Late last week, I was pacing around outside my comfort zone, waiting to get picked up by a friend to go to a “mystery” event. We had both been invited to take part in something called a “goddess workshop.”
I had no idea what to expect. My anticipations of the day included being put on the spot and asked to speak about what the word “goddess” meant to me. Or being expected to do a solo ceremonial dance in the centre of a circle of women. Eeeeekkk! My inner scaredy-pants had a field day.
Of course, my calm and sensible voice chimed in that it was good to have spontaneous experiences and I was sure to meet amazing women and I didn’t have to do anything that made me feel uncomfortable. But my imaginings made me realize that to some extent I preferred having an idea what I was in for. I’m pretty sure this is a shared human experience. Basically, it’s fear. Specifically, it’s fear of being unprepared and therefore vulnerable. We usually like to nail things down, before we get nailed, so to speak.
A recent interview with the writer/artist Cynthia Morris speaks to this fear of uncertainty. She says: “Everything in our adult lives tells us that we should know where we’re going, what we’re doing, what it’s all about.”
But, she contends, ‘not knowing’ is our ultimate creative power.
“In the creative act, when you’re making something, you have to surrender knowing and having everything figured out. Uncertainty is something children experience and that artists and creative people tap into daily. True power lies in our resourcefulness…in being able to figure it out and trusting ourselves.”
I love this. And as a writer, I can completely relate to it. I don’t panic when an article or a story is only half-done. I trust it will get finished and I will likely be happy with it. Why? Because I’ve been through the process enough times to know I’m going to be able to see it through.
And this ties directly into the video I posted last week of the trapeze artists flying through space, hoping to catch the next trapeze bar when they let go of the one they are holding. The words to that video come from a book called Warriors of the Heart by the late Danaan Parry, who was the founder of the Earthstewards Network.
Basically, Parry turns the notion of flying through empty space on its head and says that this “transition zone” doesn’t have to be scary or a place of “limbo.” Rather, it is “the richest, most alive, most growth-filled, passionate, and expansive space we can inhabit, and the only place where real change occurs.”
For months now, I’ve been calling that in-between place—when you no longer belong where you were but you aren’t in the place you want to be yet—“the gap.” This could be the space between sick and well, or between the job you have and the career of your dreams. I’ve been seeing it as a kind of a bus stop, where I’m waiting (and not completely patiently). But the reality is, there is nothing static or stopped about this place.
Calling the space between where I have been and where I am going “the gap,” denudes it of its rich, full nature. If it’s the place where we all learn to trust, then it should actually be revered.
Back to the goddess workshop for a second. The afternoon was amazing. I made new friends, stepped into potential work opportunities, and felt the power of allowing myself an experience I couldn’t have planned for.
I was reminded (yet again!) that relaxing into the belief that “all is well” truly is the birthplace of everything. When we find within ourselves a space of reverence and trust, only then does the universe get the chance to delight us with an abundance of opportunities and adventures and surprises.
“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 between trapezes….the only place where change really happens. It can be terrifying. It can also be enlightening in the true sense of the word. Hurtling through the void, we just may learn how to fly.”