Jumping Out of Airplanes, Replanting Hydrangeas
I got a great quote this morning from Mark Divine, former Navy SEAL and now coach and Unbeatable Mind Academy founder, “I leaped into the dark abyss. Wind whipped by me, and the velocity of my jump picked up. With my eyes popping out of my head and a joker smile, I managed one thought: “this is either going to turn out really cool, or really shitty.”
This really spoke to me this morning. Several years ago now, our family visited a skydiving facility in the San Diego area to celebrate a great family victory. I decided to try to push my own personal boundaries, doing something that was so way over the top scary, even death-defying, that it would change my life forever.
And since I was going, the rest of my family went as well. Another one of Mom's crazy ideas.
It was crazy, crazy fun. I jumped in tandem with “Tigger” my hooked up buddy, and he showed me points on the horizon after we'd pulled the chute: Mexico, the ocean, San Diego, the training facility and cars that looked like grains of white rice. I felt the cold air against me and then felt it warm as I got closer and closer to mother earth. I have to say the welcoming she did for this scared and tired traveler was inspiring.
Coach Devine goes on to say that we sometimes need to make that leap of faith, to go for it, put ourselves in failure's way, to get the prize behind the door. The unspoken part is the small print that says, “or die trying.” This is something every elite warrior knows, but not anything we dwell on.
My relationship to the earth is very strong. Being an organic gardener for over 40 years has taught me things about life, while watching plants grow, thrive, and yes, die. So, when I jumped out of an airplane at 13,500 feet, though I was with someone who was very experienced, it was a disconnect from all the familiar sensations of my everyday life, and a leap into something else.
I have these big beautiful hydrangeas in our backyard. We're in the middle of a big project to make a space we can look at through our 13′ roll up glass garage door-cum-dining room window. We overlook a forest, but one that had to be pruned and thinned. We have sudden oak death around us, and the bay trees are the carrier. So, about ten big trees are being removed. And so now my beautiful hydrangeas, some of them over ten years old, have to be moved to a more shady location. I am concerned for their roots, and their relocation, just like I was when I jumped out of the airplane with no roots. I resist change and will miss them if they don't make it. They have become a part of me.
The transition from the familiar garden in my backyard to something new and miraculous is hard for me. Maybe all change is hard for me. Maybe that's why jumping out of a plane was hard for me. But do I want to live my life with the routine of the ordinary, “quiet desperation” as Coach Divine says, or embrace:
The more capable you are as a person, the bigger the challenge you must bring to yourself.
I have to say the answer to that question on this glorious Saturday in June is, yes. Yes. Bring it on. Now, where's the airstrip?