This is the tale of a trip down memory lane which makes me nostalgic and proud and less lost sometimes…
Completely calm, I stood straight, with my toes as close to the edge as possible and surveyed the lake below. It twinkled blue and calm back at me in the evening sun. I will do the counting myself, I told the instructor. Just keep your legs as straight as possible, he replied. I crossed my arms in an ‘X’, counted in my head and jumped.
Easy peasy, right?
Looking back, I wonder how and where I got the courage to go through with it…
I jumped off a 60+ foot cliff into the lake below. While:
- Having a fear of heights (I don’t like vertigo)
- Along with a major phobia of large water bodies (what if there is a shark in there?!)
- Also, having practically no training in swimming.
- And, only wearing a measly life jacket.
Oh, and twenty minutes ago, one of the members of our group apparently jumped wrong, injured her back and was paralyzed for quite a few months afterwards.
(Of course, we only got to know about this part much later. At that time, we only knew that she couldn’t move.)
I remember sitting there on the cliff, my girls around me, waiting for our turn, thinking out loud, singing a bit. E asked me: Are we doing this?
I remember I was calm and humming the Strings’ classic Sur Kiye Yeh Pahaar (it was just too appropriate) as I answered.
I have come all the way here to do this. That we have just been up a huge mountain and then down a cave – which was incidentally full of bat shit…! So, yes! We are going to do this!
And that’s exactly what I did.
It was only when I was in the water that I panicked, feeling the weight of all those ten seconds (maybe less) that it took to come to the surface. Spluttering and gasping, and with the aid of our great group guides, I hauled myself up to the safety of the boat, opened my eyes and only then realized how BIG the cliff really was.
Yikes! Did I just jump off a 60+ foot cliff into a lake and managed not to drown?!
I sat there, wet and shivering. Watching as my friends’ and other group members took their turns. And all I could think of was the jump and the plunge and the exhilaration I felt after doing something that was generally very scary.
These days, I sometimes remember that moment: how I was so sure that nothing would go wrong. I was afraid, yes, but not enough to stop me… Where did this courage come from? Do I still have that in me?
Whether or not I do, since that trip a couple of years ago, I know that I have a great example in front of me that, (especially when a self pep talk seems necessary) illustrates the following message:
- Let go of your fear.
- Jump off the cliff.
- Take a leap of faith.
- You’ll only know if it is worth it once you do it.
Just gotta know which cliff to dive off!