Let me paint a scenario for you. You're sitting on a tightrope. It's a familiar rope, you know it well. But you're sitting in a place on it that you don't like being. It feels unstable no matter what position you try, and you haven't stood up on it in a while. You find moments of comfort where you are, but the tightrope is tense yet unsteady, and theres an underlying layer of uneasiness you can't seem to do anything about. The tightrope feels thinner than usual, and definitely tighter. You have lost the equilibrium you once had on this tightrope and are now sitting on it, unsure what to do.
At one point you were moving swiftly on it, agile and ready to juggle any need that came your way. Until, rather suddenly, a few juggling pins bombarded you out of nowhere. Just one missed catch threw everything off and created a spiral that caused you to drop all of your juggling pins. Whatever it was, it probably wasn't in your control, or maybe even your choice. Yet, here you are, sitting on a tightrope fidgeting your empty hands while the reality of your slump really sets in. It feels like ages since you knew what you were doing.
You can see other people on tightropes, too. And you can see you aren't alone, everyone is trying to balance themselves. Everyone's rope is different in length, width, height, making the conditions for each journey appear easier or more difficult. Some people have nothing to juggle, some are clearly juggling too much. But, you can't really tell what their tightrope is like without walking on it. You're the only one that knows the intricacies of your particular tightrope because you're the only one who's occupying it, and it's been that way for quite some time. Probably your whole life.
For some people, it looks very easy for them to walk back and forth on it every day, fulfilling their own needs, growing as people. A slip here and there doesn't phase them much. For others, their tightropes are almost always bouncing with different kinds of energy, like excitement, chaos or drama. Others just can't seem to get a grip, no matter how determined they are. Sometimes you have the opportunity to help others when they've lost their balance. You don't mind when your tightrope absorbs some of their unsteadiness and begins to sway. Besides, your tightrope hasn't been stable in a while anyway, so a few more shakes is hardly noticeable. You'd rather see their strength grow as they tiptoe and eventually get back to walking their tightrope with ease again.
Meanwhile, you're just sitting smack dab in the middle of yours, dangling your legs, maybe swaying it back and forth like a swing in an effort to feel playful. But all you really feel is stuck. Stuck inside your own mind and body. Frustrated that they won't cooperate. You know how to walk this tightrope, you've even done cartwheels on it before. You have confidence in a lot of scenarios, but somehow you can't figure out how to just get up and start moving again. Your tightrope has been put higher, a sign of your growth, but it will also to test you. You can feel it getting tenser every day that you don't have the courage to walk on it again. Instead you overthink every step.
Do you go to the left? The right? Either way, you get further away from one of the two sides. Which needs your attention and focus the most? You think back to every pin you were juggling before your crisis. It's very hard to juggle on a tightrope. How can you possibly start over? This is how you've found yourself paralyzed, making no progress at all. The tension in your tightrope is so high now that you imagine it snapping out from beneath you without warning. The higher it gets, the further you are afraid to fall should you take a wrong step. It's easier to find distractions in other tightropes instead of learning how to walk your own, but you know you can't do that forever. That tightrope represents your ability to be independent and navigate your life as your own person vs. the fear of being responsible for every step you take.
The tightrope wouldn't be as high as it is if you hadn't already succeeded at something. It's been laid before you like this for a reason. Not for you to sit and ponder how to approach it. The tension in the tightrope becomes even higher, at this point you've been in pain for longer than you realize. You have to do something. Anything.
You have two options; fall off the rope or stand up on it. You know this rope is not your enemy, so you don't want to leave it. You want to balance on it, so you do. You stand up very slowly on your tightrope, and maybe curl your toes around it for some security. As you trust your weight on the tightrope, the tension begins to release and offer slack. As you stand up completely, you notice that you see the path more clearly from that vantage point. You begin to turn yourself towards the direction of your priorities. You know if you look back that you could lose your balance again, so instead you take a deep breath and let go of the things that have drained your attention in the past. As you exhale, more tension is released from the rope and it becomes more bearable. You feel less fragile, and you stretch your arms freely. They aren't tied up in anything any longer. The freedom inspires you as you wear a genuine smile for the first time in ages.
There is an urge to rediscover yourself along this tightrope. You have the opportunity to shed the weight of personality traits or habits that hinder your ability to walk your tightrope. There are new patterns to experiment with, and new heights to reach. You are proud of the courage it took to stand up on your tightrope again. You lost sight of who you were when you were sitting still on that rope, and that's the root of your paralyzing fear. Who am I? You don't have a definite answer, but the further you navigate the tightrope, the greater your sense of purpose becomes. The stronger your balance becomes. The clearer your mind becomes. The deeper your appreciation for yourself becomes. You and that rope, you've been together this whole time. You learn to trust that it doesn't want you to fall. That tightrope, the one right beneath your own feet, has been trying to show you the way all along.