Risk The Adventure [on DR Thursday]

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On Monday, I pulled out the Chicken-Marsala-rough-draft folio. I was searching for a rough concept sketch. It was an early-Chicken idea, a joke mostly, but I thought it would be a good choice, an encapsulation of the melange, for our anniversary week. In it, Chicken Marsala is a nascent angel en route to his very first assignment. He is in full resistance. His mentor angel is pushing him forward. She’s trying to convince him to that this first mission is ideal, a cake-walk, but he knows better. It’s a mess. He’s being assigned to an aging couple. Newlyweds. Two artists. Chicken screams, “But they’re BOTH artists!” The mentor-angel responds, “Get in there, tiger! They’re lucky to have you!”

How many times in life, in your moment of resistance, have you heard, “It’ll be good for you.” Translation: what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger. The problem with this bit-of-wisdom is that being killed is one of the options. In the face of hungry tiger, who doesn’t need a push!

I found the sketch of angel-Chicken but got lost looking through the hundreds of drafts and idea sketches in the folio. If you are looking for something to lift your spirits on a cold and bleak winter day, flipping through the Chicken folio is guaranteed to bring some sun and a smile. He became a festival of optimism. He jumps for the joy of jumping.

The  joy of jumping. That is a much better and more accurate encapsulation of the melange. It is not a story of survival or resistance. In fact, at this one year mark, by measures of survival, it makes no sense at all. Our original intention, making a living, has long ago given way to something more essential. We are doing it because we love doing it. We write for the joy of writing. By measures of joy, of vibrant living, nothing else makes sense.

We regularly slip off of rocks and find ourselves sitting in the water. It is the necessary risk for doing what we love. Life rule #1: Have the experience first; make meaning of the experience second. “Risk,” as Chicken has taught us, is just another word for “Play.” Jump. Welcome the adventure. And, see what happens.

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read Kerri’s blog post on RISK & ADVENTURE

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here’s the full panel

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Leap Or Show Up

734. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

My inner sociologist shared his notes with me. He tugged on his sweater and pushed his glasses back onto the bridge of his nose before positing that personal edges only come in two varieties. Both varieties, he asserts, fall under the single category of “where the known meets the unknown.” Just as the sea meets the shore, the known meets the unknown in a convergence of elements. He told me that it makes no difference whether you are a sea or shore dweller, the other place, the unknown place, marks the line between comfort and discomfort. It also marks the line between stasis and growth. Stay in the known and stagnation is a certainty. Put your toes in the water or your fins on the shore and you will learn something new. I nodded my head. I agree with his assertion.

He tapped his pen on his yellow pad (my inner sociologist eschews technology) as he knit his brow and told me that stepping across the line into the unknown defines the first variety of edge. He labeled this first variety of edge, “The Leaping Point.” Apparently we visit the leaping point many times before actually leaping. We know what we need to do long before doing it – yet we pretend that we don’t know what we need to do. He explained that the most common mistake we make is to think that the discomfort comes from stepping across the edge; it doesn’t. The discomfort comes before the step. The discomfort is what drives us to finally do the thing we know we need to do. The discomfort comes from delaying the step. The step is liberating. The step transforms the discomfort.

He cleared his throat before telling me the second variety of edge comes from facing the thing we fear the most: being seen (note: fulfilling your potential is a subset of being seen). Being seen is a mirror-action to the first variety of edge. In this variety, the step is not from the known into the unknown; it is a step from the unknown into the known. He explained that the unknown in this case is the accumulated clutter of who we think we “should be;” we reject who we are. And then, one day, when we can no longer sustain the mask, we have to pull the mask off and reveal who we really are. We have to step into who we know ourselves to be. The transformation is from unknown to known.

He smiled, pulling his glasses from his face, and said, “It is really quite elegant if you think about it. Leap or Show Up. Those are our only two edges.”