Taking the “Big Leap”

I have this friend… But seriously, I do. She is an amazingly dynamic woman who came from humble beginnings and has done quite well for herself, not only financially but […]

July 30, 2010 // Tracy Shaffer // No Comments //

I have this friend… But seriously, I do. She is an amazingly dynamic woman who came from humble beginnings and has done quite well for herself, not only financially but in the influence and impact she’s made on her community. Beautiful, charming and intelligent, when she recommends something to me I take it seriously. Earlier this month I returned from my ten days in Telluride to find a package on my doorstep with a keen and insightful little tome inside called “The Big Leap” by Gay Hendricks. I walk a tightrope between hope and cynicism where self-help subjects are concerned, most likely due to my LA years, watching people spend more time figuring out how to be themselves than they do being it. I am impatient in areas of my nature, Job in others, so when an author is able to cut to the chase in a “How to be Me”, I am grateful. What I’ve found in “The Big Leap” appeals to my Job-less side: just give me the concept and let me apply it. Gay Hendricks lays out some very simple questions that have no simple answers and then without over-explaining himself, lets me come up with them for myself. Most effective.
Three big ideas jump out at me in my Gay Hendricks experience so far: How much good am I willing to allow in my life? What’s holding me back? and most interesting, What is it that I do best?

Haven’t you noticed that when you’re engaged in discovering a new paradigm the world steps up to reveal it to you? Mostly through your friends. Seems since I’ve taken the leap, there have been a flurry of phone calls and conversations illustrating the hidden fears that hold us back: the friend whose locked in a loveless marriage, the business pal who can’t seem to get it off the ground, the ex-lover still longing to chuck it all and explore the world, stories I’ve heard many times now fall on acute ears. I ask them, as I ask myself “What’s holding you back?” and I remember every scary moment in my life has lead me to the precipice of my fear. On more than one occasion I’ve found myself back at the same damn ledge, unwilling. It is only when I’ve taken the leap that I’ve progressed, like Super Mario, to the higher level.
As I focus on preparing my play (w)Hole for production this October, I am in the midst of a final (well, maybe semi-final) draft of the script. These questions roll through the soundtrack of my brain leading me not only to a deeper understanding of the story I’m trying to tell, but to a level of courage I’ve here-to-fore been unwilling to speak from.
Writing, when done well, is a balance of the universal and the masterfully hidden personal, but when your story is told in the 3-D of theatre autobiographical comparisons are frequently imposed upon the playwright. Fair enough I guess, even if only partially true. It’s not that you’d think I was one of my characters which scares me, it is that I would be unclear in my execution of the play’s intent. And so I leap. And land at that third question, knowing I must allow it to inform me.
Jump my friend, jump.


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