I went canyoning once; leaping off the edge of a 28 foot cliff with only a small pool of water below to catch me. The experience was ineffable, the moment when irony and coincidence bring a truth to you out of nowhere, when you realize the world is not as you were living it. As if the dimensional plane you are standing in suddenly shifts, just a bit, leaving you disoriented and the world around you forever changed.
With my perception skewed and my hands quivering, it was an odd feeling, before leaping, looking nervously over the edge. Who in their right mind would just jump?
Leaping changes when you get older, you view things differently and most interestingly, the thoughts that run through your head become scarier. Instead of having the mind of a child who sees themselves as invincible, you think about what could happen if you slip. What could happen if you landed 2 feet too far to the left? What if you over jumped, or jumped too close? Who would miss you if you landed wrong? Is the experience even worth it all?
I have never in my life experienced what I did that day of canyoning. Even with the fear of possible loss, I have never felt so much freedom, so much life. There is a certain point in time when in all the questioning and logic subsides; in that split second you don’t think of anything, your body just reacts and takes the leap. Some people said it felt like falling forever, but for me, point A to point B seemed a-blur. Time warped from the moment my body lurched off the cliff to when I pierced the freezing, glassy water. That’s when time seemed perpetual, when your body forms a foetus position as it penetrates through the water, shooting downward as a bullet. In that instance, under water, everything is pure; no questions, no what-ifs, no fears…everything seems to make sense.
Legs paddling back and forth, arms overhead pulling downward.
Everything slow motion until you break the water’s surface.
Your head pulls out with eyes squeezed shut, taking in a huge gulp of air.
It isn’t until you open your eyes, feeling your heart hammering and the adrenaline racing through your body, when everything before you is a paradise, the world so beautiful. Only when you take the big leap, do you appreciate it all.
Most people go through a similar moment in their lives, sometimes we share those moments with them when looking for that next crucial step up in their career. The moment their understanding of everything suddenly shifts and life as they know it is gone forever. It’s uncomfortable for a while, but only when we take a leap of faith is when we can truly see a beautiful outcome.
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