|Boys jumping into the Tonle Sap, Phnom Penh, Cambodia|
I want to jump into the abyss
I want to feel the freedom of living in this moment now
I want to love shades of grey and not need to define the world in black or white
I want to love uncertainty and impermanence
I want to revel in the choices I have to create my life
I want to move without hesitation or second-guessing myself
I want to express what is in my heart without self-censorship from fear of judgement
I want to rip open my heart and let love flow, in and out.
I want to feel the pain and the ecstasy
I want to feel the pulsing of my connection to every living thing
I’m standing at the edge of the abyss
I’m ready to jump but I’m just not sure how to take the first step.
I wrote this poem almost four years ago in Phuket, the day after my 33rd birthday, a mere six-weeks into my first year-long sabbatical. It is an unpolished but passionate declaration about how I want to feel and how I want to live my life.
The irony of this poem is that I had already stepped into the abyss and was starting to realise all of those things I wanted to feel, I just didn’t recognize it back then. I took that first step long before I flew out of Australia. Back in April 2008, unexpectedly but perfectly timed, I reached a fork in my life’s path. I could continue on the path that I knew, a path that made sense to my logical mind but saddened my heart or I could take the new path, the one that excited my heart but made no sense to my rational mind.
It wasn’t easy to take that first step nor was it immediate but eventually I did. I left my partner of five years and the life I knew with him. Soon after I quit my job without another job to go knowing my ultimate desire was to travel but I just wasn’t ready to leave yet. I enjoyed my unemployment for seven weeks then a contract job found me and I accepted. After months of procrastinating, I finally picked a destination and set a date to leave Australia then started preparing to leave behind my career, my friends and family, my belongings and the new life I had just created to step into the unknown. My rational mind did not understand why I had to leave but my heart insisted and so I left. I stepped into that clouded abyss and what I started to experience was an opening to the divine.
My word for this year is dance; to revel in joy, to celebrate all of life, even the hard and painful stuff. Last week, as I drove home from two hours of boxing training that tested my stamina and resolve to push myself through my discomfort, I realized something:
I dance on edges.
I dance up to my fears and to my limits. I feel them. I back away and I dance up to them again moving a little further forward then retreating before moving up to face them once again, until I take that final step into the abyss, into what is unknown or uncomfortable or scary or painful. There are some people who take a flying leap right into or over their own abyss but not me, I dance. And when I am ready, when I have the information that I need or have mustered the courage I require, I take that step and soar, full of grace.
It really doesn’t matter how you traverse your abyss. You can dance, you can fly, you can pin drop, you can climb down into it reluctant and hesitant as you go, you can take one step forward then two steps back then three steps forward and one step back.
What matters is that you take those steps, that when your life calls you in a new direction, you heed that call.
I dance on edges and I enjoy it. This is what I have just realized.
I did not come into this world and this life to live a sleepy comfortable existence although occasionally I wish that I did. I came here to push my own limits and boundaries. I came here to experience my humanness and divinity. I came here to grow.
Right now, I am dancing towards another edge. This one, looks like a doorway that is black, so black that when I put my arm through it I can no longer see my arm. I am dancing before this doorway, stepping up, stepping back and occasionally stepping into the blackness.
The change that I have been seeking and that has been calling me is on the other side. And as soon as I am ready, I’ll be dancing my way forward.
|Yarra Valley from a hot air balloon|
|Me at Mulkirigala Rock Temple, Sri Lanka|