The Illusion of Fear, Time and Self.

"Is this something you've always wanted to do?" I was asked by the videographer.

"Um, no." 

I have never wanted to jump out of an airplane. I mean, why would I? 

I don't usually have dreams of flying but the few times that I did I was rather delighted to wake up in my bed and find myself firmly rooted on Earth cozied up in my bed with a fluffy duvet. Not that these flying dreams were nightmareish in any way, but there was always this gut-wrenching feeling in my stomach when I would take a leap and fly in my dreams. It was a mixed feeling of elation but when I would realize that I'd be flying the thought of landing would take over and fear would spike through my entire body. 

I'm a yoga teacher and while I most certainly stand for all things organic, I crave (yes, crave) nights where I get my glamour on: high heels, eyeliner and lipstick. While I'll be the first in line for a roller coaster, I never seek out adrenaline-fueled escapades that involve situations where I might die: white water rafting, running with the bulls, race car driving, bungee jumping, diving with sharks . . . no thank you! 

So, why did I just jump out of an airplane? Well, it's a long story but to make it short: initially, I did it because I said I would. And I also realized that I had to do it: there was a fear in me that needed to die . . . Read on . . . 

I was chatting to my friend - who happens to be an extreme sporty guy - about my hesitation around jumping out of an airplane, the possibility of plummeting to my death, and why I was so freaked out about it and then he said, "Erica, there is something in you that needs to die! What are you afraid of? You need to let this go.You must do it!" BOOM!!!! That statement really hit me hard. I got to thinking: What am I afraid of? And curious about how I'm holding back in my life. Still meditating on that one ...

I was tossing and turning one night and then around 2am I decided it was time that I needed to book this adventure. After entering in all my info on the Skydive Dubai website - including my credit card number - I hesitated and sat back in my chair to ask myself, "Are you really going to do this?!"

My lucky number showed up: three. Sept 3 at 3pm was the ONLY time available before I was to fly back to North America. Oh, lucky number 3. Since I needed all the luck I could get, I decided it was an OMen. 

I leaned forward and with clarity and consciousness (well, as much as one has at 2am), I pressed ENTER. Done. I was doing it.

It was just over 2 weeks until The Day and I did my best not to think about it. Kinda like when you're meditating and thoughts pop up into mind and when you notice that you're actually thinking about something you swoosh the thought aside. However, when that thought held onto me, I decided the deposit wasn't that much so it wouldn't be a big deal to lose it.

Eventually, Sept 3 arrived. I was a bit concerned and wondering if I may give myself a heart attack as I was absolutely exhausted after a long month of intense work, functioning on minimal sleep, and it being an emotional day: last day of Yoga Teacher Training!!!

When I arrived, I could no longer not think about what I was about to do and the nervousness started to kick in. Ok, who am I kidding: not nervousness, but panic! A few of my friends came down for moral support and ironically, a wind warning was issued and the planes were grounded. There was a moment that I thought the jump might not happen and I felt a moment of relief: the Universe really did want me to live! Then I thought, hey, I'm here! I showed up. I gotta do this. Deep down there was a feeling bubbling up that I had to do this. I had a little (internal) chat with the Universe that while I wasn't attached to jumping out of an airplane, I was there and if -and only IF - it was meant to be, make it so.

Feeling a little faint, I went to get a mango juice and as soon as I returned to the main building, "Erica Blitz!" was blasted over the intercom. It was go time! Within four minutes  I was suited up and kissing my friends (one last time?) before I shuffled out onto the runway and in a tiny little plane ready for the adventure of a lifetime. Even at that moment, I couldn't believe I was doing this!

Grateful for my girls: Noura, Sara & Camilla. Love you, ladies!

Without a question of a doubt, jumping out of an airplane was the most intense (insane?!) thing I have ever done. I was absolutely terrified! But... It was beyond incredible.

The jump out of the plane in and of itself was intense. I was very nervous. Looking around the airplane with perhaps a dozen people sitting around all chill, I couldn't understand why everyone looked so calm? I was FREAKING OUT!!!!! The initial part of getting to the door of the airplane was surreal. There was a fleeting thought that went through my mind that these were the last people I may ever see. Then, suddenly, there were two less people in the plane. FUCK! This is really happening! 

I kept trying to convince myself that if I really didn't feel that this was going to be ok that I shouldn't do it. "Listen to your intuition, Erica!" I kept reminding myself. The thing is is that my thoughts were swirling too loudly in my head to even begin to hear the faint whispers of my intuition.

