As I step nervously toward the edge I feel weak in my legs. Nothing but vast Atlantic Ocean reaches out before me. No land stands between me and the West Coast of Africa. The rising sun is mirrored on the swelling waters. Almost 100m of a drop below me to the frothing waves crashing against the cliffs, sculpted by the never-ending beat of the sea. The warm Caribbean winds gust around me, testing my balance. On the narrow rock beneath me a number of fiercely prickly cacti await any misplaced step or loss of balance. Standing alone here on the Southern most tip of Antigua on New Year’s day 2016, I feel called to step out onto this overhanging cliff edge. “Crikey!” I wonder. “What on earth for?”
Imagining some passionate and triumphant Kate-Winslet-on-the-Titanic-type moment, I find myself on the edge of fear and elation. In honesty, more fear than elation! There is no Leonardo DiCaprio to hold me safe here!!
I feel incredibly vulnerable.
Face-to-face with the immensity and power of nature, I feel tiny. The insignificance of ME and my life is glaring at me.
I try to ground down through my feet and legs. “C’mon, I can do this. I’m a yogic, shamanic, spiritually-connected, free, inspired -being for goodness sake!! What is there to be scared of? Trust more. Let go. Feel the stability rising up from the support of the Earth.”
I desperately want to drop to all fours and hold on for dear life, but with me and the “fierce” cacti on this bit of rock there’s not enough space for hands and feet. “Dammit! This is ridiculous. What am I trying to prove?”
But something in me keeps me there. I consciously experience the fear rather than shying away from it back to my comfort zone.
I am aware of the voices playing in my mind – “don’t be stupid, get away from the edge, the rocks could crumble or the wind catch you”, “there’s nothing to be afraid of, it’s all in your mind, anyone else could do that easy”.
“HERE I AM!” I hear myself suddenly shout out at the top of my lungs. I breathe deep and do it a few more times. I start to realise what I am doing.
Here I AM with all my fear and doubt and vulnerability.
Here I AM with all my vices and failings and weaknesses.
Here I AM with all my strengths and gifts and accomplishments.
Here I AM with all my stuff.
Here I AM as me, in this moment, a work in progress.
Here I AM authentically human. No more. No less.
Here I AM 2016.
In this moment, there is no proclaiming limitless power or holding on to dreamy visions and hopes of what I want to be or think I should be. The visceral fear has me totally present, stripped down to the naked truth. I am humbled. I am real.
As I step into 2016 I choose to show up in my naked truth. To be honest and compassionate and confident in my awesome imperfection. To engage fully and courageously in the human experience with all I am. Yes all of it! And I choose to DARE GREATLY.
(Indeed, I owe much to my inspiring read during the end of year holidays of Brené Brown’s “Daring Greatly” which I highly recommend!! )
I step slightly back from the edge where I find a little bit more space to move. I let my heart and soul sing as loud as I want. No-one can hear. I chant and and let my body move as I perform an intuitive ritual to celebrate and welcome in this new year.
A big brown pelican takes flight from below and surfs gracefully the gusts of wind. I start to feel in my body the power of the ocean, the wind, the sun and the land. The fear and vulnerability are still there but I am leaning into them, accepting the discomfort and dancing with it. It feels good!
Finally, I jump back off the overhang and breathe a sigh of relief as I settle back into my comfort zone. I acknowledge my courage and at the same time giggle at my self for the drama!!
That little unexpected adventure reminded me of what it takes and how it feels to step out of my comfort zone; that I can stand consciously in my fear and vulnerability; and that this is where I may grow the most.
On the edge of the comfort zone is where we are most ALIVE!
Wishing you a very happy, healthy and abundant 2016.
May you dare greatly and enjoy the ride!