Choice has been both the greatest blessing and curse in my life.
When I feel like I don’t have a choice, I panic. Alternatively, not having any choice is sometimes the only way I’ll surrender into unknown territory.
Choice always brings up doubt. And yet, I’ve learned to trust myself through choice.
My life long question is: “Who is choosing in this moment?”
I’ve never been 100% sure of my choices, like some say is possible. I envy people who can take a test and answer every question correctly and more importantly know it.
I’ve struggled in relationships with choice and chosen the perfect intimate partners to play out this struggle. On one end of the pendulum, I fall in love with men who are fiercely independent (and noncommittal) like me. On the other end, they are possessive, controlling and beneath it all, insecure and needy.
Over the years, I’ve taken back the projections I’ve put on my lovers and come to recognize my own neediness and fear of pain and loss, as well as my deep devotion to freedom.
Choice is what keeps these seemingly opposite parts of me in communication, integrity and balance.
I feel the freedom loving part of me as this winged child who never touches the ground. And the needy part of me as this child who lost her wings, who feels helpless, scared and alone to be here on earth in a body.
For most of my life I’ve swung back and forth, letting the free spirit part of me have her way in moments, and the needy part of me have her way in others. Neither part has ever understood nor wanted to have anything to do with the other. One is bound to the sky and the other to the earth.
I’m not sure when or how I became aware of the space in between them. But I’ve come to know this space as another part of me, that has curiosity for both the earth and sky. And as I allow this curiosity to spread out across the worlds, every now and then I’ll feel the earth bound child looking up and the sky bound child looking down. I’ll feel one daring to fly closer and closer to the ground and the other leaping higher and higher into the sky. One moving towards intimacy, and the other to moving towards freedom. Once in a while, in suspended moments, they might even meet, catching a glimpse of one another’s eyes.
It’s been like a game, this providential dance between my sky and earth beings-each daring herself to stretch her limits and move beyond the familiar into the unknown. The higher one leaps, the lower the other flies, as if calling to each other.
Or is it this space in between the worlds that calls to all parts of me?
The more I choose from this awareness, this space in between, the more my choices honor all parts of me rather than just a few. The more my choices honor the wants and needs of others, rather than just my own desires. And less I feel like I am choosing. And the more there is simply an isness to every moment.
I don’t need to think about what to do. I just rest in the space that holds all desires and let this awareness tell me when to speak, when to listen, when to leap, when to fly closer to the ground.
The thing is I can’t hold onto anything in this space in between– including control or past experience. Nor can I collapse here. If I collapse I tumble into one part or another.
The closest metaphor I can compare this supple awareness between control and collapsing is sky diving. The most important thing to remember when jumping out of an airplane is to arch your back and spread your arms and legs out wide like wings. In this position, you fall straight and in the ten second rush of being completely out of control, you can stay somewhat present to your experience.
In an arched position, your heart is also open. In my first sky diving lesson, we repeated this movement over and over for hours until it was so ingrained in our brains, it became automatic. Because when you’re free falling from 5000 feet, there’s no thinking. Just arching. You might not breathe, but you arch. If you panic and forget to arch, you tumble like a sock in the washing machine of the clouds. And if you tumble you’ll forget to pull your shoot when you get to one thousand ten.
Letting go comes in phases. First you face your fear of leaving the safety of the airplane and stepping out onto the little platform – because once you step out, you can’t go back in. Then you face your fear of letting go of your feet – dangling them in the air for 3 more seconds, while you hold onto a little bar that puts your arms up and in the right position to arch. Then you have to let go of the bar.
You are told to not close your eyes or look down until your shoot opens. The initial drop takes your breath away. Thankfully your body remembers to arch. Your mouth remembers to count. Up here in the sky world, you can’t choose anything. The sky and gravity chooses for you. Everything around you seems to be moving so fast, yet there is a feeling of being suspended in air – as if being held, even though there is nothing to hold onto. There is a feeling of stillness in the movement-of peace in the chaos of free fall. And you are that point of peace. You are the gravitational movement of Awareness – that is beyond choice, that simply is.