The first time you become aware of the cliff edge you want nothing to do with it. No way are you getting close to that abyss that is the whole “vulnerable, authentic self thing”. That’s just marshy woo-woo swampland, a place you get lost and bogged down in. And really, you tell yourself, you’re doing ok. Sure, you could work on a few things, but who couldn’t?
But it’s like a siren call. Once you know its there, you find yourself drawn back to it. And life, and circumstances and events seem to conspire against you. Slowly, over weeks or months or years you find yourself being nudged closer. Until comes that first day when you are close enough – but not too close! – to peer over the edge. Your partner, your children, your coach, your mentor, your god, your inner widsom, your higher self - who or whatever it is that has brought you here, dammit, again – points out the scenery. You can see its beautiful over there, in that other country that is your real, authentic self. You’re free down there. Free to be yourself, to dare greatly, to be who you want to be, to be seen and heard for who you really are.
You want to get down there. But it’s a long way down, the jump looks terrifying and the journey impossible and scary. And you have no idea how to do it. In the meantime, you have all these things that keep you in your life now. Work, family, the need to earn an income, parenting, expectations – from others of you, of you of yourself. They are loving ties that bind you. And some are less loving, yes, that too.
And so you approach and retreat. As many times as it takes. As long as it takes. A little closer every time.
And then one day, you find yourself closer to the edge than you’ve ever been before. You realize that you’ve come a long way. That the country this side, this self that you keep on trying to be, is starting to feel more and more like a dead country. A “country of your skull” in the words of Antjie Krog. But down there is a living country. Lush, beautiful, alive.
And your companion voice, inside of you or next to you, shows you that you are ready, that you are not alone, and that you will have the tools and support you need to make a safe landing and bravely explore this new wilderness that is you. You will be able to walk chin up, shoulders broad, head high in that country. In that land you will not fear who or what you might meet, as on the journey there you will collect all the tools you need to flourish and thrive in this rich, verdant place.
And you find yourself right on the cliff edge, toes hanging over. Taking one breath after another. Just waiting until you are ready to take that one last step.
When you do you will be soaring, gliding. A little wobbly at first, but getting the hang of it fast. The freedom will be exhilarating and terrifying. You will feel boundless. You will be supported by the air. The wind is beneath your wings.
You take another breath in.
You jump when you’re ready.
Sue Mann - Coach
Reflections on how we reclaim and sustain our worthiness in the face of falls and challenges.