scale. Ouch—it hurts to admit it. I was conforming to an invisible, yet tightly held, set of beliefs that really, truthfully, had no impact on my life. Clearly, the steps I had taken to stay within the known boundaries had impacted who I was. It became clear, as I followed the logic down the rabbit hole, I had been ‘conforming’ to the wrong standard. The only metric that counted was not “where I am in life” but rather “who I am in life.” Maybe I’m not quite the odd duck I imagined myself to be.
Though I did not want to admit it, conformity and confidence made sense. And if I was to go light and prepared, I had to have confidence to go as me (prepared) and leave conformity behind (light).
Getting prepared to fly, to go light, I need confidence in understanding how I show up in this life. I need to be reminded of the me that I am. I need to leave conformity behind once and for all.
So, clearly, it is time for me to level up my sphere of influence, surround myself with friends that will tell me the truth, and get to work on being me.
Time to let go once and for all.
Let be. Let go. Let in. Thanks.