Stuck on the Cliff? Or Measuring the Leap?

Someone described to me his predicament: “I feel like I’m stuck at the edge of a cliff. I know who I am, but I’m afraid to leap in to more fully expressing myself because I don’t want to leave behind what I have now. Going back doesn’t feel good. Going forward doesn’t feel good. So I’m stuck here in pain.”

My response to him and to others who feel similarly, refers to another perspective:

“I hear that you feel like you’re on the cliff. AND I hear that you’re doing things to discern things about your life. You’re aware of the cliff. You’re aware of what’s behind you and learning more about what could be ahead of you. In asking the questions you’re learning more about who you are right now.

Sometimes part of our consciousness can only focus on “seeing” the edge of the cliff. Meanwhile, another part of the consciousness is busy measuring, weaving rope, making ladders and bridges… And then someday both “parts” connect and suddenly there are more options, new ways of seeing things. A bridge appears off the cliff. Or a ladder.

Right now, you’re measuring and weaving, dear one – whether or not you see that.

So for now – see the cliff; feel the cliff; feel your aversion for going back, for going forward; feel your desire; feel your fear. These are all things being offered to you now, and mindfulness practice says – experience them. There will be something else that comes along to experience. There always is. Maybe sometime soon, it’ll be the feeling of walking across a bridge.

So, be exactly who you are right now.”

The act of  paying attention to right now, being here right now – even if it’s painful emotionally – helps us be present to what’s next. I believe there are always other options, we just don’t always see them. But really “seeing” “what is” in the present moment is practice for “seeing” “what is” in the next moment – and it might be different than now. A new option may show up. That’s really always been there. But now we can see it – because we’re paying attention.

Stepping in to a new option may feel like leaping off of a cliff. But if we pay attention, we usually see the bridge just as we’re stepping off the cliff. At least that’s been my experience. And I’ve been at the edge of a few “cliffs.”

But you have your life. Listen to your own experience. Be yourself. Explore the present moment. Pay attention. And see what bridges start to show up in your life.

Much love on your courageous journey,


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