A Leap of Faith

“When you connect to the silence within you, that is when you can make sense of the disturbance going on around you.” ~Richard Harris

I remember the look on her face. She was exasperated.

She’d been waiting for me to do it right so that we could all move on with the choreography. But neither she nor my partner said a word. They just waited while I went to the opposite end of the room for the millionth time, and did the step / leap combination that was supposed to end up with a twist in the air, landing me in a pose in my partners arms. For the life of me, my body could not understand what my mind was telling it to do.

Doing things upside own are like that for me.

And they all knew that it was going to take time and repetition for the connection to be made.

Until that moment came, everyone was going to be frustrated – me, too. But it came as it always does, after a lot of practice, and  I was able to fly and flip and land and feel the magic that one feels when mind, body, and spirit (aka “add the music that connects heaven and earth”) come together – when there is no more thought required to do something:

  • when the musician is the music
  • when the artist is the art
  • when the dancer is the dance
  • when the writer is the story
  • when the surfer is the wave

Some people call it “being in” or “going with the flow.”

All I know is how it feels.

Before that moment comes I feel distracted by everything going on outside of me. I’m distracted by my thoughts and feelings, too. But when the shift happens, and whatever I’m doing becomes effortless, I feel heaven. Literally. I feel like I’ve stepped into an alternate universe, and everything I’m seeing, feeling, and hearing is perfectly beautiful.

For the first time in years I’m experiencing that disconnected feeling that comes while learning something new. It’s as humbling, challenging, and uncomfortable as that day (and many like it I might add) when I was waiting for my body to connect with my mind in the dance studio, learning new choreography.

I’m learning to drive my new little Beetle – a standard (shift).

At first I watched videos, then listened as people (every one of them, by the way ) held their hands out in front of them as if pressing two pedals (the gas and the clutch) and described the “play” and the “feel.” Then I got in and sat behind the wheel and got frustrated because I couldn’t understand what “play” meant. So, for weeks, I got rides to and from work as my car sat waiting for me.

Then, on Saturday, I got stranded. I couldn’t find a ride home. It was an awful feeling. My mom finally rescued me and I vowed to never let that happen again. So, on Sunday, the next day, I drove my car. And I did the same yesterday, Monday.

Slowly but surely, what everyone promised would happen is happening –  I’m feeling my car become a part of me. The gap between mind and “body” is disappearing and I’m getting less and less anxious and more and more calm. I even took James and Kenny to the library before work and the field / playground after work.

There is no way around the doing involved in the “becoming” or “being” of life.

We can’t think our way to being.

We have to do things.

And that means dealing with the uncomfortable, albeit energizing and exciting new challenges and opportunities given or desired by us. It means repetition until there is no more awareness of thought in the moment of the doing.

There is no other way but through. (If you’ve found one, share with me.)

And that, my friends, is how growth, aka “a leap of faith” feels.

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12 thoughts on “A Leap of Faith

  1. In deed Betsy it is how we do it I was asked last night to play a song a friend wrote Wednesday night I have just tonight to make it part of my self, but I will practice it till we ( my self, guitar, and lyrics) are one! Congrats on mastering the clutch.

    • I have to learn how to love driving all over again! LOL! And yesterday after work, after vowing to stay within the speed limit, I opened it up on a winding back road. It was fun!
      Good job playing you music! Live, nonetheless! Always fulfilling, I’d bet!

  2. Being in flow…that’s what successful athletes/dancers/artists train and strive for, and it’s really what each of us as human beings can realize. When we’ve practiced enough, tuned our mind and body to living and being in the moment, tuned out distraction and maintain focus, everything comes together. To leaping:) Cheers! Kaarina

  3. Hi Betsy,

    What a great metaphor for life “learning to drive a stick.” I never would have thought about it until I read your story. It fits so wonderfully and I can relate to it so well because I drive a stick and have for years. And just yesterday I took my 19-year-old out to give it a shot. He quit at the end of the lane!

    When he gets home from work today your story will be required reading! I can’t just let him quite; he needs to learn that he CAN do it.

    You are mysteriously timely today!

    DC

    • You know, Darrell, a few people suggested that I take the car out by myself, and for a few times I did. That made a huge difference after I was given the basics. Sad to say, but experience is the best teacher, and with a car that might mean some wear and tear on the gears, getting really stressed by other drivers and your own mistakes that have to be handled with sometimes impatient drivers.
      But, thank goodness, my car is very cute, so nobody has given me much grief, yet!
      It’s impossible to learn without getting behind the wheel and screwing up! LOL! Or not! Maybe he’ll master it quickly!

  4. That was awesome. I love it when I get in that zone with a story. I’ve been hitting my irons really well lately. Hopefully, my mind and body have connected on the golf course and this improvement will last. Making a leap forward in any endeavor is always a thrill. Good for you!

  5. I think this is another post I needed. I am realizing that my reactions to events are wrong. I feel powerless sometimes in the midst of my “reaction”. It is like my body and mind were trained a certain way and I can’t stop it. But, I need to take that Leap of Faith. I need to stop myself and practice a different reaction. So, now I just need to figure out what to do different!

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