A couple months ago when I was just finishing up producing a teleseminar and spending way too much time hunched over at the computer, I decided I needed to do something different, something that would bring me joy, something that would get take me out of my normal environment and actually excite me. So, I did what had been on my list to do for a long time.
I went flying.
“Smile and listen. Those are the only two rules you need to follow to excel at the trapeze.” ~ Marek Kaszuba, owner of Trapeze Pro
I didn’t know what to expect making the 45 minute trek out to the Sonoma County hills to fly on a trapeze. I just knew I had been wanting to do it for awhile and it was closer than then the outfit I’d been considering which was in Texas (that was also outdoors). I also knew I had to go because just the thought of flying through the trees excited me more than anything I had done in a really long time.
So, I made the trek by myself because no one wanted to join me (and why wait?) and I was greeted by, what I found out, was a core group of women who met there every weekend. One of the women was in her 70’s and came as often as she could. She was flying through the sky doing twists without a harness (she also had her pilots license which she got in her 60’s, which gives you a clue about her)! Another woman was a single mom who came with her son every weekend and made this her retreat.
When Marek explained the rules of the game, I was waiting for more. Smile and listen? How do those apply? But when I was on the trapeze it was interesting how those two commands would help me glide through the air. When I listened and took action just when they told me to, grace would take over and my move through the air would be effortless.
When I was driving home, I realized how these two commands also apply to life.
The purpose of the smile command was to let go of resistance. When you are taking on anything new, like flying on a trapeze, where fear can creep in, you have to find a way to tell your fear that you are okay, that this is okay, that you are going to be fine. To smile is a decision and in making this deliberate decision, you are setting the tone of your own experience.
This reminds me of a wise teacher I once had who whenever I would complain about something I had to do but didn’t want to do, she would tell me: Change your mind. Decide you want to do it. Decide there is something in it for you. Decide that you are going to have a good time doing it. And invariably, I would, but it put ME, not my circumstances, in charge of that decision. I think the same concept goes for the smile.
The “listen” command, was more interesting. Darrel, a part of the team that was holding the ropes on the ground, was watching you fly and timing your actions. You were supposed to listen for his direction on when to bring your legs over the bar, because from his vantage point, he knew the precise moment, that if you followed his lead, the wind would be at your back and grace would take over, (which I did finally experience on my third round).
Outside of the trapeze world, this “listen” command is relevant because our intuition, our higher guidance, the universe (whatever you want to call it) have a similar vantage point. They are at ground control wanting to assist us in our forward momentum. They know what we want and they know the quickest route to get us there. We get the hunches, we get the cues, we get the nudges, but how often do we follow them?
When Darrel was giving me instruction from below, I kept questioning him. “Now?” I’d ask. “Yes, NOW”, he’d say. Then, he’d say, “Okay, now swing the legs back and forth”, and I’d repeat, “Swing my legs back and forth? How do I do that?” He’d say, “Yes, Sonya, back and forth. Just as it sounds, back and forth”. And I’d say, “Now?” and he’d say, “Yes, Now!”. And when I finally made it through (it was my first time), and safely landed on the net, he came up from under me and said, jokingly, “It wasn’t supposed to be a debate, Sonya”.
But isn’t this what we do with our own guidance? We debate it to death, rationalize all the reasons why it is not sound advice, and then never take the action. But with trapeze, the command is not “Listen”, as in “enjoy the music”. It’s “Listen and take action. Follow my lead and you will succeed”.
And if you think about it, these two commands are pretty good barometers of success off of the trapeze. People who have mastered their fears, let go of their resistance and allowed grace to assist them by following their own internal cues, are leading very successful lives.
Smile and Listen. Let go of resistance so that you can hear your internal guidance and follow its lead. Let grace take over and the wind be at your back.
In other words, you’re looking for forward momentum. Like flying.