What an amazing journey I have just been on – skydiving for Breast Cancer Care WA. It was out of this world, literally.
And where do I start to describe how it was and what it meant for me? One thing I can say is that you are truly in your body and very mindful of what is happening to you.
All I know is that the initial fear I experienced only lasted a short time. Whereas when you receive devastating news it can last a lifetime. One thing I know is that it changes you forever.
As I was preparing to actually jump out or rather it was being prepared for me by Andy, my dive partner, I realised the enormity of what I was doing. Jumping into the unknown having no clue how it would feel, what exactly would happen and how would I feel. At least, I had made this choice, mad I know, however, I only had me to look at, no one else to point the finger at. However, when something happens to you, like an illness diagnosis, car accident, or news of a death of a loved one, there is no choice. You cannot turn back. You have to move forward. But how?
no blueprint to facing fear
There is no blueprint for this. Often there is no previous experience to draw on and even if there is you are different now, things have changed and you are in a different space. There will be things you can draw from immediately to use and there will still be new things to learn. Whereas if it is a new experience where do you start?
The fear I experienced was not only momentary and intense let me tell you, in addition, the G force literally takes your breath from you, it was also finite. I could see land below, even though it was and felt miles away. There was an end in sight. It was exciting, exhilarating, bearable, doable, and over in no time.
Yet, when your life is changed and turned upside down, like diving into cloud, there is no end in sight. Comparing it to the jump, you are fine hopping into the plane, feeling great, excited, nervous and exhilarated, life just carries on – you are just getting into a plane. How many times have we done this in our lives?
Then you topple out and it all changes, as it does when you get a diagnosis or bad news. There is initial shock and disorientation as you hurtle into space with nothing to hold on to, nothing to guide you but trust in the guy on your back with the parachute. No going back into the plane now (I had visions of being sucked up again and put back into place with a cup of tea, the cure all!). There is disbelief about what is happening. You switch off feeling overwhelmed. Questions come up – when, what, where and how.
something has changed
Then you land – back into reality, yet not. Something has changed. You have changed. You are on a new path. In this case a positive one without any hurdles to overcome. As I am still assimilating this experience, I will continue with this in my next blog.
I want to emphasise this is my own personal experience. And it took me back to two different traumas in my life and how they changed my life and helped my overcome some of my fears. Skydiving was an acknowledgement for all of us experiencing life in all its glory and challenges it provides us and how easily life can change.
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