Letting Go – A Leap of Faith

Print This Post Print This Post March 26, 2009 on 9:40 pm | In Adventure, Awareness, Courage, Death, Emotional, Energy, Fear, Spiritual, Toltec | Comments Off on Letting Go – A Leap of Faith

My Bungee Jumping Adventure

Bungee Jumping at Cola de Caballo, Mexico

Bungee Jumping at Cola de Caballo, Mexico

Last week was my daughter’s Spring Break, and I took this opportunity to load up the minivan with my wife and daughters and drive down to central Mexico for a family vacation.  Our destination was a resort called Hotel Hacienda Cola de Caballo, just south of Monterrey in Neuvo Leon.  The setting that surrounds the hotel is nothing short of spectacular and the weather during our stay was ideal – cool mornings and evenings and warm afternoons, with breezes winding their way through the Sierra Madres that surrounded the hotel.  Our only complaint was the overabundance of insect life – especially gnats and mosquitoes – which made sitting out on our balconies a bit of a nuisance, although the abundance of butterflies and songbirds more than made up for this inconvenience (at least for me they did; I’m not so sure that my wife would agree!).

This hotel advertises itself as an eco-adventure destination, and although I knew that there would possibly be an opportunity to participate in bungee jumping nearby I did not realize that the facility they advertised was at the hotel itself (just above the restaurant attached to an observation deck overlooking the forest below).  As one of my short term goals over the past several months has been to face my fear of heights, it was clear that this was an opportunity that I could not pass up.

Since one of my previous posts highlights my recent experience with tandem skydiving, you may be wondering “What’s up with this guy anyways?”  Is it midlife crisis? Is it a death wish?  Well, not exactly – let’s just say that although my current path does have elements of both of these, fundamentally what I am trying to do is explore my limits, find my boundaries and determine the extent to which I can move beyond them.  Hopefully I’ll get a chance to expand on my ultimate goal in future posts, but for the time being let’s just say the objective of this exercise was to embrace my fear.

One of the main things that really compelled me to pursue this experience was something that was lacking in my skydiving experience – the experience of facing my fear alone.  On my tandem skydive I was strapped to my instructor, and he not only controlled the parachute but also our exit from the plane and our landing.  At all times he was in control, and I could rely on his expertise and experience to safely guide me through the experience.  Don’t get me wrong – it was still an exhilarating, adrenaline filled adventure!  But something gnawed at me due to the fact that I was not the one that let go and made that leap into the void.  And so it seemed inevitable that I would need to take the plunge and experience letting go on my own.

Now that I have had the experience of bungee jumping I must say it was completely different from my skydiving experience.  I can truly say that skydiving was incredibly exhilarating, exciting, and fun – a wonderful sense of freedom and spaciousness.  My experience of bungee jumping was something altogether different.  For one thing, I just need to come out and admit that it was a terrifying experience – although you may not be able to tell it from the video, my legs were shaking almost uncontrollably as I was perched on the launch platform prior to jumping.  My body had a very visceral reaction to the entire process.  Unlike skydiving, where I was jumping from a height of about 2 miles, my bungee jump was from a height that my body could comprehend and fear – there was no question of an experience of flying . . . I would be falling!  Letting go and leaping off of the platform was an incredibly intense experience (I can assure you that I screamed the whole way down!), and in some ways I am still amazed that I managed to do it.  My body seemed to want to be at two places at once – safely secured to the diving platform and down on the ground below – but the one place it most definitely did not want to be was falling in between!

During the jump I had an extremely unusual experience as I fell towards the trees – when the bungee cord reached maximum extension and began to pull me back up towards the platform it felt as though a part of me (centered right below my navel) continued downwards toward the forest canopy to the ground below.  Being pulled back up by the bungee cord resulted in an odd sensation of being torn in two as my “center” projected itself down to the ground while my body moved upwards, and this phenomenon repeated itself each time I bounced up and down.  Each time that I bounced back it up it almost felt as if I was simultaneously watching myself from the ground below and the platform above – a very disquieting and disorienting sensation!

When I finally made it back up to the platform and the safety of terra firma, the first question my daughters asked was: “Was it fun?”

Well, no – not really.  It was most definitely awesome – in the full sense of the word (bordering on awful).  Despite the extreme “body fear” and intense anguish involved in making the leap, I certainly didn’t regret the experience.  But I could not honestly characterize it as fun, which is in some ways unusual as I could see that many of the younger people who partook of the experience most definitely were having fun – indeed, they were having a blast!!!  Perhaps I just need more practice???   

