“…the most important part of the trapeze action was something called the dead spot. The dead spot comes “at the end of the swing…when the swinging bar stops moving in one direction and starts moving in the other…I think of the dead spot as that place between swings, when the performer just hangs at point zero before grabbing the next bar. It is the moment of nonaction and not knowing. The events of life offer all types of dead spots.” – D.E. Rizzetto
I recently experienced one of life’s offerings of a dead spot. In changing from one role to another, I found myself not being able to engage in my normal way of holding and catching the bars and was caught in midair; in that dead spot of not moving forward or backward.
It wasn’t until I had a series of tiny events build up and literally explode into one, that I established that I wasn’t floating in midair. I was holding on to both bars, dangling between the old and new and instead of the powder used on their hands by trapeze artists to make movements smoother, I had glue stuck to mine.
It’s human nature to focus on what we could lose or are about to lose when we experience change, regardless of whether we took part in the decision or not. It’s easier to give into the doubts and forget the reasons on why you made the decision in the first place. In those moments we grasp at whatever relief we can get and that normally means sitting in what we know, the comfort of what we know. Then when we forced out of this comfort zone because we’ve finally unglued ourselves from the bars, we’re in midair, hovering between old and new, the unknown.
And the unknown is a scary place to be. One way to protect ourselves is to get defensive and we all have different defense mechanisms. Mine is to always be prepared for the worst and that’s pretty much what I did. So I hovered while preparing. Hovering in this dead spot and seeing it for what it is; a moment of pause; we could either use that moment to get defensive or prepare for a positive learning opportunity – my choice already stated.
My learning during this particular dead spot, was seeing that I had not yet mastered resting in nonaction, my patience in not knowing was lacking, and the ability to keep busy still deeply needed to feed my insecurity in my abilities. My standard way of reacting under such change (to remain distant and indifferent and turn away from closeness as a way of self-preservation) did not work because I was in midair; already having let go of the bar. My usual ways no longer worked because they weren’t what was needed to grab the bar ahead of me.
The dead spot is an opportunity to be more present, to see what’s in front of us at that precise moment and in learning to deal with the dead spots as such, “we would also get to know ourselves in a way that opens us to whatever life brings our way”. – D.E. Rizzetto
The more we learn to recognise them as opportunities, the easier it becomes to settle into the nonaction for just that moment; to slow our reaction and accept everything as is.