Transformation and Trapeze Bars

Twelve very special years! Our family’s Incredible India journey has been a defining time in our lives and in the change of American Schools in India. We say goodbye to India with satchels of learning, adventure, growing, family, community, and friendship. I share an excerpt from Warriors of the Heart by Danaan Parry as we grab the next trapeze bar of life.

“Sometimes I feel that my life is a series of trapeze swings. I’m either hanging on to a trapeze bar swinging along or, for a few moments in my life, I’m hurtling across space in between trapeze bars.

Most of the time, I spend my life hanging on for dear life to my trapeze-bar-of-the-moment. It carries me along at a certain steady rate of swing and I have the feeling that I’m in control of my life. I know most of the right questions and even some of the right answers. But once in a while, as I’m merrily (or not so merrily) singing along, I look out ahead of me into the distance and what do I see? I see another trapeze bar swinging toward me. It’s empty and I know, in that place in me that knows that this “new trapeze bar” has my name on it. It is my next step, my growth, my aliveness coming to get me. In my heart-of-hearts, I know that for me to grow, I must release my grip on the present, well-known bar to move to the next one.

Each time it happens to me, I hope (no, pray) that I won’t have to grab the new one. But in my knowing place, I know that I must totally release my grasp on my old bar and, for some moment in time, I must hurtle across space before I can grab onto the new bar. Each time I am filled with terror. It doesn’t matter that in all my previous hurtles across the void of knowing I have always mad it. Each time I am afraid that I will miss, that I will be crushed on the unseen rocks in the bottomless chasm between the bars. But I do it anyway. Perhaps this is the essence of what the mystics call the faith experience. No guarantees, no net, no insurance policy, but you do it anyway because somehow to keep hanging on to that old bar is no longer on the list of alternatives.

And so for an eternity that can last a microsecond or a thousand lifetimes, I soar across the dark void of “the past is gone, the future is not yet here”. It is called transition. I have come to believe that this is the only place that real change occurs. I mean REAL change, not the pseudo-change that only lasts until the next time my old buttons get punched.

I have noticed that, in our culture, this transition zone is looked upon as a “no-thing”, a no-place between places. Sure, the old trapeze bar was real, and the new one coming toward me, I hope that’s real too. But the void between? That’s just scary, confusing, disorienting “no-where” that must be gotten through as fast and as unconsciously as possible. What a waste! I have a sneaking suspicion that the transition zone is the only real thing, and the bars are illusions we dream up to avoid the void, where the real change, the real growth occurs for us. Whether or not my hunch is true, it remains that the transition zones in our lives are incredibly rich places. They should be honored, even savored. Yes, with all the pain and fear and feelings of being out-of-control that can (but not necessarily) accompany the transitions, they are still the most alive, most growth-filled, passionate, expansive moments in our lives.

And so, fear of transformation may have nothing to do with making fear go away but rather with giving ourselves permission to “hang-out” in the transition between trapeze bars. Transforming our need to grab that new bar is allowing ourselves to dwell in the only place where change really happens. It can be terrifying. It can also be enlightening in the true sense of the word. Hurling through the voice, we just may learn how to fly.”

We bid adieu to our ASB graduates and we thank India for the India trapeze bar that first came into sight back in 1997. Until we meet again. . .

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