What is fear?
Why do we have it?
How do we get passed it?
Last year, my husband and I were at an event that included a silent auction. One of the prizes was skydiving for 2. The starting bid was $80.00. I told Bill that I thought we needed to do this. He didn’t really agree, but went along with me anyway. I told him that we could bid up to $100. We put in the opening bid for $80. I kept checking as the night went on, but did not see anyone else outbid us. Apparently , I was the only crazy one in the room. I began to panic that I might actually have to do this. At the end of the night, my sister informed me that I had “won” the bid. I handed her $80 and she told me that it was $100. Apparently someone else did bid $90 and my husband followed my instructions and outbid them. When I asked him why he did that, his response was “you said you wanted to go to $100”. Of course, what he didn’t realize is that I had kind of changed my mind and I really hoped that someone else outbid us and we did not have to go.
So the universe wants me to jump out of a plane. Ok that is fine. The next day, my sister told me that she could not find the gift certificates. “YES!” I thought I don’t have to do it. Keep my money. It was for a great cause. She called back later to give me “the good news”, she found them. “yeah” I think (sarcastically)
So the event was last fall. We knew that we would not jump in the winter. We waited for Spring and Summer. Both such busy seasons that we just could not find the time…..Or didn’t really try to..
My quest to do this started a few years ago when two women that I know did this. I was really inspired by their courage to face their fear. Up until that time, I never had any interest in skydiving. I am not really sure I even have any interest in it now, but when they did it, I realized it was more symbolic than anything. This is something I need to do for personal growth and development. If I can jump out of a plane – I CAN DO ANYTHING!!!! Both Bill and I have a pretty significant fear of heights. Although people say skydiving is not the same, I tend to think that being 10,000 feet above the ground is pretty high!
The other day, I looked at the gift certificates and realized that they expire in November. So I thought, we need to do this. Last Friday, I called the company and spoke to a really nice woman that actually helped ease my nerves. She told me that her first jump was in 1960s – no tandem! She explained that people get a rush from jumping. I told her I don’t need a rush. Not really even looking for one. I explained that jumping is part of a personal development journey. I figure if I can jump out of a plane, I can pretty much do anything! She agreed and said that a lot of people do it for the same reason.
We laughed as I asked her about video and whether or not it would capture the vomit that was sure to occur. She also told me that one of the options included audio… I am not sure that I or anyone else will want to hear all of the profanity that will be used, as I float to the ground.
As we ended the call, I thanked her for putting me at ease and asked her what her name was. Her response, “Fran”. Are you kidding me? Well if that wasn’t my own universe telling me that I can do this, I don’t know what it was!!! So on Saturday, Bill and I scheduled our jump for the very next day. We were jumping out of a plane on Sunday.
Sunday morning –So as I look out the window at a gorgeous day and think this is the perfect weather for this. Today is the day that I realize that I can do anything! As the morning wore on, Bill had some misdirected anger over some very insignificant issues. As I asked him what was bothering him, he kept mentioning things that did not seem to stress out my fairly calm reasonable husband on any other normal day. Yet today, he was extremely moody. Hmm..
“What is wrong, ‘dear’?”
“We are running late. You are on the computer to long. Blah blah blah.”
“Well yeah that’s what is really bothering me.”
“Really?” I say with a smile “Do you think that maybe you are a little nervous that you are jumping out of a plane this afternoon?”
“Ok. Well maybe.”
So a little Reiki and a mini coaching session, to calm his nerves and I get my calm reasonable husband back.
Now if only I can get rid of this in pain in my neck and shoulder. I am sure it is my stress.. ….I am not feeling too nervous because my “friend” Fran from the universe had calmed me down, but damn – I can’t turn my neck. So we continue through our morning getting our weekly “chores” done. So that we can have lunch and relax before it is time to go.
As I was preparing lunch, the phone rang. It was about 2.5 hours before our jump.
“Hi we need to cancel you jump for today due to high winds.”
Are you kidding me? We are finally pumped. Have rushed through our “chores” and just about to take a shower… UGH!
Oh well now we wait until next week…. The universe has a plan, Just wish periodically she would share it with me. So now what to do with the rest of the day…
As the day rolled on, and I realized that we would have already jumped, I thought I would be a little relieved, but I am actually disappointed that it didn’t happen. I was actually looking forward to it. Now we have to wait an entire week. I will assume next week’s weather will be even better than today….
The following Saturday– So as the week has gone on, I had a little more anxiety about tomorrow’s jump. I think I have had too much time to think about it. Last week, I had not told too many people abut the jump. We booked it so quick, there really wasn’t much time. This week, I actually had time to tell people and see reactions. Most questioned, “Why?” It is hard to explain to people that I am doing something that I really have no interest in doing, but know that it will change my life. So 24 hours from now, I will be getting ready. I’m excited, nervous, scared, anxious, and have a sense of calm because I know I am supposed to do this…..
Look out below – I am coming down!
Sunday 8:00 AM – Two hours until our scheduled start time.. We will be there for a few hours as they review everything. Getting nervous… but excited…
So we arrived at the skydiving place and last week Bill was the nervous one, but today it seemed to be me. But I knew that I wanted to do it. We sat through a video of a lawyer basically telling us we could die, be disabled, disfigured etc.. and there is nothing that we can do about it because we are waiving all rights to sue them. This went on for 20 minutes. We signed our life away watched a video on how to jump and then waited for our names to be called.
They called our names, we suited up. I met my tandem instructor, Ian. He was cute. Three daughters, one of which was there to go get him lunch. She was probably twelve. Nice guy. So I thought, “he has a lot to live for”.
He asked, “Why I was doing this?”
I explained that we had won it and that we both had a fear of heights and that we thought this would help us overcome the fear. At this point, he said something that would change my life forever.
“You are not afraid of heights. You are afraid of falling.”
WOW!! That was a huge shift for me that made me realize that fear isn’t real. what we think we are afraid of is in fact probably not what we are truly afraid of..
After that conversation, I was getting excited. I was surprised that I was as excited as I was. He made sure that I was secure. We boarded the very crowded plane. Bill was going to jump first. I was second and everyone else to follow. I am not sure if it was good or bad to go first. Bill got to the open door and he looked scared, which made me afraid for him. He went. Everything happens so fast that you barely have time to even be concerned. We were next. Ian got me up counted to three and pushed me out the door. SHIT! I am skydiving.. when we were free falling, I had a little panic. It was hard to breathe. We were going fast and face was flapping in the breeze, once the parachute opened, we could see the ground below us. Beautiful yards. I could see Boston off in the distance. It was very peaceful. Nothing like I imagined.
I think the moral is that we work ourselves up to expect the worst and really what is so bad? I am a person that NEVER thought she would jump out of a plane, but for some reason over the last few years it became part of a personal development journey. I do not feel like my life has changed by jumping out of a plane. So what the experience taught is that anything that I fear is not real. Fear is made up of the things we hear. The things that we learn in our past. The things that we tell ourselves so that we don’t have to try new things.
Why do we let these things hold us back. Why do we listen to the stories? Why do we believe that the fear is real when in fact it is in our control. We can control whether or not we are fearful. Fear is not bad, but do we let fear hold us back? Why? Because it is an excuse to not move forward?! How often does fear hold you back from moving forward? From doing what you want to do?
As of today, I will no longer let that happen. Because part of me realized that fear is not real. It is something that we create to limit ourselves. I don’t even feel that different after doing it. Which tells me that I REALLY can do anything!
What are you afraid of? What can you do to move past it? When will you do it?