Whenever I face a decision, take a risk, stand on the brink of a big transition, I must overcome my own fears to step forward. There’s that moment of letting go, of reaching out, of wondering if I’m going to fail and fall.

Yet, again and again, something comes to meet me and I grab ahold, whisked forward. I both trust this “safe landing” and yet I feel my stomach twist every time I make a new leap.

When I watched the video below, it captured in a visceral way that quick succession of fear, faith, falling and flying forward, something I often experience in my life and leadership. The video is a stomach-wrenching montage from a 1950’s film about Trapeze artists with a voice over of Danaan Parry’s words on “The Parable of the Trapeze.”

Watching this film reminds me of why I keep doing this:

  • There’s a trust that the bar and those welcoming hands will be there to receive me.
  • There’s a confidence in me that I’ve done this before.
  • There’s faith that without risk I can’t get to that next place.
  • There’s risk that feels catastrophic and all the fear that calls up.
  • And, at least in the film clip, there is a net below… just in case.

In Parry’s words, “…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 transitions, they are still the most alive, most growth-filled, passionate, expansive moments of our lives.”

How do you experience those transition zones?

terry-catalystWith gratitude and best wishes,

Terry Chadsey
Executive Director

P.S. Explore the transition zones of your life at a Courage & Renewal program.

P.P.S. Many thanks to my colleague Brian Braganza, who shared with me the video that inspired this reflection!

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In the Atacama Desert in Chile, it rarely rains. Only once every few years does significant rain or snow precipitate on ESO’s La Silla Observatory, generally coinciding with an anomalously warm weather event such as an El Niño event. This desert is one of the driest places on Earth, making it a fantastic site from which to observe the night sky. Although there may be very little real rain, some photography tricks can instead make the stars appear to rain onto the surrounding mountains, as seen in this image taken on 21 May 2013 by Diana Juncher, a PhD student in astronomy at the Niels Bohr Institute, Denmark. Diana was at La Silla for two weeks in May 2013, observing exoplanets towards the centre of our galaxy as part of her research. During her stay she managed to take this image of star trails, taken only around 20 metres away from the Danish 1.54-metre telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory. Star trail photographs like these are shot using a long exposure time in order to capture the apparent motion of the stars as the Earth rotates. A wisp of snow covers the distant mountain tops, and soft clouds can be seen below La Silla, near the horizon to the left. The slightly darker and redder area to the right is an open copper mine. Copper is Chile's biggest economic asset — the country is by far the world leader in copper production. Links: Diana Juncher on Flickr Diana Juncher's image on Flickr

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