On foot in Amritsar.

On foot in Amritsar.

Rumor had it India would challenge me, max out my sensory load, shake me to the core. And it did. The unexpected twist, however, was where India led me: To a deeper reflection on myself. In India, I came face to face with chaos, suffering, and insecurity, over and over, sometimes all at once. My limits? Transcended. My “I will never” list? Destroyed. I learned that, while my fears were undeniable, indulging in my anxiety was always a choice. India gifted me with a myriad of opportunities to let go, to take risks, to exceed my comfort zone . . . Ultimately, to exceed myself. 

At a performance of Cirque du Soleil’s Totem, my India experiences came flooding back.  While I sat there witnessing human beings at the pinnacle of physical fitness execute gravity-defying feats, tears of awe spilled out of my eyes. Over and over, the performers transcended the limits of what I thought humanly possible. Their most amazing moves required both faith in themselves and trust in others.   

If, like me, you have a nagging deep down, or a faint whisper nudging you out of conventional existence, heed it. Who might we be if we learned to let go, if we took bigger risks despite our fears, if we trusted others to catch us when we needed them to? Of course, chaos, suffering, insecurity, doubt– like the hard, unforgiving floor beneath the Cirque du Soleil performers– won’t disappear. But maybe, just maybe, we can learn how to soar above it anyway.

- Daphne Jenkins