“He who refuses to embrace a unique opportunity loses the prize as surely as if he had failed.” -William James
I have been thinking all wrong and not even aware of it all these weeks in the fast changing pace of my winning company becoming more than just me. I have been trying to let go, an oxymoron as the trying is just another way of holding on. Still the shifts have been bittersweet and feeling more like loss than victory. Today I was given the grace of new eyes and the wisdom to realize that a shift forward is not a process of letting go of the past, it is an act of opening, a willingness to embrace what is to come. This is how change can confuse us. Without realizing it, we hold onto the past so tightly that our arms are too full, our heart is too heavy to embrace the promise of the present.
The act of embracing life as it changes is the root of freedom and the perspective we are blessed with as children. We learn to fear change as we age, but when life is simple and we live in the moment, change is an adventure. As this new perspective washed over me and actually ran through me under the skilled hands of a local energy therapist, the images of the Red Balloon, the brief award-winning children’s film by French filmmaker Albert Lamorisse filled my mind and spirit.
Although I have seen the film at least a half dozen times growing up, I can’t remember the last time the film occurred to me. There was something in the moment of opening embrace of the present ,which included embracing myself as I am and my thoughts went to small Pascal and his magic balloon. As for many of us, his was a magic that many didn’t believe in and some wanted to destroy. However, the final scenes of the film show us that the magic that we love, that makes us who we are can never be destroyed.
Today I was able to open my arms to embrace the changes that life is offering me. I felt buoyant, full of light and joy, being carried off with Pascal by all the balloons in the world. (If you watch the link above, watch til the end and you will see what I pictured). This is the grace and magic in embracing life, I think. It opens us not only to what is possible out there, but even more deeply to what is most true and beautiful in us.
I don’t know how long this graceful opening will light in my heart. I know that it is not something I can catch and hold like when I used to collect fireflies in a glass jar. For today, I am a butterfly and grateful to William Stafford’s ability to articulate:
“I embrace emerging experience.
I participate in discovery.
I am a butterfly.
I am not a butterfly collector.
I want the experience of the butterfly.”