People associate jumping or leaping with something scary for good reason. Jumping is something we do when we have to act quickly to get out of danger. Leaping requires a burst of energy and…implies falling. “Look before you leap!” is a caution I heard many times growing up. (With good cause, I suspect). How will I land? Where will I land? Will it be someplace safe? Taking a leap into the unknown is difficult. Leaping can mean moving across the country, saying what you really think, breaking tradition, or just finally making a decision.

I’ve made a lot of leaps lately to end relationships, get rid of possessions, and advance my career.  I have felt afraid of being lonely, afraid of being “unmoored.”  I pause to observe that the fear seems to arise from the act of abandoning a known quantity: the arms of a lover, possessions, familiar neighbors, routines, expectations.  And yet, those “safe” parts of my life can be the very things that, when I am honest, keep me from really being my true self.

This week, though, things started to feel different. This week, I stopped feeling so anxious about being alone or unsure of my future. And today I found myself playing a game, and watching a Christmas boat parade with friends, and I was struck by the beauty of this current moment of my life. I never thought my life would be where it is today. I looked, I leaped, but I never imagined this reality when I looked.

“Anxiety is always a gap between the way things are and the way we think they ought to be. Anxiety is something that stretches between the real and unreal. Our human desire is to avoid what’s real and instead to be with our ideas about the world:

“I’m terrible.” “You’re terrible.” “You’re wonderful.” The idea is separated from reality and anxiety is the gap between the idea and the reality that things are just as they are.

When we cease to believe in the object that we’ve created — which is off to one side of reality, so to speak — things snap back to the center. That’s what being centered means. The anxiety then fades out.”
― Charlotte Joko Beck

Looking before you leap is the problem.

Having an idea, a fantasy about what will happen, who you are or who that other person is…that’s the problem. But it’s so easy.

When we leap well, we’re not abandoning the known, we’re being honest about the “known.”We’re honest, finally, with the ideas or fantasies that we’ve created about the entities and events in our lives. We’re always leaping into the unknown. We jump for joy this time, unconcerned where we land because it will be fine. The lover was never bad for me. He just was. He just is. It’s fine. The fact that I’m not “going home” for Christmas isn’t bad or wonderful. It just is. It’s fine. I’ll be where I land when I get there. My career path is also fine. Whatever life is, it’s fine.

A close friend from undergrad might have been having a similar realization today. She offered the following:

Mantra: Today, I’m ok just the way I am. I am not perfect, but nobody is and that’s just fine. I value my friends for their intellect, generous spirits, and awesome attitudes. The world is a beautiful place and I add to the beauty in it. I will encourage and inspire people to join me in fabulosity. -EDH

This week I looked up and realized that I’m surrounded by love and laughter and beauty and experiences. “Fabulosity” as my friend says. I will never see it coming and, for the first time, I don’t need to.