Did you ever go to the circus? Do you remember the dazzling performers on the flying trapeze swinging back and forth high in the air and performing incredible feats? Do you remember the Tight-Rope Walker wearing the ballerina-esque gown and daringly stepping across this ever-so tiny length of rope? It would quake with each step yet she never faltered.
Ringling Brothers & Barnum Bailey Circus was a staple during my childhood. Memories of it remain etched deep. And though many may say it was the clowns piling out of the teeny car or the enormous elephants or the daring lion tamer that they recall clearest, for me it will always be the Tight-Rope Walker.
As a child, I don't recall if there was a net below her. For safety (and insurance) purposes, I'm sure there was. But perhaps part of the thrill and the challenge for these circus performers is working without a net. It certainly forces them to stay focused. It demands that they walk one step at a time with care and confidence. It requires them to remain solidly in the present. If they get ahead of themselves and allow doubt, fear, distraction, over-thinking -- or what they plan to do after the show -- to pull their focus, they would surely fall. So perhaps they work without a net just to keep themselves deliberately centered on that edge and to keep the audience on the edge with them.
I can't truly say. I don't remember ever looking down ... just up. I watched her take each tiny step until she reached the other side. I didn't take my eyes from her. I didn't even breathe.
Don't know about you but I find myself relating to that Tight-Rope Walker more and more in my own life. These days, I find myself taking one tiny step forward at a time -- focusing only on the moment at hand. On keeping my balance right now. On making that one step count. I have no goal in mind. No idea what is ahead except for the next step. No idea how far away that other platform is. No list. No action plan. No idea what is out there. For a woman who defines herself as a planner, this is not an easy place for me to be. But, here I am.
And I'm pretty certain the RingMaster neglected to put up the net.
It is said that life -- I think of it as "The Universe" -- works in waves of three. Good things, challenges, opportunities, losses, trials, joys, etc ... they come in threes. As I stand suspended in mid-air, the Universe has rocketed my tightrope recently with three shock-waves. I have to honestly admit that I'm reeling a bit as I work simply to maintain my balance ... and my smile. The Tight-Rope Walker of my memory not only looked lovely in that sparkly dress but she never appeared without that smile. (And perfectly coiffed hair!)
So as I stand in mid-air suspended on the tight-rope, I breathe and offer up the best of myself. I mean, isn't that what each of us does every single day, especially as challenges and the unexpected arise? No matter how good we are at lists, plans, goals and organizing, we can't anticipate everything. So, as "life happens," all we can do is breathe and offer up the best of ourselves in the present moment. Pressure and disappointments come our way and each of us will inevitably experience moments of discomfort. Kinda like a diamond.
Diamonds don't obtain their brilliant sparkle unless they undergo heat and pressure. So too we must undergo heat and pressure to become better versions of ourselves.
So, as I shake on that tight-rope, I'm becoming stronger .... brighter ... sparklier. And, I'm coming to terms with the notion that I'm right where I'm supposed to be at this point in time.
Maybe you are on a tight-rope too. May not be what you want to hear, but perhaps that's exactly where you need to be.
See, as I stand here, I find myself discovering that The Universe provides cues to let us know we are exactly where we need to be -- no matter how uncomfortable we might be in that place. They may be subtle or bold ... but there are cues. Sure we might not like the message or stage direction. But little cues from The Universe reinforce that we're in the right place now. For me, the cues are little things ... I hear a song or read a reference or a quote in a book that means something to me and it resonates in my heart. Something happens ... I call these the "ah-ha" moments. I am drawn to yarn that I love, buy it without a pattern (the book cost too much) and then discover exactly what I wanted on Craftsy for $5! Little hints come my way ... if I pay attention. And, as I stand shaking on the tight-rope, I am absolutely paying attention.
It's that and more that helps me trust I will get to the platform on the other side. I am walking without a net. I will struggle at moments in taking the next step. I may stay in one place for a bit until I'm ready to move. But I will keep smiling ... eventually reaching the other side. After all, I've heard it said that sometimes the soul needs isolation and rejection to break away and do what it needs to do on earth.
A good friend (let's just call her Molly Ringwald ... I'll explain later) was there for me when one of these shock-waves hit. And she reminded me that the Universe knows what it's doing. It has plans for me that will eventually become clear. She unknowingly guided me to a verse in Jeremiah (Chapter 29, verse 11). And I'm working to come to terms with the idea that no matter what is happening at this moment, the Lord has plans for me that I just don't understand yet ... "plans to prosper me and not to harm me, plans to give me hope and a future." As I walk this tight-rope, I'm being readied for something.
Maybe you find yourself on a tight-rope walking without a net as well. Maybe you feel unsteady or uncertain. As someone who loves goals, lists and plans, I'm struggling with not having something specific on the horizon. I'm struggling with not having something in mind to reach or to look forward to. I'm struggling because I don't know how long this wire is or what I will find when I get to the other side. I don't like it one bit. But, it's where I am.
Are you having difficulty seeing the platform on the other side? Well, I'm gonna share my friend's suggestion. She told me to hang tight and listen to the Muzac. Eventually, the Universe will guide me to the place I'm meant to be.
I have confidence that I'll get to the next platform. I'm gonna walk without a net. BUT if I have to listen to the muzac, I'm gonna pick my own Playlist ... and I'm gonna walk that Tight-Rope with a great dress on and smile.
What about you? Are you walking without a net? Are you listening to the Muzac too? It certainly ain't easy. But you choose how you take the steps. You choose how you manage the silence. That you can control. The outcome may be unknown. But how you take each step is up to you.