It took the better part of the day for me to get “re-integrated” after making the jump – I kept rubbing my belly just below the navel to help calm myself and ease the “hollow” feeling that lingered after my “pull apart” experience during the upward bounces.  By the following morning I was fine, but I must say that the experience of letting go was much different than what I had expected. 

It felt as though the whole universe held its breath as I made that leap, and the scream that followed . . . was like a supernova.

Jump!

Print This Post Print This Post December 7, 2008 on 4:04 pm | In Adventure, Awareness, Courage, Death, Fear, Intent, Spiritual | Comments Off on Jump!
Skydiving - San Marcos, Dec 2008

Skydiving - San Marcos, Dec 2008

Wow, it is hard to believe that it has been over three months since I’ve posted anything on my blog – me bad!!!  Lot’s has been going on, both internally and externally, in my journey back to myself: so much so that it would be impossible for me to catch up on everything that has transpired since my last post.  So rather than looking back at what has been, I will simply begin again from where I am, trusting in the mystery that is unfolding . . .

Yesterday was awesome!  In addition to being a fabulous day in terms of the weather here in Texas, it was a red letter day for me personally.  As part of an intensive apprenticeship program called Jump! that I am participating in, I completed my first sky dive!  While sky diving is NOT part of the program per se, the program does demand that you work on your edge – pushing beyond your current limits and stepping outside of your comfort zone.  For me that meant confronting my fear of extreme heights and really exploring the exhilaration of throwing caution to the wind by exposing myself to something totally beyond my control.  The dive I did was a tandem parachute jump with a Tandem Master – this involves putting your life completely in the hands of the instructor and trusting them 100% to guide through a truly stupendous (and frightening) experience and bring you back to the ground safe and sound. 

I will never forget the feeling of vertigo as I crouched at the doorway of the plane and then the rush of that first “step” off of the plane – “Oh my God . . . the plane is gone, the ground below, and Sky all around me – flowing past me so fast that I cannot even hear my own thoughts . . .”

In case someone reading this has interest in the Jump! apprenticeship program, I do want to make you aware that there is another Jump! program starting in early 2009.  The deadline for applying for this program is December 21, 2008.  To give you an idea of what this apprenticeship entails, here is how my teachers describe this program:

Jump! is an intensive apprenticeship, the purpose being to take a small dedicated group of people and to dive right into whatever obstacle is holding each person back, the things that interfere with living a life of 100% choice right now.  Everyone invited has already invested significant time into their spiritual path and have demonstrated a long-standing level of commitment to doing the hard work required to de-construct their unconscious belief structure and to start living from a place of choice.

The primary intent of this group is complete freedom, to fully live each moment, completely present, fiercely alive, vibrant, and in awe at the incredible mystery of this existence. This will require moving past your story, opening to new possibilities and unimagined ways of being. You should be prepared to challenge everything in your life, to look at it honestly and to evaluate from a place of clarity whether it is serving your path or not.  If you decide that it does not serve you, you will need a willingness to take action to transform it into something that will serve you or to utterly remove it from your life. You will be lovingly guided through deep processes, ritual, and inner healing with strong energetic support.
 
Over the apprenticeship’s two years you will:

• Thoroughly cleanse both your physical and energetic bodies.
• Explore and practice many awareness exercises.
• Confront and move through your fears using shamanic and indigenous practices, such as firewalks, sweat lodges, vision quests, sensory deprivation exercises, etc.
• Challenge your identifications and explore new ways of being through magical theatre and stalking practices.
• Consistently practice taking concrete actions to dissolve your structures.
• Choose what is in your integrity in terms of sexuality, power, and money.
• Access and work with your own life force by exploring your relationship with sexual energy.
• Learn techniques to maintain your integrity as you move through the dream of the planet.
• Consistently connect with your Divine essence and allow your actions to flow from there.
• Train your mind and will to take their proper place in aiding you, rather than hindering you, on your path to true Awakening.
• Explore your ability to use your dreams and sleep states as tools for awakening.
• Hone your intuition and energetic perceptions, expanding your perception over and over until you can sink completely into the One field, and then expand beyond that into pure Awareness.
• Dive into the true joy of working in a spiritual community.
• Support each other between intensives to stay on track.

If you are interested in applying for the Jump! apprenticeship program you can contact the instructors, Heather Ash and Raven, at the email address below:

Heather Ash Amara and Raven Smith
jumpforfreedom@gmail.com

In the meantime, if you’d like to get a better idea of the adventure that may be in store for you, check out the video of my sky dive!  Cowabunga!!!

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