Would You Rather Stay Safe Or Risk Being Free?

04/19/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

"Leap and the net will appear"
Julia Cameron, The Artist's Way

It's now mid-February. The decade is nearly two months old. Have your New Year's resolutions gone the way of the trash heap yet? Have you've settled into your old patterns and back to business as usual?

Perhaps this time you thought you could sneak by the guard at the gate without ponying up. Maybe you thought you could put off facing your fears and taking on your life and just stay safe on the sidelines. But isn't that what you've already done? Isn't that why you made those resolutions in the first place? Remember, you said this was the year you were going to (fill in the blank)?

Here's a novel idea: What if you just busted yourself and went for it anyway? What if you just cut through all the nonsense, retired your stories about why you can't or why it'll never work or why it's not the right time or why the universe isn't supporting you, etc., and just jumped!

Leap........ and the net will appear!

What if Julia Cameron is right? What if that's really the way it works? You declare, without evidence, your intention, and then you take action, as in leaping, and the way then becomes apparent. What have you got to lose, besides the illusion of safety and security and your warm seat on the bench?

I know, you want to see the net before you leap. But what if the path ahead doesn't show itself until you've demonstrated your commitment and willingness to go for it, be uncomfortable, be inconvenienced, and like the Nike ad says, "Just do it"!

Let's face it: if the pull of your history is stronger than your willingness to manifest a different future, you'll stay right where you are. So if you're telling yourself you want a different result and it's not happening, look to see if what you're really committed to is holding on to your story and keeping that bench warm.

Human beings are master story tellers, you know. It's our nature. Life happens and we make up a story about it. We are that we are interpreting life's events every moment. So far, so good.

But here's where things start to get tricky..... (It seems there's usually a point where things start to get tricky, have you noticed that?) I guess if it were all straightforward and easy, we'd all have it all figured out and everybody would be enlightened and we'd all go on about our merry little way.

The tricky part

We're so masterful at bringing meaning to the moment, we don't even know we're doing it. The process is transparent to us, we do it instantaneously. Thus:We forget that we're making it up! Then we proceed to live our lives as if our stories are the truth! We collapse what actually happens in our lives into the stories we tell ourselves about what happens.

It's like baking a cake. You fold all the ingredients into the mix and you can no longer distinguish the flour from the sugar from the butter, from the eggs. Put it in the oven and bake it for say, 20-30 years or more, ( How long you've been polishing up your story?) and your cake becomes an impenetrable rock. That's how our stories become our truths. Repeated long enough and often enough, we lose sight of the facts and are left with our perceptions, masquerading as facts.

The Good/Bad News

OK, you say. So if we're meaning making machines, what's the alternative? If my nature is to interpret and make meaning of everything, how do I not make things up? How can I know the truth?
Ahhh, now we're getting somewhere.

Here's the bad news: You can't not interpret. You're always going to make up a story about what happens. That's the way it is with us humans.

Here's the good news...... You can make up anything you want. So why not make up a story that empowers you to go forward? As the storyteller, you're the one who chooses the plot, the characters, the subplots, the action, etc. You can make it up however you want.

What is the truth?

You might not like this.... but the truth is whatever you say it is. You're the one who invests your energy in being right about whatever you think is true. Why not be right about a choice that forwards your life? You might fall, yes. Your life didn't come with a money back guarantee. You got a ticket to ride. That's it. People fall sometimes and skin their knees or even their hearts.

Not to be crass, but so what? As Russell Bishop wrote in his post last week, sometimes our biggest challenges are also our biggest teachers. So don't be afraid to learn. The only real failure is living your life in such a way that when you reach the end, you look back and are filled with regrets about never having gone for it.

I have leapt with no net in sight more times than I can count. Sometimes, the chasm has been so wide, I've been air born for years! I've had lots of time during flight to second guess and re-think my decision to leap, but since I'd already gone for it, I needed to become creative and figure out how to land.

Sometimes I've stuck the landing like an Olympic gymnast. Other times, I've barely made the net, catching it with a hangnail. Still other times, I've missed the net on the first pass, hit the ground and bounced back up making the net on the second pass and still have the bruises to show for it! But I wouldn't trade those bruises for the a life lived on the sidelines with a clean uniform and perfectly groomed nails.

Would you rather stay safe or risk being free?

The choice is really yours. Just ask yourself, "Is the way my life is now the way I want it to be?" If your answer is "Yes, I don't want to change a thing", bravo to you, and enjoy the ride.
But if you've come to a place in the road where the current path you're on no longer serves you, if you feel you've outgrown your stories and they now only constrain you, it's time to bring those stories to an end and write a new one that opens the door to freedom.

Write down all the stories you're ready to conclude. Put them in a fireproof bowl and set them on fire or put them through the shredder. Be prepared for your ego to jump up and down, frantically wave its arms and urgently warn you against doing this. Its job is to keep these stories alive and installed on the hard drive of your life. Delete them and you're robbing the ego of one of its major duties. You'll have to figure out some other job for it like, chopping wood, carrying water and making sure all the socks come out of the dryer.

And then go for it. Go for it because you can. Go for it because you must. Go for it because it's who you are. Go for it because it's why you came to the planet. Go for it because it's what the world needs.

Going for it is pulling out all the stops, throwing off the shackles, aligning with your higher self, attuning with your true nature, and saying "yes" to all the above. It's stepping off the cliff before you can see the net and creating whatever is needed to have you make it to the other side of the chasm.

Maybe you'll end up inventing a whole new technology for how human beings can get from here to there. Lord knows we could use a few new ideas.

What leap have you not been taking? What story have you used to keep from leaping? What leap did you take and how did the net appear? Thanks for sharing your thoughts and comments below.

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Come pay a visit to my personal blog and web site, Rx For The Soul where you'll find my earlier series on Harnessing Your Power To Create in 2010 and lots more. For personal contact, I can be reached at: judith[at]judithrichdotcom.

Even though it isn't leap year, go for it anyway and happy leaping!