Sometimes We Need to Jump From a Plane
I wrote a blog post recently about toxic perfectionism and how doing small, every day actions over time, leads to big results. Well today I want to switch gears and talk about the opposite. I want to talk about taking big leaps of faith!
A little over twenty years ago I was so terrified of life and the world around me that I could barely leave my apartment. Overnight I developed a panic disorder and agoraphobia. This was not how I had been living my life, previously! I had been traveling the country on tour, performing in a much-loved and respected Broadway show and living my life very much out loud. But a trauma happened to me and my family that took my emotional and psychological legs out from under me and I became almost completely psychologically and emotionally crippled. (More about the details of that story here.)
Now I had always had really good friends and at the time they would come over and hang out with me. One day, one of these friends randomly expressed a desire to go sky diving and for some reason I found myself telling her I would do it with her.
Given what I was going through at the time, to say that jumping from a plane was a monumental stretch for me would be an understatement. But I said yes because I knew on a somatic level that I needed something really dramatic to pull me out of the hopeless existence I was in and to bring me back to the living.
It worked. The day came, we jumped and that decision was the start of my choosing life – a real life – again.
When life has crushed me – and it has a couple of times – my system has always given me clues and signs of how to bring my weakened emotional and psychological heartbeat back to life, and I’ve always listened. A friend once said that the things we bury we bury alive. When we bury our dreams, our desires and our yearnings they still try to claw their way to the surface. If we refuse to heed the sounds they make, they show up in our lives like a heart attack, or a car-accident, or an affair, or a cancer diagnosis, a job loss, or a sudden loss of a loved one.
So when my friend suggested that we jump from a plane, I said “yes” even though I could barely leave the house. I knew in my heart that I was being buried alive and that nothing short of jumping from a plane would break me out of my malaise. There’s a Talmudic story that says, “behind every blade of grass there is an angel that whispers to it, ‘Grow. Grow.’” My friend’s insane idea was my angel telling me to “Grow. Grow.”
Here’s Oprah Winfrey saying it a different way:
So… what have you buried alive? What signs have you been ignoring? And in what way is your quiet desperation being cloaked in responsibility or masquerading as a soul-crushing resignation?
Truly, sometimes we need to just jump from a plane…