Thursday, September 20, 2012

Throwing Caution to the Wind!

Me skydiving in May 2010
After a two year hiatus I decided to jump out of an airplane again. I had learned how to skydive in May 2010, jumped through the summer and into the fall, then stopped jumping that October. I really enjoyed skydiving and didn't intend to stop, but a few things coincided to keep me out of the air: A lack of gear to use, trying to save money, struggling to put in the time, and concern for how repeated jumping was treating my body (specifically neck and shoulders). I never said I quit skydiving. But as time went on the less likely it felt that I would get back into it. Something about that time off allowed fear to take over as the leading cause for not jumping. Naturally fear plays a role in such a sport and it was always present when I jumped. But as time went on between jumps it started to get the best of me.

One of the things that made me realize fear's grip on me was that it was showing up in other parts of my life. It wasn't just keeping me out of the sky but it reared it's ugly head every time my husband would jump. My husband, a professional skydiver and BASE jumper, was well into these sports when I met him and I thought I was fine with it. But a few months before we married he was on a skydiving trip in Dubai and my fear began to really show up. I guess I hadn't truly processed and examined it yet and now this was game time: we were about to walk down the aisle. It was at that time that I had to decide if I was really cut out to marry an extreme sports athlete. If I freaked out as much as I was then, how would I get through future trips and projects?

Now there is a value to having fear. In fact, many people say it keeps you alert and therefore keeps you alive. But my fear was debilitating me in my own life and making me miserable while watching my husband's life. I was afraid of him being away and doing risky activities. But my other option was letting go of the love of my life. How could I reconcile this? Luckily, I could turn to my dearly respected spiritual counselor and she helped me find the right questions to ask. The first step was to be brutally honest with myself.

My husband, Jhonathan Florez, in Dubai - February 2012

Would I be happier without him and his traveling and risk taking? The thought tormented me as I dealt with feelings of its reality.


Could I live with trip after trip of feeling this fear? Then that is when it happened: Something about acknowledging the "fear" immediately diffused it.

Suddenly I was not simply in fear, but I was recognizing a lapse in my faith. Since I know that we cannot begin to understand when and why life and death occur, I had a choice: Rather than choosing to not live a life that satisfies my soul for fear that it will be taken away, I began to choose to just live in the beauty of the present moment: a moment that is made up of pure love.

This was the beginning of disarming my fear. After our wedding, I made it through a few more of his trips. My husband went to Colombia for 3 weeks and did high altitude skydives, Peru for 10 days of highly technical BASE jumps and lots of jumping in between. Each trip got better. My fear was still present, but my faith allowed me to live and let him live. Rather than being afraid, I became interested. Not necessarily in jumping, but in living. What I saw my husband doing was living a life he loved and staying very true to his inner guidance.

Acrylic on paper shopping bag. 
So my interest in living brought me to write more and paint more. I also began to meditate more. I continued to practice yoga but what I found in my practice was that I had been missing the mark. In yoga, often less is more. While I knew this, I had not applied it to my life. So I began to take less yoga classes and, in turn, practice more yoga. All of this allowed me to tap into uncharted areas of myself and I began to truly hear my inner voice.

One day, this voice urged me to skydive. I was driving home from work with the windows down. The wind blew my hair and it was then that the urge took me over. That evening my husband was doing ground training with a skydiving student and I listened in. I told my him about my desire and decided if the urge continued for a few days I would consider jumping again.

Five days passed... did the desire remain? 
I started my day with a nice breakfast and fresh juice. I meditated and spent time with Divine Spirit. I then prayed and asked Divine Spirit if skydiving that day would serve my highest good. The answer was "yes". I then heard another familiar voice. This was the voice I had listened to for the past two years. Hearing it in such close proximity to the Divine Spirit was rather revealing. They sounded so different! One pure and peaceful. The other pushy and excitable. One rooted in the divinity. The other rooted in the mind. I felt so blessed in this moment, because distinguishing between the two voices was previously a challenge for me. But in this circumstance it was clear. While knowing the difference comes natural to some, it takes practice for others. It took practice for me. And I am so grateful for that practice. It only made me more confident in my decision to jump.

After my morning meditation I drove to the dropzone. My incredibly patient husband went through some jumping and landing procedures with me then a final gear check. He told me to manifest when I was ready. Yes, that is what it is called: when you want up get on a skydive load you go to an area (like a check in desk) called "Manifest".  This is where you give them a ticket and they tell you what plane you are on. So moments later, I grabbed our tickets and manifested into a purer version of myself. No longer paralyzed by fear. Ready to throw caution to the wind!

The whole ride up was beautiful. I hadn't felt that close to God in a while. So faithful. So loved. So alive. No longer numbed by fear, but open to it. The jump went perfect. My landing was smoother than it ever was two years prior. I have jumped a few more times since. I maintain that my goal is not the jump. My goal is to know myself and to know God. For me, at least right now, jumping is a part of that.

Watch my first two jumps back below!

