I grew up skipping stones.
Hunting along the shore for a flat, almost triangular shaped rock or a broken seashell that I could propel out into the ocean. Crouching low, swinging the arm around from the elbow, a flick of the wrist and the rock was propelled; spinning as it would leave my first finger. The rock would touch the surface of the water between waves, launching back into the air and touching another spot, flying and touching, losing momentum with distance between flights shortened, until at last surrendering to gravity. The rock would be lost below the surface.
I skip stones in every part of my life.
I spend time on the shores of thoughts and ideas; hunting, watching, walking up and down the same but different avenues looking for that perfect stone. I have tried out 19 different professions, countless styles of yoga classes, relationships, bicycles and cities. I have held some amazing stones along this path, and learned that there are more things to learn and less things that I do not want to know about. I have learned how to love, to be loved, to let go, to push through the snow and broken bones, to rise up on my own two feet and fall over backwards onto my own hands. I have learned that sweat tastes sweet with a beer and a homegrown tomato.
Holding these stones in my hands and knowing the potential it has to take flight; giving it a purpose, if only for a moment, is my character. Brushing the sand off of the stone between my fingers and ensuring its delicate flight. I prepare; it prepares.
Sometimes I hold onto these stones for a while, tucking them into a jacket pocket because I am not ready to let that one go, like holding onto an idea. At certain times the stone is ready to be launched the moment I have it in my fingertips.
Sometimes I am the stone.
Sometimes I am propelled forward from someones fingertips, launching with potential energy. I fly out into the world, touch and move on, touch and move on, never slipping below the surface. Tossing and turning beneath the waves, moving fluidly with the currents. Under the sea, like a tune sung in The Little Mermaid, things are better.
I was convinced for years that my biggest fear was drowning, holding onto the stone and going under with it. But I am starting to understand that I am not afraid of drowning, of going under: I am afraid of succeeding, of actually making it all the way. I am afraid of getting to the bottom where I can plant roots and grow up.
Somewhere in the middle I hold back, I retreat, I give less of myself. I reserve energy preparing to give it to the next stone, the next idea, relationship, or job, rather than seeing this stone to the end and going deep.
I am my biggest obstacle standing in my own way.
I know from experience that when I do surrender and slip under with faith that I do not drown, that I taste the sweetest victory. So why am I still looking out, afraid of succeeding?
Possibly because from the surface it looks like drowning.
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Assistant Ed: Meagan Edmondson/Ed: Sara Crolick