Edges, or boundaries, show up over time throughout our various life domains – some are anticipated and some may take us completely by surprise. The type of edge that I am referring to is one that demarcates a boundary in your existing manner of moving through the world. An edge can serve to identify and ultimately facilitate movement through an enormous challenge, or it can temporarily immobilize you. One of my greatest edges in life occurred while on a trek through parts of
and Peru several years ago. It was
simultaneously my greatest physical/psychological challenge and my greatest
gift. I have already provided details of meeting this edge in my previous post titled
Pema Chodron, an American Buddhist Nun and one of my favorite wise-women writes about the construct of “The Edge” in the following story titled “Meeting Your Edge,” from her book The Wisdom of No Escape.
“There is a story about a group of people climbing to the top of a mountain. It turns out it's pretty steep, and as soon as they get up to a certain height, a couple of people look down and see how far it is, and they completely freeze; they had come up against their edge and they couldn't go beyond it. The fear was so great that they couldn't move. Other people tripped on ahead, laughing and talking, but as the climb got steeper and more scary, more people began to get scared and freeze. All the way up this mountain there were places where people met their edge and just froze and couldn't go any farther. The people who made it to the top looked out and were very happy to have made it to the top.
The moral of the story is that it really doesn't make any difference where you meet your edge; just meeting it is the point. Life is a whole journey of meeting your edge again and again. That's where you're challenged; that's where, if you're a person who wants to live, you start to ask yourself questions like, "Now, why am I so scared? What is it that I don't want to see? Why can't I go any further than this?" The people who got to the top were not the heroes of the day. It's just that they weren't afraid of heights; they are going to meet their edge somewhere else. The ones who froze at the bottom were not the losers. They simply stopped first and so their lesson came earlier than the others. However, sooner or later everybody meets his or her edge.”
Edges can be incredible gifts in our lives. Where have you met and/or moved through an “Edge” in your life?