Looking back on how my mind orchestrated its trickery to both convince myself that jumping out of an airplane was a bad, bad, bad idea AND how it's something that I absolutely had to experience is actually rather comical. Oh, the mind and its fluctuations!

We saddled up (obviously, I was jumping tandem) and began to make our way to the door. It was a bit of an awkward moment as we had to crouch down and I had to have my head back. We had to jump out and "banana" our bodies so I think we flipped around but I don't remember. It was like doing a big back bend: heart open into the vastness of the Universe - literally!!!!!! The exact moment of jumping, I don't remember too well but I do recall the feeling of reaching the point of NO return and that I had to let go in every way and of everything, take the leap and trust. I had no idea what the experience would be like because I was clouded in nervousness but when I faced the open door of the plane and looked out into the blue sky there was something deeper inside me that hollered TRUST the unknown - and that I wasn't going to die and that everything was going to be ok. It was a leap into the unknown, indeed. I don't remember screaming but the photos suggest otherwise . . .

What I thought I would look like jumping out of an airplane.
What I actually looked like.
It was incredible. The free fall was fast. I was falling at 210km/hour, plunging towards the earth and my possible destruction. The wind whipped past me and even though I was falling down, it felt like the wind was somehow lifting me up a little. The rush was absolutely exhilarating. I had the worst dry mouth of my life from screaming into sky and mumbling God-only-knows-what. My heart rate skyrocketed from the intense experience, and yet I was not afraid. I was ecstatic. The pulsation of life coursing through my body injecting me with a sense of vibrant alertness I have NEVER felt. I was alive.
There was the initial leap from the airplane and swirling and twirling where the videographer just told me to look up at her because the ground wouldn't be going anywhere. I thought it was a strange thing to say, but I believed her. Anyone could have told me anything and I would have believed it. It was weird to pose and smile for the camera when you're going about 120 m/hour and freaking out because you're completely out of control. Yeah, that's terminal velocity, people.

Apparently, after about a minute of free falling, the shoot was released or pulled or whatever they say and then there was a weird shift in space: we went from going face down to being upright. It was a very disorienting moment. Suddenly I went from thinking I was about to face plant on the Earth to being like a little tiny puppet on strings. And everything changed.

It was the most unreal, surreal moment I have ever experienced. We were in the air falling, yet flying. It was as though the world was put on pause and I was the only being alive. Just me. Alone yet connected. Happy and free. There was no more fear. Time ceased to exist. I needed nothing. Wanted nothing. Thought nothing and felt everything. I felt so calm, peaceful, elated, open, content and in love. A graceful out of body experience that was the most embodied experience. I felt a fullness of life that I had never experienced before that was beyond the beyond. The feeling truly is beyond articulation and expression. The only parallel I can think of is the way Samadhi is described. That was it. It was incredible. I was Zen.

Floating. Dream-like. Quiescent.

While I sat back to enjoy the breath-taking view, my guy, Reese, pointed out all the major landmarks in Dubai: the Burj Al Arab, The Burj Kahlifa (kinda cool flying above the tallest building in the world), The Palm and the view of the surrounding area. I had a moment of thinking to myself, "Holy Shit! I'm flying up in the air in the Middle East! How did I get here?!"
That's me with the blue shoes.

Reese let me hold the parachute strings and puppeteer my way through space as we spun around into the wind. That made my stomach flip a bit (ok, a lot!) and then we spun around again. He pointed out the area that we would be landing on and then I just enjoyed floating around in the bright and sunny, blue sky. When we descended to the level where the familiarity of Dubai's heat and humidity intermixed the reality of flying out of space and orbiting towards Earth became real again. 

Eventually, my feet were back on Earth. My spirit, well, I'm not sure it's ever arrived. 

I'd cross this off my bucket list, but it was never on there to begin with.

So, what do I make of this experience? To be honest, I'm not entirely sure. Did I move through some fears of the unknown? Yup. Did I come to a deeper insight that my fears of "taking a leap" and wondering how it's all going to "land" are my greatest obstacles? Indeed. Did I realize that both fear and time are an illusion.? Yes. Did that pesky fear inside me die? Well, we shall see . . . This experience has given me some insight to meditate on for awhile . . . and in the meantime, I'm striving to keep my heart open and spirit free.

Would I recommend this experience? Definitely! Would I do it again? Without a doubt.

No comments:

Post a Comment