Leap of Faith
By Kristine Madera
Bungee jumping has been on my bucket list since I saw a magnificent bungee leap of faith by a woman who looked on the edge of bliss. She spread her arms, closed her eyes and did a swan dive off a platform that seemed a zillion feet off the ground. That was at least two decades ago and yet bungee jumping remains on the bucket list, undone, a theoretical adventure for some much later date. I think it’s that glorified rubber band that I have a hard time trusting, despite seeing hundreds of seamless jumps.
But life has a way of wrangling you to one of those mile-high platforms and goading you into jumping. Mine started innocuously enough about six months ago when a sense of change was in the air and I decided I wanted a new office, one with more heart, more soul, edgier, and dare I say it, more me. It inspired a very expansive feeling, stirring the same pulsing high as one of those peak moments, like graduating from high school, or finishing a marathon, or, perhaps, actual bungee jumping. The idea felt so expansive that every one of my cells quivered, and I could taste the celebratory champagne at the grand opening. Then a bouncy little voice of inner knowing whispered to me, “You don’t need an office.” After a moment of shock, I shooed the whispered wisdom away. After all, no office was way too much change, and a new office felt so good that it must be the best thing to do, right?
But as I looked for a new office, that knowing voice wouldn’t go away. I tried to ignore it as best I could, but each time I looked at office space, I could feel it staring out over my shoulder murmuring sweet nothings like, “this looks like an office to me, what part of ‘you do not need an office,’ is so difficult to understand?” That was the thing; it wasn’t at all difficult to understand. Like all true guidance, it was utterly simple—in the same way that jumping off a bungee platform attached to a rubber band is simple.
It’s the conscious, thinking mind that loves complexity—plans, goals, the quest for meaning and the juicy intricacies of context. The subconscious mind is vastly complex, but, paradoxically, the part of it that is connected to truth, guidance and the expanse of possibility loves simplicity. It’s this push-pull between these minds that bounces us from fearfully clinging to meaning and the complexity of the storylines we live by, and the expansive simplicity of setting ourselves free to pursue new possibilities, new stories, a life totally out of context to the cages we’ve confined ourselves in. You’d think that the expansive, empowering choice would win out each time, but the comfortable complexity of our created stories is just so compelling.
I love stories. I started writing as a Fictioneer (love that word, too, it sounds so gloriously swashbuckling) and there is little better than a riveting, emotion-snaring story that keeps you reading until four in the morning. One of the reasons I so love my face-to-face hypnosis practice is that I have the most amazing clients with the most astounding life stories. But I also know that the stories can get in the way of positive change. Once you get deep into your story, all your “yeah, but…” excuses are on the table to prove why you can’t step out of the storyline and plunge into possibility with your own wisdom as your GPS: people would think I’ve lost my mind; my family won’t approve; my boss would flip out; and the motherload of them all—who would I be without my story?
The thing is, the story you tell yourself is just fiction anyway. It doesn’t feel like fiction because it is your life, and your life feels real. But it only feels real because you believe the stories you spin—at least while you are spinning them. If you have ever had a change of heart about something—a friend you adored turns on you and it changes the flavor of the entire friendship; the good girl/wife/mother you pride yourself in being is used to manipulate you and you need to rise up in a new way or end up as a nice but nerveless doormat—you know how tenuous the strands of story can be.
And yet, our stories feel so real, so compelling, even when our stories aren’t working for us anymore, like having an office was no longer working for me. My story about my office was that a face-to-face practice gave me a feeling of legitimacy, was my primary source of income, and a physical office proved to other people and clients (and my family!) that I was a professional, and not just some slacker with a website and a phone chatting to people between episodes of Judge Judy and Dr. Oz
I clung to my story and tried to funnel the guidance of my inner wisdom into it, deciding I could share an office, go part-time doing whatever this not-needing-an-office thing was (and I truly had no idea), and see clients face-to-face part-time because I really enjoyed that. Inner wisdom, however, cannot be funneled into a fiction that has outlasted its value. The realities in other parts of my life made having an office much more cumbersome than was practical, or even sustainable. So one morning I just surrendered, stepped to the end of the bungee platform, refused the illusion of the rubber band, and jumped off.
There were a lot of ways I could have spun that story: angry reaction, resentment, self-sabotage, spite, and a few victim cards to choose from. But I know enough about story that acting from those sorts of narratives just serve to shrink the cage your stories imprison you in. So I let go of trying to find continuity, meaning, or a neat storyline. I just jumped, having no idea where I might land. Inner wisdom, luckily, acts like a GPS, and when you follow the direction on the screen in front of you, it gives you the next step. In the freefall of the next few days, I realized that I had everything I needed. I had a home office for privacy and a great way to help people access their own inner wisdom and guidance without the complication of their storylines—that actually works better over the phone. It was so simple, fit so much better into the reality of my life, and I could work at home wearing my Mickey Mouse socks.
What’s next, I really don’t know, I’m still developing this step, so the next one isn’t on the GPS screen yet. What I do know is that living in the freedom of wisdom, bewildering as it is sometimes, is so much simpler than living in the constriction of the stories we tell ourselves, or, God forbid, conforming to the storylines that other people try to impose on us. I also know that if I can do it, you can, too. And if you need a little practice before taking an actual life plunge, try bungee jumping. Just be sure that you attach the bungee cord.
Kristine Madera is an Asheville-based speaker, writer and Clinical Hypnotist & Hypno-Coach. She specializes in helping you access your inner wisdom so you can live the freest, most authentic, joyful, successful life you can. And she now works by phone and skype! Find out more at www.MindWiseHypnosis.com.