Soaring Spiritually

The last few months I’ve not only made a physical change (I’ve lost over 20 pounds), but have made what me and father consider to be a spiritual change as well. Reading the Tao and trying to live accordingly has altered all my thought patterns and awareness with my outlook on life. This is just since February too. This is what led me to jump out of a plane strapped to a lovely gentleman named Jeremy yesterday. Proceeding this new enlightened state, I was never one of those people who always wanted to skydive or considered myself an adrenaline junkie (far from it actually). I just didn’t get the appeal of jumping out of a plane, plus I used my ‘fear’ of heights as an excuse for not wanting too. With my new thought pattern, however, I realized that these excuses and fear can often end of running your life. You’re not in control, but use fear covered up by excuses as a reason for not doing things in your life. My initial thought was that skydiving is out of character for myself. Where the hell does this idea come from and where are these invisible guidelines that I have to follow that tell me who I have to be. I’ve typically been ‘afraid’ of heights therefore that is crazy and something Brittany would never do. We often project these false-selfs to the world trying to be or portray someone who society defines us to be. And what happens is we end up missing opportunities. How terrible it would be going through life not doing things because we think it’s not ‘who we are’, I would have missed out on this whole experience. While we were waiting on Kyle to jump someone guy was asking why we did it and Brynda told him that this was the year of yes for me. Which I like. I find that by dropping my excuses and living without fear that I have been able to break down all kinds of boundaries and do all sorts of things that I would never have imagined myself doing (like moving into my ‘cabin’, hitch-hiking, flying to California solo, backpacking, even just my interactions and relationships are different with people than they were previously). So this brings me to skydiving, which I will admit is hard to write about because there really no words to describe it, it’s just something that you need to experience for yourself, but it is definitely one of the coolest things that I have ever done. We get to the site and have to wait for a while in hopes that the dark clouds will turn to sunny skies. Nature is on our side and eventually we are able to get suited up in our jumpsuits (which are optional, but I always like to look the part, like I know what I’m doing) and harnesses (oh and for the record I did this in my barefoot shoes-never do an activity without the Vibrams). We meet our tandem jump partners. A quick hello with Jeremy and introduction before we are soonily to strapped VERY closely together plummeting to the ground after jumping from a plane. We watch the first load go and as soon as they have landed safely we’re ushered onto the plane with the instructions, where straddle benches with our instructors behind us. While ascending we chat with the instructors, as they try to calm the nerves. Jeremy said that he only sweats when he’s nervous, as he is drenched in sweat, but he encourages me that he’s the one that should be nervous and not me (which I guess makes since, because he’s doing all the work, I am merely an accessory strapped to the front of him). I find that I don’t need calming, however. They laugh at me on the way up because I say I’m not thinking about it, but it’s the truth. I was trying not to anticipate the experience. I just wanted to let the jump BE and not try to over think and project what could or might happen (how would I know). As we get higher and higher I find my selfish to be beyond calm. I don’t think my heart rate even really accelerated. I took it in, looking around the cabin, checking out the view from outside. As we got closer to drop-time, Jeremy starts giving instructions (You’ll have to sit on my lap here as I strap us together, here you’ll need to put your goggles on, make sure to hold your shoulder harness until I tap you on the shoulder, wrap your legs around my but until the parachute lets out, etc). Still no nerves. The lights come on and it’s go time! We walk towards the front (the last pair to go), get to the door, and looking down at the edge I just feel ready to jump. We propel ourselves from the plane, free-falling for what seems like a while (although I know it’s only a few seconds). You here nothing but wind, but before I know it the parachute is released and we jerk up before beginning our descent at a much slower pace. Just easily soaring over Greensburg, fully able to here now and chatting away with this stranger, who I had just met, yet had this wonderful experience with. I feel completely care-free and relaxed, as Jeremy does all the work getting us down in the correct landing spot. I kick up my feet and we slide into our landing. He unhooks us and welcomes me to come again, but has to rush off because he has a another jump right away. So I’m left by myself to meander back to the tent; checks hurting from all the smiling I had done, prior to, during, and the one still glued to my face afterward. We all meet back together (I forgot to mention that I went with our Avon client Brynda, her co-workers Paul and Leana, and Paul’s son Kyle. Who all except for Brynda, were strangers to me before this experience, so it was a great opportunity to meet people who I may have never met if we hadn’t done this). All we can say is how cool it was. It all felt surreal, like we hadn’t just jumped from a plane. All of us expressing how it didn’t seem real, that we felt this sense of serenity and overall relaxation prior to and during the jump. Relishing in the whole experience, trying to decipher our favorite part, but ultimately that the whole thing is what made it exceptional. Sharing stories of our descents and flying through clouds, sensing the salt filling them. Instantly we agree that we would do it again in a heart beat. So I went from someone who considered skydivers whack jobs, to becoming one of those whack jobs that would be willing to do it repeatedly. Lesson from this experience is not to let fear and excuses run your life because you could miss out on some truly great experiences and from meeting some wonderful people. Take the leap and go after all your endeavors with full force without analyzing and just enjoy life and the experiences that it brings.

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