Come to the Edge

“Come to the edge, he said.  They said: We are afraid.

Come to the edge, he said.  They came.  He pushed them and they flew.”

~ Guillaume Apollinaire

I’ll admit I’ve postponed posting this week.  It’s my last week of teaching my regular classes at ACAC before my sabbatical, and as I stand with my toes on the edge of four months away from my work*, I can feel myself hesitating.  As my last class approaches (on Monday at 1045am, for those keeping score at home), I realize that I’m really going to do this.

Do I really WANT to do this?  I love moving and I love the people I get to play with.  I love the music and the magic.  What am I thinking?  What will I do?  What will I learn?  What if it’s not what I want to learn?  What if I figure out exactly nothing?

Early in the process of deciding about taking a sabbatical, I was standing in my friend’s kitchen absolutely unable to decide.  My body was telling me clearly that I needed a break, and my mind was screaming in protest.  I looked at my friend with tears in my eyes and said, “I don’t know what to do.”

She smiled and said, “Leap and the wings will appear.”

I looked and her steadily and snapped, “I want those damn wings!”

We laughed about it and yet, for me, it’s true.  I want to be sure.  I want to know how it’s going to come out.  I want to know.  I want to reach back there, feel those smooth feathers and strong bones, and THEN I want to leap.

Of course, it doesn’t work that way.  We all have to launch ourselves into the unknown and trust we’ll have what we need to see us through.  I actually believe that I’ve been doing my best to shore up my discomfort with the unknown by creating the illusion that my life is known.  With schedules and calendars and to do lists (lots and lots of those), I hold the delusion that everything will follow my plans.  And occasionally I am reminded that we never really know what we are in for.

The truth is that we are all one phone call away from our lives careening into wildly unknown territory.  I wake up every morning thinking I know how it’s going to go, and every once in a while, the wheels come off or something truly surprising happens and there I am, paddling around ass over tea kettle in the waves.  I bet it’s happened to you, too, and I bet you can tell me exactly what you were doing when everything went kaflooey.

As I get ready to launch myself into The Summer of The Unknown, I realize I’ve always been there.  I’ve just chosen not to notice it.   The other side is that our wings have always been there, too.  We just choose not to notice them, either.

You may not be inquiring into the foundation of your professional life.  You might actually, unlike me, have some PLANS for the summer.  And even so, I know there is something for you.  You wonder if you can actually do it.  Something in your life looks like a yawning abyss in front of you and your toes are perilously close to the edge and you are really not sure how it’s going to turn out.  My invitation (and my own challenge) is to take a breath and trust.  Trust your body:  your sensations can guide you and give you a huge amount of wisdom.  Trust your intuition:  when I get quiet, even when I think I don’t know, I do know.  You know.  And trust yourself:  even if you’re headed is in the opposite direction of everybody else, even if (on the surface at least) it doesn’t seem to make sense.  Trust and take the leap.

Ready?  Go!

* to be clear, I will be blogging all summer ~ chronicling the journey!  AND I’m teaching at three retreats – one in June, one in July and one in September! So please please, come out to play!

  1. Mary said:

    Absolutely brilliant, Susan! Thank you for your wonderful post. It reminded me of last summer, when I was surrounded by meticulously penned to-do lists for my move to North Carolina. Things began going off the track in July, and only one of my “plans” went according to schedule. At the end of it all, I moved anyway and am now in a different place…in every sense of the word “place.” I wish you well and look forward to hearing from you post-leap. love, M

    • Thank you, Mary. So much. I remember your summer! And don’t you worry, you’ll be hearing about pre- , during- , and post-leap! Love to you and your meticulously penned to-do lists!

  2. I look forward to hearing about your summer journey! And I like the idea of already having wings. It’s all about finding the courage to use them.

    • my heavens, you are so right! It does take courage and a sense of play and a willingness to fall flat! It will be an interesting summer — for all of us, no?

  3. Elisabeth Sloan said:

    Dear Susan,

    I wish you all the best. I have been on a “sabbatical” for the past two years. My sabbatical was not completely my choice, as the economy had a profound effect on my architectural profession.

    I firmly believe that if one’s heart is turned toward light and goodness, all that happens will be for the best. This does not mean that it will be easy. It does not mean that you will know why things happen one way, when you would prefer a different direction. This searching, lack of clarity, and questioning has the possibility to lead you to a very different place. You have my support and my hopes and wishes for your well being.


    Liz Sloan

    • Thank you, Liz. Part of what I’m finding is that it is important to trust that everything is as it should be and when we see each other trusting to offer encouragement. So thank you! And best wishes on your journey of trust as well. xo Susan

  4. I am deeply moved by this post. I shared this blog (hope you don’t mind!) on my FB page. I remember you from my Brown Belt Intensive. I’ve always sensed an unbridled passion in you (from your playlists, your blog, your FB posts) and wish your journey to unfurl into everything you desire it to be. Thank you! Jill Campana

    • I’m delighted you were moved by it and that you shared it! Thank you. And today is the first day of sabbatical. Holy moly, it feels strange and wild and good. Thank you for the good wishes and the love! xo Susan

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