“The scariest moment is always just before you start.” –Stephen King
Have you ever jumped off a cliff? Your heart starts to race, and your hands grow sweaty, and you start to shake, and your stomach knots itself into a mess. You walk to the edge, and look down, thinking: “ok, avoid those two rocks, and then fall into the water just there.” But then you have to walk back again, further away, where you cannot see the bottom, because you have to get a running start. But you are not exactly sure what to do with your body, because you never jumped off a cliff before. You can watch others do it, but it’s not the same as taking the experience for oneself.
I’ve done it. But I only did it once. I jumped wrong. And though I didn’t get hurt, that rock that I was supposed to avoid was just a little too close for comfort. Perhaps “cliff” is too strong a word, but it was at least 20-30 feet in the air, jumping into a pool of water down at a local creek.
That moment, once you’ve let go, once you’re hurtling through the air, that one is not nearly as scary as the moment just before, when the probabilities are endless. You don’t have to jump off the cliff. You could just climb down the rocks to go swim in the water down below.
And, there’s not really a way to practice jumping off a cliff. Sure, you can practice jumping into a pool, and you can try to move your body in ways that will keep your momentum going, but sometimes someone says “let’s go” and there’s no time to practice.
Sometimes all that you can do is say yes. And then you let go, and you leap. And as you leap, from solid ground, into the air, you’ve already succeeded. Because you have let go of the support of the familiar, and leapt into the mystery. There’s the payoff, the mystery, the wonder, the time when you go through the experience that you cannot have any other way.
The leap of faith.
There is no straightforward, well marked path. There is no way to test one out and test another out and decide after weighing the pros and cons. There is no way to go into the grooves of others. Thin air has no grooves.
There is just the leap.
And so you leap.