LEAPING OFF THE EDGE OF FEAR: FULL MOON LESSONS ON SURRENDER AND TRUST FROM THE FLYING TRAPEZE
Happy Full Moon In Sagittarius, Loves!
I am back home in Boston after spending a life changing week in upstate NY at Omega Institute For Holistic Studies, where I attended a retreat entitled, Recovering Wholeness with meditation teacher, author and Psychotherapist, Ralph De La Rosa. The week was nothing less than total (science based) magic and I had breakthrough after breakthrough, connected with incredible human beings, met my inner-child with unconditional love and was able to truly feel into the Oneness, inspiration and pure potential we are all made from.
While I am still digesting and absorbing everything that I uncovered, (more on that soon) I did have one life altering, mind-shattering, emotionally evolutionary experience that I just can't help but share right now. Surprisingly, my biggest ah-ha moment didn't come on my meditation cushion, during a yoga practice or even in a breath-work circle (though all of these things certainly brought me to the edge of awareness and laid down a massive net of compassion to hold what was about to come next.)
My biggest transformation was actually not on the ground at all; It was on a flying trapeze, 25 ft. in the air, (an image that is literally making me queasy as I write this) strapped into a harness, looking over the edge, scared for my life and unable to do anything but shake and follow the sharp and direct orders of my trapeze teachers. Gasping for air and knowing that there was no going back, (you are not even allowed to climb back down the ladder once you arrive on the platform) I did my best to be present and not throw up.
Did I mention I have a crippling fear of heights?
This is where I hit my edge. This is where I was more outside of my comfort zone than I can remember being in a long time and this is where I literally decided to leap for my life and trust that this giant, terrifying swing, hanging from the sky, (basically a torture device) would catch and support me as I swung and hung on for dear life.
When I say that I am afraid of heights, I am not, in any way, shape, or form, stretching or bending the truth. I AM TERRIFIED. My whole body seems to quit on me. My mind goes blank. I have no concept of what is happening around me and all I want to do is give up and cry for my mommy (though, she cannot save me from anything unfortunately, as I am a grown ass woman and must take care of myself) or die or run away or cry in my bed for the rest of my life...
The choice to JUMP was a game changer.
I did not hide in the face of my fear. I couldn't hide! Instead, I stood on that trapeze platform, panting like a distressed kitten stuck in a tree and I JUMPED. I jumped with my eyes wide open and I was caught! It was horrible and amazing and terrible and the best and the worst thing that has ever happened. I jumped. I. Jumped. I did it.
Then came the vulnerability hangover.
While most of the other trapeze students were laughing and joyous and loving life, I was having an internal freak out. On the outside, I was all smiles and giggles and good energy, but on the inside, I was brought back to every time I have cringed in the face of my greatest fears.
I was brought back to every time I was ashamed of myself for not being strong enough or brave enough. Honestly, I was also embarrassed. I was embarrassed because even though I DID jump, I wasn't able to get my legs up onto the bar and do the fancy tricks most of the other participants were succeeding in.
I jumped....but it wasn't good enough and the worst part was that I had to go AGAIN. I had to try again or sit in the self-inflicted humiliation of giving up. My second attempt was even worse than my first; most likely a mix of fear and mental paralysis and feeling physically frozen, but just like the first time, I did not die! I jumped and I did not die. I went to the edge and I stepped over it and everything was actually okay. It was better than okay.
I was alive.
Here is the kicker. I was actually given a third chance to attempt to get to the next stage in trapeze arts. If I could just get my legs onto the bar, then I would be able to be caught in midair by one of the instructors! With all eyes on me, my instructor asked if I wanted another go and I said "NO. PLEASE. NO." Saying no seemed wise in the moment. I mean, I had an out. I was given a get-out-of-jail-free-card. Unfortunately though, It didn't take much time for the negative self-talk to come creeping back in. "Ugh! Why, Shira! Why did you do that to yourself!? Why did you GIVE UP?!"
This is when I full on shut down. My inner-critic TOOK OVER and I spent the next 24-hours cringing, weeping and belittling my effort and courage. I went on a verbal binge of all the things I should have and could have done.
