In the previous blog, “A Way To Start Living Instead Of Just Breathing,” I shared how I decided to start living my life instead of checking off a list of things to do. Shortly after I made that decision, I decided to go tandem sky diving.
As I researched the different sky diving companies in my area, the realization came to me that I could actually die doing this! I asked myself, am I willing to put my life in the hands of a stranger? “Yes,” was certainly the answer, because fear was not going to prevent me from completely living my life. I said to myself, “It’s a tandem jump with an expert instructor; people do this all the time; I may not be comfortable trusting, but I will do it anyway, and I’m excitedly looking forward to feeling the sensation of, ‘Oh sh*t!’” After becoming very clear about my intention and comfortable with the concept of actually jumping out of an airplane, I reached out to a few friends, to see if they were interested in sky diving. Then I booked the experience for all of us.
The small group I ended up with decided to dedicate a whole day to our sky diving experience. The sky diving compound I selected had a restaurant; swimming pool; basketball court; pool tables; general store; a great spectator seating area; and even an alternative: indoor sky diving. We arrived early so I could make introductions and catch up with my friends from out of town.
Some of us started the morning with indoor sky diving. We had a blast! Big grins were on our faces as we were getting the hang of what to do with our bodies for a successful indoor sky dive. When we were finished, it was time for some of us to go jump out of an actual airplane!
The preparation to jump out of a plane included getting into our outfits and learning what to expect throughout the entire diving process. My comfort level of trusting a stranger was getting higher and higher as I met and interacted with the instructor I was going to be attached to. I was ready to do this! The preparation time was much longer than I expected. I was grateful there were a lot of activities for those who were waiting, including the amazing five-year-old who participated in the indoor sky diving.
May I remind you, I was looking forward to feeling the sensation of “Oh sh*t?” Well, it didn’t happen when I was preparing to jump. I thought to myself, maybe it will hit me when we get on the plane and there is no turning back.
We walked to the plane. As I was sitting on the bench waiting to board the plane, I noticed my excitement was building, but there was no sign of fear. Then, we all boarded the plane. Now there was no turning back! As the plane started climbing higher and higher, I was even more excited, but still no fear or the sensation of “Oh sh*t!” I thought to myself, “Maybe it will hit me when I’m about to jump.”
Once we reached the correct elevation, people started jumping out of the plane. The next thing I knew, it was my turn! I was standing at the edge of the plane; I felt a surge of freedom to just let go. Then, I jumped! It was freeing, still no fear or sensation of “Oh sh*t.” I thought it might come when the parachute opens. I enjoyed the feeling of WOW; the fall; the amazing view; the sight of the other jumpers falling below me and the pressure of air on my face and body. I was fully present. There was nothing going on in my head other than just this experience. It was AMAZING!
All of a sudden the chute opened. I felt a slight pressure of the straps on my thighs, it was nothing like I expected. I was expecting when the chute opened, there was going to be a big jerk, like I saw in the movies. As I was floating, the air felt gentle. I was able to clearly see the view and the other jumpers’ parachutes floating below me. As I was floating, I could I feel myself coming back to reality. Now I noticed I could easily hear my instructor. My, curiosity grew as I began guessing what the various structures were on the ground below. It was purely relaxing, still no fear or sensation of “Oh sh*t.” “Maybe it will hit me when I land,” I thought; “after all, that’s when my biggest personal part in this whole show begins.
I could clearly see the beautiful patch of green grass that was to be our landing strip, growing bigger and closer. Suddenly, I was jolted back into reality, because the thought hit me that I needed to lift my legs up as if I was sitting on the ground, in order for us to land properly. Then, before I knew it, I was gently sitting on the ground as my instructor quickly unfastened me, just before he went sailing over me as the open chute carried him down the landing strip. My excitement was the greatest I have ever experienced. The world was good and – even sitting there on the ground — I felt like I was floating on cloud nine. Still no “Oh sh*t!”
Here is what I learned:
• At first, I was disappointed I didn’t feel the sensation of “Oh sh*t!” Then I realized, the disappointment didn’t take over or interfere with the overall experience. Although, I was curious, why didn’t I get that sensation? Was it because I was at peace or because I was present in the experience? I don’t know the answer. Several years and several exciting experiences later, I still haven’t had that sensation.
• I was grateful I was able to be present and aware of my surroundings and feelings during the experience.
• Indoor and outdoor sky diving were nothing alike, although they were both wonderful.
• I didn’t want to invest in learning how to sky dive solo, but I would definitely sky dive tandem again! I would do it for myself, and I promised the five-year-old that, when she turns eighteen, I will jump out of a plane with her.
As I reflect on this experience, I have a compelling question for you. When you think of an experience you have had, were you able to be present in the moment? Take it all in and feel the impact? If not, what prevented you from being fully present in the moment?
Would you like to be more present in your experiences, with other people in your life or just with yourself? I would like to assist you in that journey, email@example.com