Superhero Self Care – Part 4

The Secret Ingredient

I started this newsletter last week with the idea of going back to the basics. I wanted to remind you how the choices you make every day fundamentally support or dismantle the life you want to lead. Healthy foods, consistent physical movement and getting enough sleep are key to your well being. Period. Without these ingredients you cannot thrive, let alone be the superhero you strive to be. I thought that talking to you about the most basic building blocks of self care was the best thing I could share with you right now.

Then I jumped out of an airplane.

Don't forget to breathe!

Don’t forget to breathe!

It was my nephew’s 18th birthday, and he wanted to do something that was “all him”. He has had more than his share of challenges in life, so reaching adulthood was a cause for celebration for all of us. I am so proud of him for all his growth in striving to be more and more independent every day. So I agreed to go skydiving with him.

I know many people who have gone skydiving and most have loved it. I wasn’t really worried about safety (although I did find myself telling people I loved them more than I usually do that morning).

We signed all the paperwork, waited our turn, and got suited up with our tandem instructor. Then our plane took off. Every time my nephew looked over at me, you can be sure I had a reassuring smile on my face. Once in the air, I never considered changing my mind.

Talk about commitment.

I got nervous after the first person jumped at 9,000 feet. We were going up to 13,000, and I kept thinking about all the things the instructor had told me to do — Where to put my feet, when to move my hands, how to breathe. Was I going to remember it all? What if I did it wrong?

And then I was falling.

There was no going back, no changing course. I had made a decision, and in the most concrete way possible, could not undo it. So I completely surrendered myself to the experience. For the first time in a long time, my mind got quiet as my whole world condensed to focus on that ‘now’ moment.

Everything was so small below me. All the fields looked like an exercise in learning my shapes — squares, rectangles, trapezoids. All these man-made divisions drawn around the curving rivers of nature. The crops had the textures of a fuzzy quilt. The cars looked like Hot Wheels. If there were people down there, they were just dots on the paper. Then I got it.

It’s all about releasing fear.

Talk about perspective. Not my insecurities, my failures or what I imagined people thought of me mattered in that moment. There was nothing about how I define myself or what I do or don’t do that seemed all that important. I had jumped. I was doing something that not everyone could do, and as much as I love my nephew, I was doing it for me. The secret ingredient isn’t something you put in. It’s something you strive to keep out, let go of and release — fear.

Tess Skydive - on ground

Odds are you will survive the fall, so why not jump?

So I encourage you to jump. It can be speaking up at a meeting, volunteering to lead a project or deciding what you’re going to do with the rest of your life, but I say go for it. Do it and have fun with it. Maybe even flap your arms a bit.

Oh, and I’m still serious about the getting enough sleep part. Don’t even mess with that.

How did you get past your fears? Tell me about your “jump” in the blog comments section below, and let me be inspired by you!

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