While on a family trip this past August, I had the opportunity to go canyoneering for the first time. We hiked up a beautiful rock formation on the outskirts of Zion until we reached a little ledge that poured over into a dark, cool crevice within the rocks.
While covering the basics of handling your rope and the descent, our guide talked to us about gravity. “As you’re going down you’ll notice gravity start to pull you, remember that gravity always wins,” she said. “You can continue to try and stay the course, but eventually she’s going to grab you and force you to move in her direction.”
I strapped in, looping the rope through the appropriate hooks before disconnecting from the safety line and positioned myself on the edge. With a little guidance and a quick lean, I was over and heading down the first section of the wall. It was only a few beats before I felt her tugging at me ever so gently. Despite knowing I needed to move with her, I still found myself staying the course I’d already started, wondering how I was going to keep the path when things felt a little off kilter.
“You feel gravity starting to pull you to the right?” our guide hollered up to me. And with a “yep” and an exhale, I took my feet off the wall and let gravity do the rest. She pulled me fast and hard to the exact spot I was supposed to be, and I shimmied myself down the rest of the way with ease.
What a ridiculously perfect metaphor.
If you’ve been following me at all this year you know that loss and grief have been words that color everything I do and write. On a warm December night in Hawaii, I received the worst phone call of my life: my very recent ex boyfriend had decided to take his own life. They were calling to make sure I was safe and alive. They needed his parent’s phone numbers. They had questions about the days before his death. The last time I saw him alive and breathing.
I remember everything about that moment and the ones that followed.
I remember feeling myself crack open as the wind left my body and I fell to my knees. I remember how hard it was to focus on the conversation and pull myself together long enough to answer the questions being thrown at me. I remember how much it took for me to get back up off the ground and over to my mom’s bedroom door to tell her what had happened. I remember how I cried so hard I nearly stopped breathing, time and time again.
The thing about grief and loss is that they can shatter you, but everyone and everything else keeps moving. The world, clients, relationships, obligations, and responsibilities don’t stop moving no matter how impossible it is for you to get yourself up out of bed. No matter how much you just need a freaking moment to pause and be broken. To sit on your kitchen floor and cry until there aren’t any more tears left inside of you.
The world keeps moving.
So I kept moving with it as best I could.
The level of appreciation I have for this beautiful body of mine is enough to write a separate post… because this body of mine did what it needed to do to keep me moving. Even when I couldn’t feed or water it. Even when I ran as fast and far as I could every single day to ease the anxiety that ate me alive. Even when sleep wasn’t a thing we did without sleeping pills. My body kept me moving. My body kept me alive when I didn’t have what it took to do it myself.
But what I didn’t recognize is that everything shifted in that single moment when I heard the news. “Cracking open” is something we only kind of understand until we really know it for ourselves. Cracking open is life, heart, mind, and soul altering. Cracking open forces all that isn’t meant to be to shake loose from our selves and our lives. Cracking open shifts the ground beneath our feet.
And when the ground shifts beneath your feet, your center of gravity shifts with it. Even though I was unsteady and off kilter, even though I could see there was no way for me to continue down the path I’d started out on, I kept resisting the pull. It was all I could do to put one foot in front of the other, and so I did my best to stay the course. Stick to the plan. Make it work.
But if I’m honest I’ll tell you it hasn’t been working.
Not even a little bit.
So, I’m taking my feet off the wall.
Truth be told I already took them off and am free falling to where I’m supposed to be. I let go of my grip, stopped worrying about the plan and the things that will fail and fall apart on the way down. I took my feet off the wall and I’m letting the Universe pull me to exactly where I’m supposed to be.
This is the part where you want to hear how amazing it is.
How suddenly I made all the monies doing all the awesome things my heart desires. How I rode off into the sunset with rainbows and unicorns and fireworks all around. How taking your feet off the wall is a little scary but it all works out in the end and you live happily ever after in the nice vacation house on the beach while multiple six figure launches fill your bank account.
I would like to tell you that, I really would.
But the truth is, taking your feet off the wall is scary. as. hell.
Taking your feet off the wall looks like watching everything you’ve worked so hard to build fall from your hands and vanish more quickly than you ever imagined a thing could disappear. Like watching the house you built burn to the ground without even reaching for the fire extinguisher. It feels like tumbling around in the dark, all twisted and upside down with no idea which way is up. It feels like your stomach is in your throat and you can’t really breathe at times.
That said, taking your feet off the wall also looks like finding alignment in your voice, life, relationships, and work at a rapid pace. It looks like clarity and divine downloads happening with every single breath.
Because while you may feel all turned around, you’ve never been more guided and supported than in the heart stopping moments that come with free falling. Because you’re no longer resisting and trying to control… you’re simply letting “gravity” (aka God, the Universe, your intuition, etc.) pull you to exactly where you need to be so that you can shimmy along with more ease and joy.
I don’t have the happy ending story for you yet.
But it’s coming, that I know for sure.
Even if it means more of my life and work need to burn to the ground first. Even if it means more people and things that no longer fit need to fall away. Even if it means more heartbreaking moments of cracking further and further open as I tumble into the unknown. Even if my landing is far from graceful and leaves me with bruises and broken ribs.
There is nothing greater than alignment with yourself, your relationships, and your work. And that’s all that can happen when you take your feet off the wall and allow yourself to be guided to where you need to be. So I’m sharing where I’m at in case you need to take your feet off the wall too. Because I know it’s scary and had I not had that perfect metaphor moment, I’m not sure I would have found the strength to just let go and start free falling.
Everything is upside down and up in the air and I’ve never felt more confident in my decision. So if you need some support in taking your feet off the wall, know that I’m right here with you. I know. I get it. I believe in you.