Free-falling

June 15, 2006
The 31st Anniversary of my parents deaths. Skydiving Photo

For some people it may seem slightly weird that I continue to do something special on the day that changed my life but that is exactly the reason I must commemorate it in some way.

Some years I take a long walk with a journal in hand and just write letters to them while other years, like this one, I am more active. This year I decide it was time to free-fall into my future…

I went sky-diving!!! That’s right, I dropped out of a tiny little plane at 10,600 feet (that’s two miles UP) above the ground. I was free-falling for 43 seconds at 124 miles per hour. My smile felt like it was stuck to the back of my head. I was moving so fast that my ears didn’t pop until I landed, safely I might add, on the ground.

Will I do it again? Maybe. Am I glad I did it? Sure. (The zipline I flew down or shall I say – clung on to – during Season One of Starting Over was scarier to me.) The truth be told, once I was on the plane, I couldn’t stop it. (Kinda like life.) I had the space suit on, the instructor was glued to my backside and he had the parachute and the only way he wanted to depart the plane was to drop out. Sure, he warned me before he practically had to throw me out. He said something like, “Okay, lets go” as I was (and you can see this in the video) smiling and- at the same time – screaming “OH MY GOD.” And with that, he rocked back and forth as we sat with our legs dangling outside the plane and on three (as if I heard him) we were falling….fast.

It reminded me of my life. Whenever I do something risky I am, in some way, free-falling. Giving up drinking – free-fall. Getting married – free-fall. Forgiving my parents – free-fall. Starting my coaching business – free-fall. Getting a divorce – free-fall. Moving to England for my own TV series – free-fall. Giving up dating for 18 months – free-fall. Starting to date again – free-fall. Moving to Colorado and officially starting the Fearless Living Institute – free-fall. Being the life coach on Starting Over – free-fall. Falling in love with Mr. Love-A-Lot – free-fall. All free-falls because I had no idea how anything was going to turn out.

Dropping out of the plane at 124 miles per hour seemed fast but if I look back at my life, I think there have been moments I felt like I was going faster because never once when I was free-falling with that parachute on the instructors back did I feel out-of-control or overwhelmed. But many times with the decisions I have made I had to face those feelings. I had to face frustration. Loneliness. Worthlessness. Anger. I had to face it all – and feel it all. And it felt like everything was moving so fast. (Isn’t that even true when time seems to be standing still like it did when my husband asked for a divorce or when my father pointed the gun at my mother and pulled the trigger?)

Things I noticed that helped me prepare for this free-fall that I can use as guidelines for the other free-falls in my life:

I was responsible. I made the decision, no one else.
I had support. The instructor was there for me as Marta has been all those times.
I took a risk. Falling out of a plane isn’t a dumb risk, just a calculated one.
I had a safety net. Whether that be savings in the bank or a list of skills I can rely on.
I wore gear that made sense. Andy Paige would be so proud!

And I could go on…

What I realize is that in everything I do is a lesson to help me better understand where I am on the fear or fearless meter. Sometimes I am afraid and that’s okay. That only means I am living in the unknown like I did when I got on that plane and trusted the process of free-falling. Sometimes I am fearless and that’s the time to celebrate my humanity and my willingness to be fully me. But wait a minute, aren’t I me even when I am afraid? Ahhh, there is so much to learn….

Stay Fearless My Friends….Rhonda