Monday, August 19, 2013

Just Jump

Due to our location, we are only minutes away from mountains that are several miles high, waterfalls, natural pools, and extreme hiking trails. As a natural result, much of our free time is spent rock climbing, and hiking in the abundant natural playground around us.  On this particular day, we dropped our daughter off with the sitter, because we were doing a trail that was not so “kid friendly.” There was a group of 7 of us hiking along the trail on our way to go cliff jumping. Anyone who knows me, would say I am “adventurous”, “outgoing”, and “brave”..but what these same people do not know about me is that I am deathly afraid of heights, and thrill rides and activities such as roller coasters.  I absolutely love exercise and hiking, and even amateur rock-climbing and activities such as skiing, but when it comes to anything even remotely dangerous, I'm out!
  I cant tell you how much this bothers me, and what a betrayal it is of my character as someone who “just does it” in their life.  You want me to tell someone how I really feel even if they’ll hate me for it? I’m game. You want me to sing karaoke in front of 200 people doing a song I’ve never sung before? Count me in! You want me to move across country for that great promotion? I will pack my bags and be there in an instant… How can this same person be afraid of a rollercoaster? How can this same person be petrified about speeding on the highway?  It doesn’t make sense and it doesn’t fit into the character I want for my life as someone who “just does it” in life.  So the other day I decided to change all that. As we reached our destination of a beautiful natural 20 foot pool at the bottom of a waterfall in the mountains, I saw my enemy right before me: a large giant cliff.
The day was perfect, I had spent it working on my tan, kissing under the waterfalls, swimming for hours in the deep natural ponds, it was paradise. It would have been perfectly acceptable for me to say the day was as amazing as it could ever be, and to go home tired, a little sunburnt, and blissfully happy, but that wasn’t good enough for me. I knew today was the day I had to face my fear.
One by one, members of our group scaled the side of the mountain and made their way to the edge of the cliff where they dove off into the deep waters. Most of them had finished diving and were now sunbathing, by the time I got the courage to scale my way up to the cliff, The rocks were extremely hot and slick, one false move, one slip and I could easily be killed or seriously injured on the jagged rocks. I stayed looking forward.  By the time I reached the edge I was exhausted and petrified. I crawled my way to the edge and erected my body and I stood up straight looking down at the waters below.  My entire body was shaking, so much so, I didn’t even know how I was able to stand, and it didn’t even seem like my body would function enough to swim once I hit the waters I was shaking so hard.
I stood there shaking looking over the edge, with each passing minute it became harder to breathe, what had I gotten into? Why was I doing this? Maybe this just isn’t for me, and isn’t “My thing”, maybe I should just scale my way back down the cliff, and go home. A line of cliff jumpers started behind me, they had seen me standing there for nearly 30 minutes by this point. I told the man behind me to go ahead, and that I will go after him
“Oh no” he replied,” You have been saying you will jump for the past 30 minutes and haven’t done so, I do not trust you, I will go after you go.”
The people sunbathing at the rocks below called up to me “Just do it! Just count to 3 and walk off”
The man standing next to me, said the following “You know the water is plenty deep, you won’t reach bottom, it is safe.”
“yes I understand” I responded
“You understand, this is a petruding edge, you won’t hit any jagged edges as you jump?”
“Yes, I understand I responded, Im not worried about that, I know I will be fine if I jump.”
“then what is stopping you?” He asked
“Fear” I responded “irrational fear”
Saying it outloud, made it seem all the more absurd.
“Are you going to let fear stop you?” He asked
“think of how liberated you will feel once you reach the water, once you have overcome this fear”
“I know”  I responded, as I looked over the edge at the waters far below and went through a series of expletives in my mind. This was something I did NOT, let me repeat, did NOT want to do. But I was tired; I was tired of letting this fear define me.
Suddenly all the people on the rocks below started screaming and cheering for me “ You can do it!” and “go go go!”
I turned back, petrified, to the man behind me, he said “The crowd loves you, you’ve got to jump.”
I knew he was right, there was no way I was getting off of this cliff, any other way than by jumping off it right here, right now. I looked forward held my nose, and with a leap and a loud scream propelled my body off the cliff into the deep waters below. The water sucked me in like a vacuum, and as I emerged from my jump, I had no other emotion but elation.
 My body was still shaking, my heart was still beating a mile a minute, but I was blissfully happy, I felt liberated, I had done something I didn’t think I could ever do,  I had overcome my fear and was now on the other side of it. 

There are times in life when we are afraid, afraid to face an issue, afraid to be who we are, afraid to make the move; afraid to jump. Why even face these things? It is so much more peaceful and happy in the “comfort” zone, no shaking legs, no chattering teeth, no anxiety. But life BEGINS at the end of our comfort zone. There is a bliss, there is a happiness, there is a joy that can only come from jumping off that cliff, and emerging from the waters below.  It is with fear, it is with trembling, it is with resolve that our greatest destinies are shaped, you can see that destiny to its reality, or you can be happy, comfortable, and safe. You can live a good life in the comfort zone, a happy life.  But, there is a life on the other side, it is a little more uncertain, but it is a great life, a powerful life, a life that changes the world, and it can only be found, when you walk to the edge of the cliff, and despite all your fears, all your reservations, you put one foot in front of the other and “Just jump.”
"If it scares the sh** out of you, if your heart starts beating all over your body when you think of it, if you start to vibrate with energy from your head to your toes, you are on your Path...keep going." – cora poage