The year I turned forty, I had promised myself I’d jump off a 29 foot ledge into a small pool of water in the Sierra Mountains. What that jump was going to mean to me – I would have never guessed.
Fast forwarding a few years – YES! I am THAT old! As I work with my most recent life lesson, living in the moment, my fearlessness represents me remaining present during all of life’s ups and downs. I try not to second guess decisions, and to not worry about tomorrow. For me, being fearless means trusting my intuition and being patient. I don’t believe that everything is going to work out as planned, but I do believe that everything will work out as it should.
Now, just because I am fearless, does not make me rash. Before I jumped five years ago, I definitely made sure the water was deep enough. And in the here and now, I still look toward the future while making decisions about today, always weighing a number of options before chosing the one I believe will move me along my path.
There was another lesson for me in that jump I made five years ago. Something else happened the day I jumped. I got hurt when I landed in the pool. That pain is still occasionally present in my lower back. It was truly painful during the hours following the jump. My pride in my accomplishment was tempered by physical pain – a reminder that living fearlessly may come with a price. But at the same time, my sense of accomplishment far outweighed the physical experience I was having.
As I am working through “What’s Next” for me professionally, I am reminded that every risk has a reward and a possibly a consequence. Sometimes that consequence is a new view of how to live my life; other times it is a reminder that decisions based on fear are not going to take me down the path I need to be travelling. As I practice living fearlessly, I acknowledge that I am not doing this alone. The yellow swallowtails that cross my path remind me of that all the time.