A few years ago, I went skydiving in Oregon.
Sitting on the edge of the plane at 13,000 feet just before a full 60-second free fall was completely terrifying. I knew I wanted to do it, but I didn't have any idea what it would feel like or how I would like it.
There were certainly no guarantees.
In fact, before I was allowed on the plane, I had to sign many, many documents stating that I might die. Or that the prevention of my death could not be guaranteed. Again and again, I initialed and signed.
Why, again? It's an excellent question.
I wanted to have the experience. I wanted the adventure. The thrill. To feel alive. To embrace the uncertainty.
I let myself "gently fall" out of the plane (of course I had a professional strapped to me!) and for a few seconds it felt like I was falling. My stomach was in my throat. But when I met my maximum speed, I wasn't prepared for the feeling that I was flying.
I LOVED that 60-second free fall. I took in the scenery, Mount Hood, the sight of the earth, the feeling of my body high in the sky. I was SO in the PRESENT MOMENT.
I am NOT usually a risk taker. I am usually the calculated one. The one who doesn't like to make a step or a move until I can see clearly where I'll land next.
But there are times in life when a calculated risk is necessary if you want to live a full, authentic, joy-filled life.
Taking a leap in life is usually more metaphor than the literal jumping out of a plane. But it's a great metaphor because it perfectly describes the process of living with uncertainty.
For me, taking a leap usually starts with a small feeling inside of me that something needs to shift. I can try to ignore it, but it will grow and start to beg for my attention until I can no longer NOT listen. This is a gift, really.
Because that small feeling is usually my intuition. My true nature. My Self. Asking me to jump.
Should I take that job half way across the country even if it terrifies me? Should I go back to school even if I fail? Do I really want to tell the person I'm dating that I love them even if they don't feel the same? Do I have the courage to visit my neighbor who just got a scary medical diagnosis? Is it time to retire and travel places I've always wanted to see? Do I really think I can write that book that has been whispering lines to me at night? Can I sing on stage even if my voice shakes? Should I let go of that person/relationship/friend I love so much because the love is not returned/healthy or kind? (sometimes the leap of letting go is the hardest of all...to my friends on the brink of letting go--I salute you.)
Only you know the answer that's best for you. But most of the time all we have is an educated guess . . . or as I like to say, we have to take a leap into uncertainty.
The beautiful thing about uncertainty is that there are no limits on what is possible.
Sure, that can work against us. But most of the time it works in our favor.
When you don't know enough about a situation to put definitions and parameters around it, you can't put limitations on it.
And that, my friends, is beautiful.
When I jumped out of that plane I knew I would feel like I was falling. But I had no context to understand how much I would love it. How it would transform my perception to make me feel like I was flying.
And that is how life works for us, sometimes, my friends. Sometimes you take the leap and you sit on the floor of your new home sobbing among boxes.
And sometimes you take the leap and you find yourself in a place you never thought to look.
More often, it's both.
There are never any guarantees. But you'll never know until you jump.
There is freedom waiting for you,
On the breezes of the sky,
And you ask "What if I fall?"
Oh, but my darling,
What if you fly?
Wishing wings for you all.