It sounds so cliché, but letting go has become like a ritual for me. It must happen consciously, and it must happen often. And there I was hanging on for all those years, thinking the more I could hold, the more I had.
On my thirtieth birthday my friends surprised me with a sky dive. It was a defining moment. If you have any desire at all to jump out of a plane, I couldn’t encourage it more. It was like time stood still and all the thoughts and worries that had blocked my view, peeled back. Layer upon layer those thoughts were removed until there was just a pure unadulterated silence that left my soul stripped, raw and timeless. And it all happened in the space of about five minutes. It was real. It has stayed with me. It left my mind empty, when before it was full.
I am an over-thinker, to the point where my friends pull me up on it. To the point where I end up so confused through over-analysis I find it hard to step back and see things for what they really are. I love time to myself, but I often don’t know when enough is enough – too much time and I start to pull my world apart. I lose perspective. Sometimes I find it hard to make decisions and move forward because I get so caught up analysing every option. I’m often exhausted before a decision is even made. It’s my reality. I over-process. I get distracted easily. I come up with new ideas all the time and I’m relentlessly passionate about pursuing them and then bang – onto the next thing… too much thought, not enough action.
So as the plane ascended, circling above the Coast, which has been my home for the past ten years, I decided I would not think. Every time my old friend fear began to creep in, every time my thoughts began to take over, I cut them off.
Don’t think, just jump. Don’t think, just jump. Don’t think, just jump.
That was it. Jump. Jump face first into every fear, every irrational thought, confront every old and worn out story and replace it with a brand new one. I wanted it to be symbolic. I wanted it to mark a new way forward, a new approach, a new me. In some weird way, I think it did because since I jumped, I haven’t looked back.
That precise moment when the plane door opens and the wind tunnels in and whips at your face and hair, is where you really meet your fear.
It is loud and unruly, and it whistles and screams in your face. You cannot overpower it. You’re so high up the concept of distance, and height, is lost. And in that moment you have to catch the eye of your fear, jump into its arms and trust you will be caught. There is no other way. The silence is deafening. You put your belief into God, the moment, or whatever it is you worship… and you jump. You connect with the universe. No hesitation. No room for reflection. It is the epitome of living in the moment. Nothing else exists. You scream but can’t hear a sound. Air assaults your nostrils. Time stops. You don’t feel like you’re falling – it’s just you in a moment, an unoccupied space, and you are simply existing. You are in no mans land. It is spiritual. You are breathless. It is where you see your soul. It is where you free your soul. Nothing else matters. It eats you up. It could be three seconds, it could be three minutes. That freefall just devours time, it devours every mediocre concern that preoccupied your mind before you jumped, and wipes it clean. At least that’s how it was for me. It left me eerily calm.
And so my new approach is about following my heart, following my instinct. Making super quick decisions based on gut feelings and not questioning, not looking back, just going with what feels right. It feels exhilarating. I’m picking up the pace. Things suddenly feel possible. I’m moving again… after many years of standing still.
Don’t think, just jump.
I remember a friend of mine raising the issue of trust some years ago. Trust and I, we haven’t always got along. I do not give my trust easily for a range of reasons that are no longer relevant. But for a lot of years I carried a lot of anger, and blamed a lot of people for different things that happened to me. In hindsight, I brought those things on myself, in one way or another. I see it now. I ignored my instinct. And in reflection, it had screamed at me, mercilessly, before my trust was broken – every, single, time.
It had haunted me. History had repeated – over and over, again and again. Then I remembered my conversation with this friend. She said she had trust issues. I said I did too. Then she said her trust issues weren’t with anyone else, they were with herself. At the time of that conversation, I couldn’t quite grasp what she meant. I hadn’t moved into the right space yet. I was too busy blaming everyone else. This friend often seemed to be two steps ahead, although she was on a similar path at that time. Now however, she has turned and is headed in a different direction. My love and admiration of her has grown considerably over the years. I am regularly in awe of her strength and beauty. How important to have people in your life you look up to. How important to have people in your life who are on a different path.
So it was only recently I remembered this conversation and realised what she had meant. I realised the theme of trust was one I had carried with me for my whole life. It was about trusting myself. Everything I had done had been based on trying to please others, so my boundaries had become blurred and I had tolerated certain things long past their use by date. I did not trust myself to make sound decisions, stick up for myself, protect myself, defend my heart and its beliefs. No, I did not trust others… But how could I when I did not trust myself?
So I stripped it all back in the messy, chaotic way that I do. I forgave. I looked some people in the eye and said I was sorry. I looked myself in the eye and said I was sorry. I dug deep and realised I was much different to the person I had allowed myself become.
How important it is, to trust ourselves – to listen to our instincts and not ignore the pleas of our soul. How important it is to chase our dreams, smile inside and do what we need to do for ourselves, for our own happiness. Perhaps it sounds selfish, but how can you ever trust another, or keep another happy unless you can trust yourself, and keep yourself happy?
Maybe it’s cliché but the day I jumped out of the plane, I made it mean something. I closed my eyes and trusted. I trusted me. I trusted life. I trusted I would land. I trusted all would be, just as it was meant to be. And i did all that without even thinking. Since that day, I have continued trusting. And since I have continued trusting, something has opened within me that was previously closed. Little signposts are popping up in the most unusual places, and so far, they are all pointing in the same direction – and that’s the same direction my heart has been begging me to go.