Updated: Jul 12, 2021
“Every man has two lives, and the second starts when he realizes he has just one” — Confucius.
As many of you know by now, this past Saturday I woke up, drove to Ft.Morgan airfield, got on a plane that went 13,000 ft high and I jumped.
I’m not going to speak about what the experience was like right now (video coming this week). I’m going to speak about WHY I jumped in the first place.
Two-years ago I was faced with two very powerful crises with one common theme. Death. In August of 2019 my father passed away fairly suddenly. He had been sick for sometime but still the news of his abrupt passing shocked and saddened me deeply. Then, just two-months later I was diagnosed with stage 4 throat cancer for the SECOND time and I was again forced to face my mortality while still in the process of grieving a man that was my hero in so many ways.
I was determined to overcome the illness of cancer and I knew that in order to do that I needed to have a different mindset. I knew that I couldn’t walk in the spirit of fear or doubt. Everyday for 7-weeks I walked into the cancer clinic at 5am and witnessed a waiting room of many who had already succumbed to cancer in their own minds. You could see it all on them. Don’t get me wrong. I knew how radiation drains every ounce of energy from your body and how listless and fatigued it makes you feel. But I also saw something else along with the side-effects of radiation, I also witnessed fear and resignation. Let me be even more clear here, when I was dancing with cancer I knew and acknowledged that my body was very sick, however, I NEVER allowed myself to THINK or believe that I WAS sick. I was determined that I was going to learn the lesson and overcome this beautiful illness and with the help of a great medical team, my tribe and my community well wishing me, I didn’t just survive, I have thrived.
I walked out of both of those death experiences with a deep appreciation of life in a way that it’s extremely difficult to convey to others. Death and the dance with death profoundly shifted how I view myself, my work, my loved ones, my community, my destiny and the world. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it here again, me getting cancer was one of the biggest blessings I ever had in my life. It refocuses and enlightened in a way that only a major life or death situation can. It was through those experiences that I truly realized what Confucius was saying, not in theory or simply academically, but from a profound lived experience and I finally came to understand that you really do only have one life to live. One.
So as I watched the door slide open at 13,000ft, as I was surrounded by my loved ones, as I ducked walked to the door feeling the brisk wind on my skin and looking over 2-miles down I calmed myself, took a deep breath, gave my tribe the ‘Pura Vida” hand sign and I lept, head first towards what was terrifying me, towards my fear, towards what seemed to be my eminent demise. Yes, here I was again less than two years later, face-to-face with death except this time, I consciously had volunteered for this task, determined to face it again on my own terms.
And then something else happened. Yesterday, the day after the jump, while taking my daily bath, I had a total emotional breakdown. I sat in the franckncinsed scented water that I had run for myself and I wept like a 2-year old baby for more than 15-minutes. I knew it was coming. I could feel it lurking in the background of my being ever since my feet and butt landed safely on the ground in that hay field (the bathtub is the exact same place that I had finally broken down a few weeks after my father transitioned).
Why was I weeping? I was overwhelmed with gratitude. I was grateful that my sun Deron, who I’ve been blessed to be reconnected to since my father’s passing, came into town and pushed us all by saying “tomorrow we are going to skydive!!”. I was grateful that my sun Aingkhu, who was only told just hours before the jump what we were doing, and was adamant that he wasn’t going, actually finally decided to do it with us even though every fiber of his being was telling him that this was “the worst idea EVER!” (Will Smith also did it with his two sons).
Ultimately I was grateful that everyone pushed their boundaries, faced their fears and moved into an elite club that less than 0.01% of people will ever experience. I was grateful for the life that the Creator has given me and determined to live everyday, and every moment like I only have one life to live. But most of all I was grateful that the Creator did not create me in the spirit of fear thereby assuring me that all fears are to be challenged and overcome. Proving once again, that in order to reach to the next level of your life, of your excellence of your destiny requires that you take a Leap of Faith! Now, jump to it!