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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?

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. It was marvellous what you did. My cousins daughter did that about 2 weeks odd ago to raise money for a charity, she said shed never been so scared in her life but, after the birth of her children she said it was the most exhilarating thing shed ever done. Sometimes, although we dont relise it at the time change is good. Hope your flowers florish in their new plot

  2. The flowers don't make the transition, despite all your love and care, I pray you find new blooms to love. Knowing what you love and enjoy is not something to be lamented. Knowing dear friends, including plants, may be lost to you is a perfectly acceptable reason to think twice. I don't think I could ever do what you did. Good for you!

    1. Judy, I was surprised myself. But embarking on new things keeps me young, or keeps me thinking young. Helps me with the younger generation too. Helps me get into the heads of my heroes, and that is so important. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. I said it before, you are gutsy, my hat off to you. Just thinking about jumping out of a perfect good airplane makes me feel queasy… eeek!!!

    I miss my garden, it was my zen place and I hope I will get to have one soon again. For now I tend my jungle on the balcony 😀 It is very satisfying to see things grow. Hope your flowers survive the move.

    1. You'll have one again. I'm keeping them well watered, and using some umbrellas. LOL Buying umbrellas to protect my flowers. That's something only another gardener would understand, right?

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