And guess where it got me? NOWHERE.... except, deeper into the struggle.
Then something truly magical occurred. I just happened to bump into a friend who had wanted to try the trapeze, but was simply too scared. She asked me if I got onto the platform (just the platform, not even the jumping) and when I replied yes, her eyes brightened, the corners of her mouth lifted and she basically jumped for joy! She applauded and celebrated, she oh-my-god-ed and ooohhh-and-ahhhh-ed and loved on me while I was in a mental space of complete and utter not-good-enough-ness.
Thank god for this friend. All it took for me to shift out of my slump was some support and a little shift in perspective. As time went on, I realized I HAD done something INCREDIBLE. I stood on the platform AND I JUMPED. Legs on a stupid bar or not, I stepped past my threshold of fear and literally leaped through the air. I took a chance. I put all my faith into something I could not possibly predict the result of and I let it go. Excuse my French, but that is fucking amazing.
I will probably never do that again (just kidding?), but I am SO glad I took a risk and leaned over the edge of total fear. I feel stronger than I did before. I feel more awake. I feel ALIVE. My whole torso may be burning and my arms feel weak from holding onto that bar and 48 hours later I am still nauseous, but my heart and soul are absolutely soaring.
Having the courage to face the truth of your fears and then choosing to do the thing that scares you anyway is completely liberating.
The first step is the absolute worst, but as time goes on, you discover that sometimes what you believe is keeping you safe and well, is actually just an illusion; an illusion that is costing you your joy, freedom and Soul evolution. Sometimes what we believe is safe, is simply an invisible box we have constructed to keep everything unknown out. I don’t know about you, but the last thing I want out of life is to spend my time stuck in a box!
Now, I am not saying there is anything wrong with safety. Safety is great! We need to feel and be safe and supported. I am a Cancer Moon after all, I LOVE safety, comfort and cuddling in my bed where no one can hurt me. I scuttle away from all kinds of perceived danger (and fun) and disharmony and even loud noises. But, here is the thing, choosing to leave the comfort of my house and taking on the adventure and risk of what scares me is more fulfilling and enlivening than keeping myself stuck in the confines of my comfort zone will EVER be.
Netflix is great, but living life to the fullest is a whole hell of a lot better.
This week I met myself where I was at. I felt, held and acknowledged every emotion from regret to discomfort to love to expansion to full-on body ecstatic vibrancy. It was all good. There was nothing I would change if I could go back, because it was all fuel for the fire of the next step on my path; a path I am creating (not following) with every choice I make.
This Full Moon might have you pondering your own deep inner longing. It might ask if anything is keeping you from feeling revved up about life. It might ask you where you are playing small and hiding from what's on the other side of your current situation.
Sagittarians are truth seekers. They want to dig deep and uncover the secrets of existence.
You don't have to jump from 25 ft in the air to live your truth and face your fears. Instead, let's imagine would happen if we all started getting really honest about what we truly desire in this life and recognize the ways in which we hold ourselves back, settle for less and stay small instead of trusting the next step and taking a leap.
What are you totally freaked out to do because it will nudge you out of your comfort zone? What areas of your life are no longer lighting you up? Are you ready to leave a job, a relationship, a habit or the city you are in? Take a deep breath and stay true to your longing.
Let's be honest about what makes our heart skip a beat and take a chance in pointing the arrow of focus in that direction. We are being called into confidence and bravery. Sagittarius is embodied as an Archer; A badass warrior holding a bow and arrow with her eye on the target; ready to aim true and shoot for the stars.
On this Sagittarius Full Moon, I send out a prayer of courage, resilience and full-throttle honesty to anyone and everyone who is secretly longing to take a leap in life. If you follow the phases of the moon and are down with cyclical living, you may already be shedding an old skin, leaving outdated fears behind (little by little) and burning down any structures or ways of being that keep you from being the epic creature of magic that you are.
It is time to rise up. Take the leap. Point your arrow in the direction of your truth and TRUST that you are going in the right direction; especially if it scares you.