The flying trapeze artist soars above us provoking gasps and admiration for his or her skill. He or she lets go of one bar and hangs in mid air waiting for the second bar to reach their outstretched hands. What must pass through their minds in midair? What can we learn from them? (More)
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Of course, trapeze artists are well trained and usually operating with a net beneath them. They are in peak physical condition and practice daily. They are committed to this act of letting go, hanging and grabbing the next bar. We may have more in common with them than we think.
Life asks of us that we give up hanging onto a comfortable bar to move to grabbing the next bar. Every change we make asks that we let go of something to grab for something new. Often there is uncertainty involved. Sometimes there is panic or fear … what if the next bar we are waiting for doesn’t reach us? What if our safety net doesn’t hold? What if, what about, OMG.
Some of the changes we make in our lives seem like exciting and positive moves- we start a new relationship, we move into a new house, we have a baby, we get a new job. Our culture tells us that these are positive moves but we still have to let go of singleness, our old home, the freedom of no kids and the comfort of our old job. Our culture rushes past the moment of nothing to hang onto. We are left hanging with only the hope that the bar we are expecting will come to our open hands and that we will grab it. That is our plan.
Other changes are thrust upon us and we need to let go of a past that no longer is possible. We lose jobs, we get divorced, loved ones die, our physical state deteriorates. Basically the bar we had been quite comfortably hanging onto is gone and we are left hanging. There is a bumper sticker for these kinds of changes that says, “$h!t Happens.”
The trapeze artist hangs in midair with supreme confidence. He or she knows that a bar will come. Because they are performers they actually smile while waiting. They also have the knowledge that the net is beneath them. Few perform without one.
When I find myself in midair, between bars so to speak, I try to remember the trapeze artist. I try to hang there with confidence. I also have a network of friends that I can count on . Because I am a progressive, I also count on that safety net. It is there for all of those for who miss the next bar and are left with nothing to hang onto.