“Sometimes you gotta fly away Sit on a precipice in silence Settle your breath Find another source and breathe again.”

I found these words on a friend’s post. I didn’t ask her what she was talking about or what she meant by these words.

But the idea of sitting on a precipice in silence struck a chord with me.

What it made me think of was a time during my early teens when my family was holidaying in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney. We’d had many holidays there during the then May school holidays. Long walks were a feature of our family holidays and this year we went on a long walk, over 8 kilometres, to the Ruined Castle, an outcrop of rock in the Jamison Valley. The top of each outcrop is about a metre across and was reached by some careful climbing. It was both exhilarating and scary to sit right in the middle of a pinnacle of rock and look out across the valley. I made sure I sat right in the middle because I was none too keen about falling down the other side.

There is something about sitting with what frightens you. Often we choose to run or hide from the scary things, play the ostrich and stick our heads in the sand, hoping that what has frightened us will go away. But there is something so much better about being able to sit still and face the edge over which life threatens to tip us. Up there, on the edge, as my friend expressed, there is place to breathe, clearly and slowly. To perhaps exhale all the fear that has been building, to breathe in the sweetness of the challenge, the new thing that has confronted us. There is space too to let our feet dangle into emptiness, to feel the freedom of space around us, but with our butts firmly on the ground.

I wasn’t that brave as a teenager. I sat in the middle of the rock, and just looked. Perhaps now, having lived life a bit more and faced a few precipices of my own, I might let me feet dangle, perhaps even swing them to and fro, caught in the sweetness of a new vistas opening up, allowing the remnants of all that troubles me to drift away on the wind.

So thanks my friend Meron, for your words that triggered these thoughts of mine.

Sit quietly, breathe and be made new.

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