The photo is a brilliant piece of art by Yves Klein called “Leap into the Void.” By today’s standard the piece is not overly impressive. It could probably be photoshopped into existence by a ten year old with little effort. At the time that it was produced, it was revolutionary. It required vision and a willingness to try something new and different. The result is both a beautiful piece of art that doubles as a message and a gateway forward for the medium of photography. The “Leap Into the Void” represents a salto mortale. For those of us not fluent in Italian, including me, it means deadly jump or fateful/dangerous decision. Yves Klein was not hurt in the making of this photo. There were mattresses below when he jumped and a double exposure was used to remove them from the final piece. So his leap into the void was a safe one.
Our every day walking and running usually have one or both feet on the ground or not very far off. Leaping is not something that we’re asked to do very often. So it is uncomfortable to say the least and terrifying when the stakes are high. Leaps into the void don’t usually feel safe. There is not always padding below, literal or figurative. When we leap into the void, it usually comes with few assurances. It is just necessary to get to that place that is beyond the reach of a normal step. That is why we avoid them. They are beyond our comfort zone and the prospect of pain and injury looms very close. Often the leaps are not physical but mental or emotional. Especially when dealing with other people, we need to put ourselves out into the void because no one can read our thoughts. Saying the thing that’s inside of your head can be scary. The other person might not understand or be ready to hear it.
It’s definitely easier to play it safe. Keep your literal or figurative feet on the ground! It’s practical and predictable. No one will ever judge you because you were being sensible. You’re also going to miss out on so much of the experience that is just beyond that comfort zone. This is not a license to throw all caution to the wind. Far from it! Be discerning, leaping into every void will leave you bruised battered and eventually very disillusioned. However there are going to come those opportunities where the leap is warranted. The risk of the pain is worth it because the moment or circumstance is special. Unfortunately most of us are so used to our normal steps and hops that we’re not ready to leap when the time comes.
So my hope for you today is that you’re at least willing to consider taking leaps in the future and be ready when they come. Say it! Do it! Whatever IT is. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there when it feels right because that’s what living is all about. Our daily routines and safe spaces are a great form of padding for us to fall back on. However it is the leaps into the void that remind us that we are truly alive. To take a chance and not know is terrifying and exhilarating at the same time. It is not for the faint of heart! The sure thing is so much easier to justify. Leaping leaves you open to looking the fool and getting hurt. Why risk it? Because it might be worth it!
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