Do you remember the movie “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” where he needs to cross a great precipice as the last of 3 challenges given him? He takes a leap of faith stepping over a cliff in space onto what seems to appear an invisible bridge. I’ve often wondered what it takes to let go like that. Where does the courage come from? How can you know?
When I first saw that movie years ago, I remembered thinking, “No, I don’t think I could ever do that!” I still don’t think I could and yet there are times in our lives when not taking the leap is more life threatening than we realize. That is explained better is this wonderful little story called “The Rope” where letting go was just too hard to do.
Aren’t we faced with similar risky decisions every day – of course, not as dramatic or life threatening – but decisions nonetheless that could very well reshape the course of our lives? But, it seems the majority of time we choose a path most familiar, comfortable with the least resistance. Never realizing how much more fulfilling and exciting our lives could be.
I think this is where I’m at in this stage of my life – reaching inside to find the courage to just let go of the rope. I’ve tried it in the past but was not as committed as I would like.
This time, circumstances have permitted and blessed me with the opportunity to take stock again of the priorities in my life. So I’ve started writing on this blog again and putting more personal stories out there. This is my latest leap.
I remember years ago at a major employer’s I was given the opportunity to create and pilot a workshop series for co-workers. I felt then too like I was taking a huge leap especially in the corporate world. I was scared to death.
The pilot was called “Wisdom for the Ages” and its purpose was to connect to one another on a more personal level by sharing via a talking stick on specific topics (i.e. trust, leadership, attitude, harmony). All were invited no matter the position to 4 one-hour workshops. I would ask questions, play tapes and read poems expanding on the topic.
I know it sounds corny and that is what was scary – just presenting this in a corporate environment. I really didn’t know what I was doing and always squirmed at getting up in front of groups to give a talk.
But here I was taking the leap with the gut feeling that there must be a way to get to know co-workers more with the length of time we spend at work every day. Maybe if we knew each other better there would be more understanding, collaboration and sensitivity to each other’s feelings. We would have a better feel for where our co-workers are coming from.
I remember coming out of a supervisors’ meeting after giving an overview of the workshop and thinking, “What! Was I crazy?” “What do I think I’m doing – poems for crying out loud and a talking stick?” I ducked in a small conference room to gather myself before going back to my desk and cried. I was really out of my element. I called my husband and he calmed me down saying, “It doesn’t matter what is thought – it doesn’t change what it is.”
I regrouped and went back to my desk and noticed that the supervisors’ meeting let out with everyone going back to their desk. One of the supervisors passed my desk and stopped to thank me for the overview. She said it took everything within her power to hold back the tears when I read the poem as she had been dealing with the emotional strain of her mother dying. It reminded her how important life is even when working.
She hugged me with tears still in her eyes and all the fear I felt and frustration melted with the feeling in my heart I had connected in a way I had wanted in starting this pilot. It was worth it.
I’m scared now wondering if I can connect in that same way again but with writing and e-books or should I do as I had done before – give into the fear, not commit and get back in the corporate world again before too much time has lapsed.
We all feel it when we’re faced with challenges of the unknown – some more serious than others. But if you’re scared to make a life change – moving out, going back to school, or even quitting your job and traveling the world – listen closely to see if you hear a voice telling you, “let go of the rope” and take a chance. It may be the best thing in your life you’ve ever done.
Pat – from the ol’ kitchen table