Living is a form of not being sure, not knowing what next or how. The moment you know how, you begin to die a little. The artist never entirely knows. We guess. We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark.
I imagine if you are reading this post, you are making some sort of leap in the dark.
Perhaps you are raising a child. Writing a play. Working on your next film. Leading a group of people to think differently. Transitioning from something not serving you to a brighter calling. Creating a business with heart and a hunch and heaps of enthusiasm and not much else.
A leap in the dark means you have sacrificed the security of a map.
A leap in the dark means your only guides are… whispers? a hunch about a territory yet to be explored? a boiling curiosity?
(Except on the days when you really need an answer.
Then, mystically, even the whispers seem to ghost you…)
Poet David Whyte observes that humans are the only species who can refuse to be who they are.
A mountain is a mountain. A wave is a wave. A flamingo is a flamingo. But humans have the exceptional ability to construct an identity ostensibly more appealing than the one that belongs to us.
We can pretend to show up as someone we would rather be.
Flamingos don’t have this luxury.
By making the remarkable choice to leap, you are bravely choosing to be yourself.
You are demanding not only that you be the you that you are but to excavate her, to ask uncomfortable questions, and, make bare the truths that would really feel more comfortable folded up and tucked behind your heart.
The cost of a leap is high.
Loneliness so acute that some days you walk outside and want to crumble into the arms of the first kind-ish stranger you see.
When people ask you how it’s going you are usually one short sentence away from tears. You’re not sad, it’s just… relentless? harder than you thought it would be?
Somewhere in your bones you sense you are onto something but it’s scary to say out loud.
On the worst days — the comparison that you tell yourself you really should have a better handle on is crippling, and, worse — addictive. Everyone seems to be getting there faster, making problems you can’t figure out look #lowkey and #easy so you scroll searching for solace and nourishment and a life raft of a sign that your whispers haven’t betrayed you.
At every turn there is immense and debilitating distraction.
Every time you approach the thing — resistance.
So you avoid it.
You do everything but the thing.
First, the emails. First, this project for someone else. First, water the plants. First, order that thing you don’t really need online. First, read several more articles about 10 steps to conquer procrastination.
But then the day comes when you’ve had enough with the FIRSTS and you have watched too many Ted talks about how to do the thing and you have already gotten up three times to go to the bathroom.
There is nothing left between you and the leap you keep saying you just need to make more time for but here you are—rubber + road—and you convince yourself that one dish in the sink needs to be done now? Like 100% right now because first that, then this—but wait wait WAIT—
Maybe you have had it all wrong. Maybe you need to wrestle and wrangle with your thing for awhile and the sink can wait. The manifesting books say take the path of least resistance but that path leads to the dishes.
The path of least resistance is shuffling your papers one more exquisite time and making one more to-do list.
So you will have to go with resistance. Kicking and screaming your way there.
It is scary because you might tell the truth.
You might become someone you always thought you were.
What if nothing happens? A no, a crushing review, crickets?
Dreams and ideas are simultaneously intoxicating, agitating, and comfortable.
They are the necessary places of beginning but when we stay too long they become a kind of a refuge from the big leap.
You can journal for 3 pages every morning about how much you long for the thing, keeping it safely at a distance, where the dream can stay dreamy and unscathed, or you can take the a few tiny incomplete and probably agonizing steps toward it — right now.
Your dream might have to adapt and morph it as you go but by daring to become intimate with it you create momentum.
We are so busy imagining disaster we forget to wonder — what if it goes well?
(Oh how we love to negotiate ourselves out of our greatness!)
Dreams are better lived and adapted along the way than perfectly perfect and longed for from a distance.
And what if resistance — sometimes excruciating loads of it — is an essential ingredient?
Like a moth to a flame I have read every book promising me the secret of how to find that elusive and easy path of least resistance. High on the dopamine of the promise, I think this will be the day when I finally discover the secret. The hack for the easy way.
I am in the heart of several big and scary leaps right now.
From one leaper to another, I see you.
I have never encountered a worthwhile path without some form of resistance.
Resistance is a prerequisite to a leap.
On the other side of resistance is the bliss of doing, a feeling of flow so ecstatic, at times, it trumps any result.
On the other side of resistance will be a day when you don’t feel so lonely.
So the secret to eroding resistance is labeling it as a sign you are onto something, and then showing up, over and over, even when you don’t want to.
Tension catalyzes dynamic events.
The dishes are easy.
If leaps were easy everyone would be making them.
The fact that you feel resistance on your path means you have chosen something brave and alive and true.
Thank you for choosing that.
But let’s imagine you are onto something.
Try on the knowing of that for one quick moment, as if a mentor or the person you deem an authority on what you are doing is saying it to you.
You are onto something—
They look into your beautiful eyes and say with conviction.
How would knowing that affect how you are showing up?
I dare you to —
1. Try on that very real kind of faith in your self, for today. As an experiment.
2. Say You are onto something to someone else and watch what happens to their spine and the glisten of their eyes when you do.
Faith blossoms our courage to face the unknown.
And we can never have too much of it when we are partnering it with doing the next brave thing.
Trust the whispers.
The dishes can wait.