When was the last time you took a leap of faith?
I mean a real leap of faith.
The kind that makes your cells sing.
And makes the earth not only shake with you – but applaud you with little trails of generously sprinkled signs that you are on the right track.
Where you weep with gratitude, vibrate with fear, and explode with the joy of being you – all simultaneously?
And you feel more alive than you have ever, ever felt.
And you know that yes, on this day, because of that leap you took – your game changed forever.
And it was you, in all of your clumsy, provocative, raw womanly glory, changing your game and creating a new future for yourself.
Most of us were never really taught what a leap of faith even means.
Or how to do it.
Because women that take leaps of faith are the women who step outside of the conventional, and recreate the world.
They are the change makers. The ones who see the future, and recreate the future, for all of us. And they are the ones who have lives that are really and truly worth living.
Sometimes they make headlines.
Jane Goodall, in 1957, a simple secretary, of 23, with no degree, chose to go and live in the jungles of Tanzania to research chimpanzees. She became the world’s foremost expert on chimpanzees, running her own institute.
Maya Angelou, who had been born to poverty and abuse, worked as a fry cook, a prostitute, and a nightclub dancer – somehow found the courage to write her first book, then many more, and ended up being honored by reading a poem at Obama’s inauguration and earning 50 honorary degrees in her lifetime.
And sometimes they quietly change their world, and we all benefit.
All the unknown but miraculous women who make tiny incremental leaps of faith towards love. Or creative expression.
Or standing for what they know is right in the face of dissension.
Becoming a turned on, tuned in, self-respecting, fully embodied woman is not a given.
Heartbreakingly, in most corners of this world it is not even an option.
Nor is it a simple task.
It requires reflection.
Tapping into one’s truth.
Standing for the sweetest, most tender shoots of one’s own practically unnameable desires.
And, just like all aspects of figuring out how to be human in the best possible way, a leap of faith is not something you should do just once in your life. It’s actually something you can get rather good at. Once you have leapt once, you can leap again and again, bigger and bolder with every go. A leap of faith requires practice.
Most of us are taught to have faith in something outside of ourselves.
We’re encouraged to put all of our confidence or trust in something or someone else. Our parents, our husband, our boss. A political party.
We’re taught to believe that if you go to a good college and get a degree, you can get a job. Or if you follow all the doctrines of your church, your life will be worth more. Or if you play by the rules in your corporate job you will have career advancement and be able to retire at 65 with a pension.
This kind of ‘faith’ is not often the kind that brings a woman further and deeper inside her love affair with herself.
It doesn’t make her feel overwhelmed with the joy of being alive. If anything, it kind of kills off her life force. Because she knows she has compromised on her truth.
My parents’ greatest dream for me was that one day I would become a nurse in my brother’s medical practice, work part-time, and raise babies with my husband.
Instead, I chose a different kind of faith. Rather than shrink myself to follow their limitations,
I took a leap of faith. (Which is no picnic, either, at first.)
Choosing to choose myself, above their expectations, was my first leap.
How was I supposed to believe in myself when I had no track record?
How was I supposed to believe in myself when no one else did – in fact everyone else seemed convinced that the last place that I should look for my next steps was inside my own heart and soul?
How could I leap when I was not seeing very many women making the choice to choose themselves over the expectations of others?
A leap of faith is a requirement for a woman who wants to truly live her destiny.
It is a requirement for a woman who wants to choose her own aliveness and leave her mark on the world.
It’s important to recognize that many men have been taking leaps of faith for years. They don’t feel the need, as we do, to double and triple check our work and be absolutely certain of our own qualifications before taking the next steps.
As Elizabeth Gilbert says in her wonderful book, Big Magic,
“Too many women still seem to believe that they are not allowed to put themselves forward at all, until both they and their work are perfect and beyond criticism. Meanwhile, putting forth work that is far from perfect rarely stops men from participating in the global cultural conversation. Just sayin’ . . . sometimes, strangely enough, it works – a man who seems not ready for the task, not good enough for the task, somehow grows immediately into his potential through the wild leap of faith itself. I only wish more women would risk these same kinds of wild leaps.”
She goes on to cite the way we have been treated in all of human history as the reason that women do not take big risks, like men. And concludes, “…we women must break this habit in ourselves – and we are the only ones who can break it.”
She is right; we must break this habit. And develop a new one – a new habit which is about taking our place on the world’s stage and as a vibrant, fully expressed creatrix of our own lives.
We can do this.
In fact, we must do this.
We do not have time to waste in re-digging the trenches of other people’s expectations.
The true nature of a woman does not ignite until she has made her desires her north star, and has started off with teeny awkward leaps, in the direction of her dreams.
Leaps of faith do not have to be so graceful. The important thing is to just jump, vault, or skip. A little. Bit by bit. Even a hop of faith is awesome.
We will gain momentum, and game, with practice.
Instead of counting on one another to compromise, let’s count on one another to leap, with faith, in the direction of our dreams.
You know, deep inside, every cell of you wants to.
In the comments below, I want to know:
- Where in your life are you on the precipice of a leap of faith?
- How would you leap, if you had the courage and confidence that everything would work out?
- When have you taken a leap of faith before, and how did it go?
You have an opportunity to take a leap of faith right now. Be it a tiny leap or a massive game-changing leap – you have the choice to trust and reach for your desire, right now.
We all do.