Monday, August 1, 2011

Trust Fall

An old, dusty dream of mine was awakened after a thirty-five year nap. The dream was born when I was eighteen years old, soon after I graduated from high school. It appeared at a time when I realized I wanted to live an adventuresome life rather than an ordinary one. 

As I brainstormed experiences (which were essentially a Bucket List, long before that term became popular), skydiving was high on my list.  In spite of my having a great fear of danger, and in fact, even hesitant to ride on a roller coaster at an amusement park, I still longed to have thrilling experiences in life.  I'm not sure why or how, but something deep within my heart seemed to know my childish fears would some day disappear and I would meet this dream. 

Although the desire to skydive originally came from the source of a young woman’s thrill-seeking adventure, when it popped back into my consciousness a few years ago, there was a different source stimulating the desire. At that point in my life, well established in middle age, minus many of those old fears, and quite open to new challenging experiences, a skydive epitomized the opportunity and actually the challenge to feel complete trust. 

I realized what I needed was to experience surrender in my body and especially my spirit, trusting all is well, no matter how a situation may seem and no matter what the outcome may be. To me, this feeling of totally letting go, leaping into space and being at peace unconditionally, regardless of the outcome, was going to be my teacher. 

I also knew my trust fall would be an opportunity to experience complete peace, even when in the face of potential danger or harm. I longed to feel safe as if in the palm of God's hand, no matter where I was or what I happened to be doing.  

With so many elements of trust blending together, this skydive was intended to be a life changing experience. The intended change in my life would be to feel peace rather than fear, no matter what I happened to be facing. 

On a sunny, breezy Sunday morning in June, after prior research for a competently run skydive center, I showed up at OZ Homestay in northern Pennsylvania to finally live out this dream. After signing the waivers and learning what was required of me, to complete my free fall, I was ready. 

Prior to boarding the plane, I noticed I was feeling unusually calm and present. A feeling of complete peace filled me as the plane took off and climbed to an altitude of 10,000 feet. After about 20 minutes and reaching the optimal altitude, I received instruction to prepare for the jump. I followed the rehearsed routine of making my way to the open door and positioned myself at the edge of the plane with my legs dangling in the air. As I looked down there was no sign of earth beneath me. There was nothing to hold me up, yet I was not in fear and trusted all was well. 

I will never forget the feeling of surrender when I physically let go of the wing and fell away from the plane. In spite of being battered by wind during my explosive descent,the paradoxical feelings of calm and exhilaration filled me. Once the parachute opened, the free fall rush at 120 miles an hour shifted to quiet peace around me, matching what I felt within. 

Once I softly landed on the ground, I knew I had changed. My physical experience of complete surrender and trust rather than fear-based attempts of control, showed me this was possible in anything I choose to do .  .  . even when both feet are firmly planted on the ground. 

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