A few summers ago we swam across the lake to jump off the rocks. One, two, three, and off jumped my first friend. One, two, three, and off jumped my other friend. One, two, three…four, fourteen, forty, four hundred and I was still there, standing at the top looking out over the lake and the rocks below.
One, two, three…and step…back. One, two, three…and step…back again. It was like there was a physical wall stopping me from jumping, holding me back. I couldn’t see it but I’m telling you, it was there!
I felt like I was in a cartoon or a sci-fi movie; fear was real and it was impenetrable. My friends encouraged me again and again then finally had to give up. After treading for fifteen minutes they swam back to our dock figuring I was never going to do this.
I, however am a Capricorn and was determined to jump: to move through this barrier and be free! I changed my stance, thinking it would be better to take off on my left foot. Try. Try. Nope. I kept thinking how I could master this. Surely there was a logical way. Try. Try. Nope.
And then a neighbour came by. No words: just a friendly, soft smile, and over he went. I can’t tell you what happened, but there was a purity in that moment that opened something up… and I jumped. There was nothing logical about it. I jumped and it was beautiful.
True magic happened up on that rock and it changed me - allowed me to walk right through the wall. No, allowed me to let go of the need to have a wall!
Was it a kind, gentle soul?
A soft, summer breeze?
A lightness of spirit that instantly recognized itself and took to the air?
Wow, the power of pure love. We can do anything in its presence, its wonder, its magnificence!
The next year I went back and tried to jump again thinking I’d learned my lesson about softness, about opening my heart and letting go of anxiety. This time, it only took fifteen minutes instead of thirty to fully surrender. I was jumping from a new place, one a little higher, and had to adjust. I didn’t sense a stone wall around me this time but the extra height was challenging my comfort zone. When I acclimatized and saw some others jump, I centred myself, went to my inner soft-spot, and leapt.
There was a line in The Shawshank Redemption - Get busy living, or get busy dying – and walking right into something that scared me was a bold act of choosing aliveness.
For a while, that was what I thought the lesson was about – confidently standing up to limiting beliefs and choosing aliveness. But recently I was sitting on the dock with a different friend and reminiscing about the personal victory.
I saw a slim smile of recognition on his face but sensed it was about something different. The story for him wasn’t just about the courage to walk in to what scares you, he was more appreciative of the quiet guy whose softness was so huge, so powerful, it melted my fear and inspired me to take the leap. What an incredible gift the neighbour offered. His humility, his gentleness, and his relaxed casualness tickled a part of me that had been long awaiting this simple gesture of reassurance. I’ll never forget it.
All Is well.
Love Is here.
As a grandparent, it’s not unusual to offer encouragement and assurance along the way to grandchildren. I’ve become used to being the first one in the water, down a slide or on a ride. But sometimes adults need reassurance too. ‘Jumping In” can take many forms, and leading the way smiling peacefully is a gesture that can change the world and the way we see ourselves in it. No need to fight fear, no need to fight despair.
With hand on heart, the tenderness within can lead the way.