*BETTY GOEDHART (PICTURED), AT AGE 86, IS THE OLDEST FEMALE FLYING TRAPEZE ARTIST IN THE WORLD.
I want to love more than death can harm. And I want to tell you this often: That despite being so human and so terrified, here, standing on this unfinished staircase to nowhere and everywhere, surrounded by the cold and starless night- we can live. And we will.”Poem by Ocean Vuong, 2019 MacArthur Fellow
We are now in between trapezes.
The intensity and trauma of the pandemic is subsiding. Some students are back in schools, albeit hybrid or one or two days a week. Welcome to the “One year out/it is still here/some are vaccinated/numbers still spike/it is ongoing” pandemic world. We have grieved the known, be it people in our hearts, structures of time or pandemic routines. Here we are at a moratorium, not yet grasping the next trapeze which is swinging our way. We are in a space and a moment which is the most creative, filled with opportunity and hope where we all can truly fly… or experience the biggest crash to the ground without a safety net some of us have ever experienced.
As my grandmother always said, “Time will tell.”
In the meantime, I’ve personally morphed into Alice in Wonderland being in freefall. I gave up the white-knuckle death grip of a trapeze called “known” and am now in the midst of a lovely, free-floating, unencumbered ride. My responsibilities are to me first and foremost: to strengthen my inner spiritual core, to shore up my self-trust; to find joy in the people and places in my world, to envision a future and build it, step by step. As Julia Cameron said, “Leap, and the net appears.”
During this float between trapezes, I tripped over two poems which knocked my socks off, and capture this time so poignantly. Let’s see if you agree. I started the newsletter with the first and here is the second:
“Wait without hope, for hope would be hope for the wrong thing. Wait without love, for love would be love for the wrong thing. There is yet faith, but the faith and the hope and the love are all in the waiting. Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought. And so the darkness shall be light, and the stillness the dancing.”“East Coker”, TS Eliot
Questions about Moving Forward
In this time of spring and renewal, we have the opportunity to focus on the light within darkness, our ability to love and the power of the human spirit. Let’s embrace this opportunity with gusto. My questions to you are:
Moving forward, what is one thing that terrifies you?
How might you look it in the eye and have a conversation with that fear? How do you embrace and nurture it so it’s no longer fighting against you, but a companion who accompanies you along with the parts of you that you treasure?
What is something you are holding onto in your life which no longer serves you well?
What would happen if you let go of that limiting trapeze bar?
What is a possible safety net you can create to quiet your fear as you are in freefall?
What does your flight into possibility look like?
What would it include?
What is a valuable lesson learned from this pandemic which you can weave into your future life moving forward??
Now it is your turn. What do you think? I would love to hear your questions. Feel free to email me your thoughts.
The Best of Julia Cameron
I am an insatiable Julia Cameron fan, and have been since the first edition of her best-selling book, The Artist’s Way was published 25 years ago. The 25th anniversary edition just released is even better. Her strategies, concepts and quotes fill, thrill and inspire me every time I interact with her work. As a result, I am dedicating this section of the newsletter to Julia Cameron, an American teacher, author, artist, poet, playwright, novelist, filmmaker, pigeon fancier, composer, and journalist. While she is best known for her book, The Artist’s Way (1992), she has also written many other non-fiction works, short stories, and essays, as well as novels, plays, musicals, and screenplays. I invite you to become a Julia Cameron fan as well.
My Top Five Favorite Books by Julia Cameron are:
- The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity
- The Listening Path: The Creative Art of Attention
- The Prosperous Heart: Creating a Life of Enough
- Finding Water: The Art of Perseverance
- Blessings: Prayers and Declarations for a Heartful Life
My Top Five Favorite Julia Cameron Quotes are:
“I’ve learned, as a rule of thumb, never to ask whether you can do something. Say, instead, that you are doing it. Then fasten your seat belt. The most remarkable things follow.”
“If we lean into what we love instead of soldiering toward what we ‘should,’ our pace quickens, our energy rises, optimism sets in. What we love is nutritious for us.”
“We tend to think being hard on ourselves will make us strong. But it is cherishing ourselves that gives us strength.”
“I am compassionate. I allow my heart and imagination to embrace the difficulties and concerns of others. While maintaining my own balance, I find it within myself to extend sympathy, attention, and support. When they are grieved, I listen with openness and gentle strength. I offer loyalty, friendship, and human understanding. Without undermining or enabling, I aid and assist others to find their strength. I allow the healing power of the Universe to flow through me, soothing the hearts and feelings of those I encounter.”
“The face of love is variable. I am able to love without demanding that my relationships assume the structures and forms I might choose for them. My love is fluid, flexible, committed, creative. My love allows people and events to unfold as they need. My love is not controlling. It does not dictate or demand. My love allows those I love the freedom to assume the forms most true to them. I release all those I love from my preconceptions of their path. I allow them the dignity of self-definition while I offer them a constant love that is every variable in shape.”