Video taken by my husband Jhonathan Florez - September 7, 2012

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Your Time and Your Life Are Never Wasted

We all know that change is inevitable. But the way people deal with it varies quite a bit. Sometimes people jump in to change with both feet. Other times they don't. Instead they might resist or even get frightened by the new opportunity. One of the big reasons people resist growth and change in their life is that they are afraid to face the fact that they spent so much time holding themselves back up until this point.

Growth and personal evolution show up in many forms in a person's life: quitting a job, losing weight, getting out of a relationship, pursuing a new hobby, moving, traveling... the list goes on and on. When someone experiences change on the inside they begin to feel the urge to make changes on the outside. This inner growth spurs an external result.  Sometimes even when the person does not sense the internal shifts, their soul is beckoning a change and the changes show up in their life without their conscious permission. They might lose their job, begin a new relationship, get pregnant... again the list is endless. Whether it is consciously or unconsciously, our inner life creates our outer experiences. 

When someone puts off making a big change in their life the longer they wait to actually make the change the harder it is to do. They start to look at each missed opportunity as an assault on their worthiness and/or their ability. Also, the longer they wait the more they may start to feel a sense that they have wasted time and wasted part of their life. But the truth is, time and life are never wasted. Things happen just as they should. Even if you spent most of you life denying the voice of your True Self and are left to feel unfulfilled, or even if you are in the last years of your life before you discover your true passions and for the first time feel like you are truly living- nothing about your life was wasted. This was the time frame you and your soul worked out. There are people that may never think they were successful but they leave a breadth of work and a legacy that is from their soul. Would you say their life was wasted?
Do not let your fear that you have held yourself back for too long get in the way of your opportunity to make changes now. Live a life you want to live now. Get healthy now. Explore now. Love now. 

Through the perspective of your soul, none of your time was wasted. Your mind may never understand that. So stop waiting for it to understand.

Your soul (without the help of your mind) will make the most of any and every opportunity you give it: every heartache, every failure, every lazy day, every celebration. Your soul is the premier optimist and opportunist. In everything you do and everything you experience there is a lesson, a blessing or an opening for growth. Your first step is to simply start believing that. And even if you don't believe it right away, just be open to the message, be open to the possibility...

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Rejoice in the Success of Your Neighbor

There is an unspoken, but extremely common desire among humans. This desire is for other people to not be successful. When we talk about success here, the type of success in question may vary from person to person. For instance, while one person wishes others to not be successful in money another might wish others won't find success in love, career, hobbies, etc. This desire is more of an impulse and it is often very subtle. The offender may not even be able to recognize their offense. But this does not stop the fact that as humans we do not sincerely rejoice in the success of others nearly enough. Unless of course, we have already enjoyed a comparable success ourselves. 

(A Lott 2 Be Thankful 4)
"Why is this?" you might ask... It boils down to believing in two basic lies: inadequacy and limitation. Both of which are perceived boundaries keeping us away from achieving joy and success ourselves. 
Inadequacy- When someone else's triumph brings up our own sense of inadequacy or insecurities it is too painful for some of us to address. Instead these feelings get internalized and show up as us having an aversion to the successful person's joy. In more extreme cases the insecurity shows up as envy or jealousy.
Limitation- When one believes in limitation they might fall victim to thoughts such as, "if they are successful then that leaves less of the pie for me."  This belief is only present when the truth of abundance is not understood or the understanding is not fully developed.
We live in an abundant world. Rather than flowing with and recognizing one's own role in the infinite nature of the Universe, the prisoner of limitation and inadequacy succumbs to feelings of lack and separation. These feelings never feel good so why would anyone waste their life engaging with them? Unfortunately once a person gets into the pattern of feeling lack and separation they often get stuck. The walls of limitation build up around them, trap them and strengthen the separation. 

So how to get out? Do not let your feelings of lack take over! It takes a conscious effort and choice to rejoice in the bounty of another. Even if this bounty does not have your name on it, you can experience the joy of knowing it. Perhaps you get to enjoy it via your friend. Or perhaps you just witness their joy in it. Either way open yourself up. Remove the invisible blocks of isolation. Make yourself available to the loving, joyful, bountiful energy that is the creative force for all of your soul's desires.

(McCurry's Corner)
This subject is especially important now because we are in a time of great dissension and surrounded by polarization on the many stages of life. When you feel the polarization it is more important than ever to be conscious of where your energy is going. As the human race we benefit from working towards unity. As individuals we cannot force the rest of mankind to get with the program, but we can be aware of how our actions are creating unity or polarization. Rejoicing in the joy of our fellow humans (whether we have a close relationship with them or not) is one simple and fun step in bridging the gap between us. 

Even when we do not understand their joy, even when we would not have picked their lot, we shall pay attention to the sincere feelings evoked. Do not get caught up in the details, but rather get in line with the energy.


On the comment section below share an experience you have had where you of lived vicariously and joyfully through someone around you. How did this affect your quality of life?