Releasing the Ballast...
In a conversation recently, the image of an old-fashioned hot air balloon came to me. The kind we see in The Wizard of Oz that brings Dorothy to the Emerald City; a woven basket tethered tenuously to this fragile orb, laden with bags of sand around its edges for ballast to control the rise and fall of this seemingly lighter than air machine.
We were talking about the desire to move or explore a new place, recognizing the plethora of all the things that weigh us down, even when those things seem to bring a sense of safety. I recognized in the gift of the image that many of the things that weigh me down feel like important things, some of which have been “tied to my basket” for a long, long time. I have wondered for some time about both the ways I have held on to them and whether they are mine to remain tied to?
The image kept unfolding for me as I considered what it would be like to cut some of these things loose. I realized that some of these (seemingly) important things, once gone, could not be retrieved, at least in the way I had been connected to them in the past. There was both a sense of celebration/relief and fear in this for me; one I’m still holding loosely as I consider the figurative knife in my hand that would release them.
I also came to the sense that, once gone, these things that have held me down – even in some ways helped me feel grounded – would free me to rise and move, more free and unbounded. I like that idea, and it gives me pause (read: fear) too. I am aware as I allow myself to glide with the image that this means I will need to let go of my sense or illusion of “control”. I will need to learn to trust “the wind” that now steers my direction. Will I give myself to the belief that this power now guiding my path will be one I can rest in, rely on, give myself over to? There is a part of me that says a resounding “Yes”, while another part of me – still fearful of the uncertainty of a predictable or specific destination – feels the strong “Uhh, well….?”
It is not lost on me that in several of the old languages from which we derive much of our literary meaning that words that describe ‘wind’ are also interpreted as ‘breath’ and/or ‘spirit’. from Hebrew, we have ruach, and from Greek, pnuema. Will I trust the wind, breath, spirit to carry me to a place I can trust, AND, am I ready to cut away those things that I believe keep me grounded and safe but may actually be holding me back?