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


  1. You are so honest, and that's refreshing! Great story. I'm so glad you conquerrd fear in one of the most literal ways. for you and your marriage..powerful stuff!

  2. Thanks Ange! There were a few things in here that I had to ask myself, "am I really sharing this with everyone?" But honesty is so important in helping people and relating to others. I appreciate your support!

  3. Beautiful words of honesty. While there is no-way I would jump out of a plane, I certainly can embrace your courage and the challenge inside yourself that you took on head-first. Somehow your words help me to take a deeper look within. Thank you for sharing. Peace - Kim