Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Let Go

A rope extended from my chest and my harness tightened. Underneath my helmet, I was sweating. My hands shook.

"Okay, slowly walk backwards," the guide said to me. "You're at the top of the cliff now, so when you start feeling the rocks slope sharply down, lean back. I know it sounds counterintuitive, but trust me. Lean back, and you can then walk along the cliff, your body parallel with the ground." 

I nodded, eyes wide. I gripped the rope extending from my chest and then slowly let the rope out from beneath my rear with my right hand. I took one last look at my friends still on the cliff - they grinned and waved at me. I felt sick. 

I rappelled my way across the top of the cliff and lost sight of my friends. The rocks sloped sharply down and then - I will never forget that moment - I gritted my teeth and leaned back. My stomach seemed to flip upside down. Suddenly I was walking down the face of a cliff, parallel with the ground. Above, I could hear distant whoops and shouts from my friends. 

I didn't feel victorious. I just wanted solid ground beneath my feet. 

Then, the next most scary moment came when I needed to let go of the cliff, for there was no more cliff. Just mid air. I needed to rappel through 50 feet of silent air. 

I let go. 

I looked down at the tiny people on the ground waiting for me. Gulp. I felt miserable, and I rappelled through the air, arm shaking even more.

Then, I stopped. I just stopped. I took a deep, deep breath and looked around. I was suspended in the middle of two giant, carved golden cliffs. Above the canyon, the early evening sky was a royal blue, clean and vast and eternal. Below, rivers of sand flowed between the cliffs. A light breeze whispered across my skin. In such profound silence, I could feel the pounding of my heart.  

My mouth broke into a small smile. 

With a reluctant sigh, I began to rappel again. When my feet touched the sand, the guide gathered me up and began to unharness me. My body was jelly. A friend ran up to congratulate me. "Insane, huh?" he said. I grinned. 

I craned my neck to look up at the undulating golden cliffs and the rich blue sky. I pictured myself suspended between the cliffs ad I shook my head in awe. 

This happened on the summer Bus Tour almost seven years ago, but today this memory came to me unbidden. I have been reflecting why, why would I think of rappelling down a cliff? 

I realize that right now in my life, I feel like I'm in that harness, sweating under that helmet. I wonder what my next step in life is going to be. Everything seems to be up in the air, everything unsettled. Where will I study, teach, live? Where will I travel, how will I serve, who will I marry? 

Right now, it's like Krishna is my guide and He's saying, "Okay, now when the rocks slope down, lean back, trust me, lean back." 

Let go.

To write is to dare the soul. So write.