One of my favorite songs is Judas Priest’s Heading out to the Highway. I also love the video. Yes, I’m a bit of a tomboy. Anyway, the entire song is really inspirational. Early in the song, the lyrics state, “you get nothing for nothing, expect it when you’re backseat driving and your hands ain’t on the wheel,” and later, “I’m gonna do it my way, take a chance before I fall.” You really should just listen to the whole song. The gist of it is that we should fully engage in life without being afraid of failure; if we fall, we can bring ourselves back up again. We should take risks, perhaps safer ones than those portrayed in the video, so that we can realize our full human potential.
We live in a very superficial world. To cope, we design, construct, and reinforce artificial barriers to protect us from the dis-ease of making mistakes. By choosing not to fully experience and learn from our mistakes, we fail to build an immunity that is an integral part of our humanity. This immunity strengthens our resolve and enhances our understanding of self and others. We cannot be immune to failure; rather, our immunity allows us the space we need to be authentic and vulnerable with each other. Such immunity builds up by consistently challenging ourselves to take risks (intellectual, aesthetic, etc.) and by letting others know it is safe for them to do the same.
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – Anais Nin
That day came and went for me, over and over again for several years. The bud began to rot inside, starved from light and unable to grow.
This is one of the reasons why I recently left a relatively secure and stable job as an executive director so that I could launch an online school for my progressive friends around the world. That particular job was occupying too much of my intellectual and emotional space, distorting the boundaries and destroying the terrain.
At the same time, I felt like the queen of a complacent little island while the whole rest of the world raged on fire. I realized within my soul a burning desire to more meaningfully serve humanity. And so I lovingly descended from my precious throne, only to swim through uncertain waters and encounter red eyed rabid crocodiles whose greatest pleasure would be to eat me alive. With the island further and further from view, I risk being burned and consumed; drowned and eaten alive.
Goodbye, Family Connection. Hello world.