How I Find the Courage to Keep Jumping (Even Though the Net Never Catches Me)

“The future never comes. Life is always now.” ~Eckhart Tolle

“Jump, and the net will catch you.” “Leap, and the net will appear.”

This piece of writing is to make a case for the following argument: there is NO net.

Before I put forward my reasoning, please bear with me for a moment while my ego rattles off the times I have jumped (but the net never appeared).

  1. I quit my well-paid marketing role and traveled across the world to pursue a humanitarian dream job. I failed at the job interview and was jobless and in despair in a foreign land.
  2. I invested some of my savings into launching an online e-commerce site selling organic products but was diagnosed with blood cancer shortly after launch and had to give it up.
  3. I threw myself into the wellness industry in an attempt to heal my cancer. Nothing worked, and I ended up on the medication I was desperately trying to avoid.
  4. I poured my heart and soul into a memoir but have, so far, only received nice rejections from the publishing industry.

Okay, I’m glad that is off my chest.

Point number 4, my current life situation, has got me thinking about “the net.”

The writing of my memoir felt different to points 1, 2 and 3. The writing process was one in which there was no outcome attached to it. I simply sat down to write the longings and yearnings and realizations that came from within. Four years of writing from that place flowed, quite naturally, into a book. There was no thought of a net. I just had to write.

The net came later.

The net came when I had finished my memoir, and people told me to publish it.

The net came when I started researching the publishing industry and the how-tos and what-not-to-dos.

My research began to form a perception. That perception started to develop a belief. A belief that said: to be signed by a literary agent and traditional publisher means you “have made it.” You are literary success. That belief grew stronger with every industry blog I read and podcast I listened to. The ropes of belief grew thicker and intertwined and formed what I perceived to be a net. A net in the form of a book deal from one of the top five publishers.

My mind whirled and looped with the following thought: If I’m brave enough to share my story, if I jump, the net will catch me, I will get a book deal.

I believed that thought. And I was brave. I put myself out there. I jumped.

But, as I write, I have yet to be caught by any net.

My ego looks back up at points 1 to 4 and screams, “FAILURE! The net never catches me. Stay small!”

It is easy to get stuck in that stream of thought. That place is familiar. The is an almost comfort there. The ego blankets me with perceived safety—safety in the form of remaining small and quiet.

But then I remember there is another aspect of myself. A place beyond the ego and beyond even thought. It is my core. My essence. The truest, most authentic part of me. When I carve out time for silence, I remember that place. I bring awareness into the present (without hanging on the past or projecting into the future) and get still. When I do that, the thought of a net dissipates.

From this place, I see that the net was only a future concept. It was no more than a thought about something great that would happen in some distant time. The net was always only a thought about what success should look like: saving the world, a thriving business, healing from an incurable disease, and now a bestselling book.

But freedom was found beyond the thoughts about how life should be. And every day, I come home to that place, home to myself. I get pulled into ego. I come back. I get pulled into thought. I remember.

When my true nature aligns with the present moment, there is clarity in knowing what to do.

Some moments my children want to play. And sometimes, I feel called to send a pitch off to a literary agent. There is a sense of surrendering to whatever is in front of me. When I’m flowing with life, there is no net. Or more, the net is no longer a result but rather a deep trust that everything will happen as it should.

I have no idea how my book will be published. All I know is that if I keep coming back to the present moment, those seemingly minuscule steps pave the way for my soul to live out its true purpose: to bring awareness into the present and live life from that place.

There is no net. There are only small awakened steps. Some steps are ordinary. Some ask us to be excruciatingly vulnerable. It is the latter that can feel like a leap of faith into the ether. But I no longer see those moments as a leap.

Looking back, it was only ever one step, a simple stride on the path home to myself. Inch by vulnerable inch, moment by conscious moment, that is how I have come to feel whole. It is all perfect, even with a rejection letter to boot.

About Lara Charles

Lara Charles is an Australian writer and mother living in New Zealand with her husband and four children. Lara writes at the intersection of spirituality, motherhood, and modern life. Her work has been featured in national and international media outlets. Her first book, a memoir about the longing to know if there is more to life and the process of awakening amid everyday life, will be ready for publication in 2022. Read her reflections at laracharles.com.

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