Let’s admit it from the get go: change is scary. We build bulwarks against it and keep piles of rationalizations under our beds. Our bank accounts protect us by never getting quite big enough to grasp our dreams. Our closest friends and family can bristle at our crazy ideas and snuff them out in one breath. All of that can make us feel lousy and more, and we know those feelings well. There is comfort in the familiar — its size and smell and the clarity of what we are capable of within its shape. We all relish our comforts, even when something inside is gnawing at us, calling us to more –something new to sink our teeth into, something deep and meaningful to pursue.
We can all name times when change was devastating and cite clear evidence of the value of staying put. But life keeps moving. When we find the courage to move out of our familiar habits or surroundings, we must jump before we know where we will land. This fact will send us scurrying backwards more than once, practicing for that moment when we leap without thinking. The muscles required to jump into the unknown live in more places than our legs. Our hearts must be strong and our eyes open. Our courage must be accessible and willing to hold hands with our fear. Our perfectionism must take a few weeks or months off while our control panels are rewired.
There are windows that stay in one place and then there are those that move. Moving windows are not made of glass nor framed by wood. Their shape can vary, and their appearance is fleeting. These are big windows that herald life changes and sometimes have small openings. They are distinguished by the unexpected timing of their arrival and the absurdness of their invitation. They ask us to leap miles in a single bound – away from all we know, into a world that will look different in every respect. They demand that we do the irrational. To jump through these windows, we must sidestep the familiar and risk everything.
In a letter he said that our love was a once in a lifetime moment of magnificent possibility. With heart and honesty, he wrote that he was beyond certain that I was the one he wanted to spend the rest of his life with, but that if I didn’t want that too, he would not wait long for me. The window is open now, he said, but if you don’t jump through, it will close. You will get another chance at love, but you won’t get the life that is on the other side of this window, for both this window and this love are unique. I jumped. One of the best moves I’ve ever made.
Since jumping through the window to Chris, I have seen and jumped through countless windows of change. Some were small but memorable, such as a magical spontaneous excursion with my ill father and infant daughter to New York that resulted in a family gathering which turned out to be the last time some in the family saw each other. Other windows have been large and life changing in every respect – like the unexpected opportunity to purchase of the School of Inner Health nearly three years ago. Today our family finished jumping through another window, one that was opened by our daughter several weeks ago when she was suddenly and unexpectedly ready to move and leave behind the only home she’s ever known. After wrangling and scrambling and gambling for our dreams, we sold our home of eight years and purchased a new beautiful home, walking distance from the School of Inner Health!
There are moments in life that require motion. There are movements you’ve been readying yourself for before you took your first steps. There are opportunities that require you to choose. There are choices that enable you to transform the inhibitions of your past from shackles into springboards. There are windows that open in response to your readiness and reflect your potential back to you. There are chances you can’t plan for. Perhaps these glimpses of chance are vestiges of another time when we moved differently, when responding to the moment was natural and necessary, when change was ordinary and expected.
Or maybe life has always been extraordinary and change always necessary – and jumping through windows always possible.
Also published on Medium.