“They said happiness was all about the control. But wasn’t it just as much about letting go?”
– Meghana Yerabati
They called him the artist of the void. He chased the exhilaration of the free-fall.
“Every void and drop seemed to beckon him to throw himself into it, with only a parachute to save him. If clouds or rainbows filled the void, so much the better, because he or others would usually be filming his performance, and the beauty of it—l’esthétique of his body curving and cavorting in space—was almost the most important thing. Foremost, though, was the extraordinary clearing and freeing of his mind.”
– An excerpt about Tancrède Melet, high-liner and circus performer, who died on January 5th, 2016
I close the magazine wondering if the French adventurer known for his theatrics in the sky was ever scared? Why the need to give oneself so completely to dangerous impulses? What magnetic pull is it that draws us to our guts rather than the familiar space of logic, rationality, even physics? Why the heady obsession with unknown depths, unconquered heights and unexplored possibilities?
It was never about being saved, was it? Only about the overpowering need to fall.
I shake my head disapprovingly. What crazy talk is this! This time it would be different, you see. I didn’t need my gut to tell me what to do because I had a plan. Neat little checkboxes categorized my life, to-do lists mapped trajectories onto a golden career plan. I was all set. All I needed to hear was go!
No great story ever stuck to a plan though, did it?
What I hadn’t known, now that I think back, was that I could make of life the greatest story that it could be. And great stories never happened to us when we were busy planning for special moments to come and knock on our doors, no. They didn’t happen if we kept searching for the right place and the right time, no. Not if we were waiting to be ready enough for life to happen to us, no. And they didn’t happen if we were afraid to toe the line of their idea of right. No!
Not because you always knew how to, and not because you know you need to do it… but because living was never about holding your breath. Take a shot. Great moments happen when you’re not afraid to find yourself short of breath- not afraid of the consequences of the eventual. They happened to you when you were breathless with excitement because life still found a way to steal your breath away.
They said happiness was all about the control. But wasn’t it just as much about letting go?
I dove in head first into a world of feeling that I never knew existed in a single moment. The air rushed past my ears with whispers of words uttered by everyone around me, my hands stretched out towards the stars even as I felt myself pass through the clouds. A heady dopamine rush blasted my senses like the surprising bite of crackers on my tongue. Thus stripped of thought and fight and history, I was all alone. I was vulnerable. Beyond the falling and the loss of control was a special stillness…is this what they call happiness?
I wondered if this was how it felt like when we were cradled in our mother’s wombs. I wondered why this was just as brief.
– Meghana Yerabati
Catch the other side of the story on Ambition
Cover designed by: Anshuman Das