What deals have you negotiated within yourself? What if it’s time to honour them? Leaning out over the abyss, I strain to find form beneath the morning mist. There’s a chill in this mountaintop air; my teacup is chattering in its saucer.
A warm arm wraps around me to steady the shiver. “You’re ready.” The voice is familiar, a stronger version of my own. “You’re ready. Just step off. The path will find your feet.”
Language is fascinating. The abyss is only the abyss because its depths are as yet unknown. And so we cling with quivering fingers to our rituals. But their heat fades so fast, leaving us wanting… wanting. I’ve run swearing and screaming with laughter down enough mountain trails to trust that this voice is speaking the truth. But this cliff is so much higher, so much scarier than a fire tower trail in Quebec. Here there is no father or brother to lead the way. Just me, and the damp, quiet opacity of morning cloud.
“But what if I pushed it too far – my brain, my body?” I ask. “What if I’ve made too many mistakes? You know I’ve really f-ed stuff up.” My teacup suddenly weighs a hundred pounds. “What if I’m already dying? What if…” I whisper because it’s so scary, “…you never exist.”
The woman with the long white braid and dangerous smile holds me tighter and chuckles in my ear. She won’t let me go back, even an inch. “Oh silly girl. I am as real today as I ever will be. Every decision you invest in me anchors me in time – all time. Don’t you see that? When you love me, I am as real as you are.”
With her hand around mine, I set down the teacup on the dew covered moss and tip (just) the toes of my sneakers over the edge.
“Do you remember the deal we made?” my (very cool custom clothed) future asks. “Before you started this climb?”
I nod. I remember. Without it I would never have dared come this far. The deal: that even if I only ever have one day living as my true self – routing past fear and open in wonder to my own next stage of this human experience thing – it would all have been worth it! When every breath is an entire life lived unto itself, a whole day is cresting on eternity. Not that I’d argue with immortality or anything, but a gal’s got to start somewhere.
I feel a nudge from behind and my balance shifts. The voice is coming now from somewhere even closer to my core. “Now stop talking to yourself and make a move! Today is the only day. Make all your mindfulness bullshit matter and take that step! You don’t need to see the bottom. You’ve done the work now trust your feet. Trust the world to show you where you need to be, what you are here to give. I promise there are so many hands reaching up for ones just like yours to hold. I promise. Go!”
Let’s take this leap of faith together, dear readers. Because this tea has gotten way too darn cold!
Exercise in Engagement: Do you have any unspoken deals you’ve made with yourself? Because every deal creates its own story – your story. Do you remember what prompted you to make them? Do they still serve your most authentic future self? Today, take a few minutes meditation to ask her/him directly. Now is the time to choose whether to step up and honour them, or let them go.
2 thoughts on “A cup of tea on the edge of the abyss”
The other day in class, a student said these words, the gap in the fall….the gap as a liminal space, a creative space, a crack that let’s in the light, you are always present in our hearts, our hands are the invisible cradle that holds you….not an abyss but a lake at a cottage in a place called home, the heart of what is….the future, like the past, is here, now, this present moment….”you lay down a path in walking,” (Varela) one step, one giggle, one cartwheel at a time….it’s impossible to measure our life’s journey until we arrive at its destination, “and turning around we see the road we have travelled, wanderer there is no path, only foam on ocean waves” (Antonio Machado). What if our life’s journey is simply this, to be present in the world, our gift is our uniqueness, attentive to the presence of others, attentive to the beauty and challenges that is our world, writing to our experience, as you do here, in blank canvas living, offering a space of contemplation, reflection, hope, invitation, tenderness….love always, one who learns from where you are free-falling into the present, here and now, with joy, with fear, with wideawakeness, that calls us to awaken.
I love that the arms which wrapped around yourself are your own. One of my fondest memories of you Cymbria is that you were fearless and very fast when tobogganing… breathless. Your father pushed you athletically, and you loved to dance with me as a three year old little girl… I hope your arms are still holding on to lots of love ❤️