About a month ago, I finally went skydiving!
I’d been flirting with the idea for 30 years but it just never happened.
And then I got scared.
Around the winter holidays, my daughter started bugging us to go skydiving as a family.
I reluctantly agreed and we scheduled to go in January. Our reservation repeatedly got canceled due to bad weather. My daughter returned to college and I was off the hook!
As the months ticked by, I began to realize that I had to face this fear.
Could I jump out of an airplane and be present instead of feeling paralyzed?
By May, I was ready. My daughter came home again and this time, the weather cooperated.
It was a beautiful spring morning. We got to the airport hangar and began filling out pages of liability forms. I voluntarily signed my life away. Then they strapped me into a tandem harness and we all crawled into the plane.
I was determined to be fully present.
My instructor was knowledgeable and super easy going which helped me relax even more.
The plane took off and flew over the Indian River Lagoon, Sebastian Inlet and the central east coast of Florida. As I took in the gorgeous panorama, I realized that I had nothing to do. I was simply along for the ride. My only job was to enjoy.
I was the first one out of the plane.
I jumped and screamed until I remembered that it didn’t feel like I was falling. I stopped shouting and inhaled comfortably thorough my nose. I relaxed and lengthened my body into a “banana” as my instructor had told me. He tapped my shoulder and I opened my arms.
I looked up and around. The wind pummeled my face and body as we continued our free fall.
Before I new it, the parachute opened and we were floating in silence. “Welcome to my office,” I heard from behind me. I smiled. It was an exquisite view.
“I’m just going to loosen these straps around your arms.”
“No!” Even though the straps were cutting into me, I immediately feared I’d fall out.
“It’s okay,” he replied, his voice even and calm as he pulled the tabs.
Nothing happened and my chest and arms were much more comfortable.
Then he said he was going to do it for my legs.
Again I panicked. “I’m fine.” I replied, not caring that the straps were practically cutting off my circulation.
“I’m supposed to,” he answered.
My instinct was to pivot around, grab him and hold on. I was afraid that somehow the straps would fail and I’d plummet to the ground.
Again, nothing happened except that my legs felt so much better.
After floating a bit longer, he offered to let me hold on to the parachute handles.
“That’s okay,” I said. Again afraid something would go wrong.
Soon he was instructing me on how to land and the entire experience was over.
I’d done it.
Later, while talking about our respective jumps with my family, I realized that I was still scared. And what came up was my lack of trust.
- Trusting that the harness would support me.
- Trusting that the instructor really knew what he’s doing.
- Trusting that I was really safe in the Universe.
- Trusting that I wouldn’t die.
I’ve come a long way with my relationship with trust. I used to trust no one. I couldn’t even relax and let go while I meditated.
Now I trust people, situations, and God but certain things still trigger me. And that’s when I realize I have more work to do.
How can I really believe that I am safe?
When I reflect back on my life, I have always been provided for and protected. And skydiving was exactly the same. Nothing happened. I was perfectly safe and comfortable.
So really, it’s just an old mind habit.
If you feel it come up for you try these great reminders:
Inhale and come into the present moment.
After I jumped out of the plane and was initially frozen, I came back to awareness and realized I was not even experiencing a dropping sensation. Then I could breathe, relax and enjoy.
2. Use an Affirmation
One of my all time favorites is from Louise Hay. “I am safe in the Universe and all of life loves and supports me.” This was all I had to say to myself as my straps got loosened, right?
3. Keep Pushing Through the Fear
For decades I wouldn’t even try skydiving because I was scared something bad might happen. But for years, I lived so close to the airport in Sebastian that I could hear parachutes opening above me all day long. And they were safe. So I finally just had to walk myself through the irrational belief.
You are always bigger than your fear.
One of the reminders on my vision board is this: Be brave! I pass those words on to you.
Whatever it is that feels like it’s holding you back, it’s really just you. Jump in and do it anyway. And let me know how it goes! Tell me ONE thing you’ll do to push through your fear! Leave me a comment below! I’ll see you there.