Monday, October 5, 2009

Let Go

That's what the whispers tell me repeatedly of late. Let go. Whispers: my gut instinct, wise voice, the universe. Let go.

Last night, I dreamed about a family vacation we took a few years back in Club Med. The dream was just a replay of what actually happened on that trip: I tried the trapeze, because I had always wanted to, and because it terrified me. I wanted to overcome my fear. I'm an idiot.

I climbed up sixty feet, gripped the trapeze with both hands and swung out over the net, sure I'd die. I even got my legs up and over the trapeze bar, but I couldn't let my hands go and fly through the air as intended, holding onto the trapeze with only the backs of my knees. No matter how hard that instructor shouted, not he or anyone else on the ground, and there was quite a large, vocal audience staring up at me, none of them could convince me to let go my hands and hang just by my legs. I let go all right, all four limbs, and somersaulted onto the net, landing, splat, spreadeagled on my back. Not pretty. My two daughters witnessed the whole fiasco.

I returned the next day, and failed again. However, as in most good stories, I returned on the third day, and succeeded. I will never attempt the trapeze again in this lifetime. I succeeded once because I'm a hard taskmaster, and because I wanted my daughters to see me push past fear to success, however unsightly I made it look.

I also returned to the trapeze that third time because after my first failed attempt, as I waded through that large crowd that had witnessed my humiliation (I must have hung onto that trapeze with both my hands and legs for a good twenty minutes, the line of spectators and those waiting to take their turn growing by the second) a handsome man touched my arm and said "You need to do it again, sweetheart, you need to let go." The way he looked at me, the way he said it, felt profound. And, yes, his black eyes and beard screamed at my Irish Catholic sensibilities. He wasn't just talking about the trapeze.

Let go. What do I need to let go of now? It's a long list. Mostly, these days, I think I need to let go of striving so hard. To just let things be. To surrender more.


  1. ...did his black eyes and beard mean he looked safely Irish Catholic, or was he Other, and you could respond more to the idea of looseness and letting go from someone exotic or outside of your parameters?

    How interesting a dream -- since it was such fear and such triumph all at once. I'm sure you made your girls proud. I am also sure that this is an issue all women struggle with, the idea that we're never as much as we could be, and if we could simply find some place within us to unlock, we're sure that the geniuneness which we crave would then be released.

    I'm not sure anymore.

  2. Yes... Acceptance is a very powerful thing (which, as writers, we already know)...

  3. I love the visceral feeling that image provides...perfect dream for a writer. Used to tell people when they got The Hanged One in a tarot reading...go to the playground and swing as high as you can, then hang your head upside down...check out the view for a bit. Of course holding on! and of course, not a zilliondy feet up on a trapeze. Thnx for the sense/image.

  4. Hi Tanita, Eric, and Tania, thanks for your comments. Yes, Eric, acceptance. Sometimes the dilemma lies in knowing what to accept though, you know? Tanita, it was more a Jesus Christ moment, a "someone knowing something about you they couldn't possibly" episode ... Tania, I love the idea of not taking things at face value, in re-seeing, whether it's tarot cards or anything else.