Are You Prepared to Jump into Uncertainty?
I was once again in a hotel with Louise Hay. This time I was lamenting the fact that I wanted to jump but felt too afraid. Big-time resistance!
“It’s like wanting to get to the other side of the river yet clinging to a branch on this side for dear life,” Louise told me. “The only way we can possibly land over there is to release our grip.”
Lulu, as she is affectionately known, was absolutely right of course. For a long time, I’d tried to have it both ways. I was stretched all the way across that river, not letting go of the past and not fully embracing my future. But there comes a time when we have to trust our own ability to swim, even if we can’t see the other side. We have to trust that we can power ourselves to the other side, and that land will be there to greet us.
Jumping is not only about letting go and leaving, but also about propelling ourselves toward the new—even when we don’t know exactly what the “new” will be! I had no idea what would be coming my way when I left my marriage. I’d been with this man for eighteen years, after all, and we not only lived together but also worked together. Our lives were completely intertwined. Who would I be without him? I could hardly imagine who this A.D. (“After Divorce”) I would be. It was like standing at the edge of a cliff so high that I couldn’t see the river down below.
What I’ve since discovered is that we’re constantly being pushed to the edge of that precipice, and the only thing to do is to muster enough faith to jump into the uncertainty. As writer Ray Bradbury said, “You’ve got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down.”
I know how scary that sounds, trust me. But isn’t it scarier to remain stuck in a life that you know for sure isn’t working? That’s certainly what I faced with my marriage. That life wasn’t working, but I was so afraid to let it go that for years I wouldn’t admit—not even to myself—how unhappy I truly was.
When my then-husband kicked me out of the house, and I did not go back, the ground beneath my feet was gone, literally. I was no longer living in my home. This was huge for me. I was already starting to become the “A.D.” version of Nancy, as everything I’d known myself to be was annihilated. To my surprise, I was still here, and the ground did appear beneath my feet. I actually wasn’t that identity I thought was me. I was much, much more.
So, are you? There is so much more to you than you realize. The person your mind thinks you are is only a fraction of your totality. We are not our identities. All of the labels you put on yourself, all of the concepts and beliefs you have about who you are actually serve to make you smaller than you truly are.
Yes, and for many of us, that moment is when we know we can’t bear to stay in the old life a moment longer. As writer Anaïs Nin said, “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”