Before the jump, I was carefree, full of giggles and surprisingly calm. I snapped photos, entertained everyone with my wit, sarcasm and jokes. I was excited about my new adventure. But, when the first diver jumped, I was suddenly paralyzed with fear. “My God, this is crazy!”

Fear is an emotion. It has no power until you give it yours. Fear contaminates, distorts and lies. It attempts to blur the truth just long enough to convince you that you cannot see. Challenge that negative voice. Believe in yourself long enough to do the very thing that frightens you. Then, the voice will be silenced.

“Ready?” my tandem master shouted. “You can do this.” He could see my panic.

Success leaves clues and many people in this world are willing to show you the way. So I look to them. I listen. I imitate their examples and before I know it, their confidence wears off on me. Something in the brain switches; it takes attention off the fear, and thus the fear dissolves. I’m transformed from being paralyzed with anxiety to believing I can fly.

“You came here for this!” my inner heroine exclaimed and I knew she was right. I had to rope fear back into the enthusiasm that created the desire. I took a long, deep breath and allowed the most thrilling wave of electricity to run through my body. Cautiously, my tandem master and I stepped toward the open door of the plane and then onto its ledge. Slowly rocking back and forth, we counted to three.

Moving beyond fear is about taking risks. It’s about opening our hearts when we feel like closing them. It’s about softening toward ourselves and others. It’s about learning to believe in our worth and in our power.

Then, with a mighty thrust forward, we plunged into the wild blue yonder. There was the initial scream of course (that you could hear in Thailand), but once my vocal chords settled I realized the magnificent beauty of free falling through God’s wide-open sky. The 120 mile an hour wind at my face, the rush of being so high above the ground — I was absolutely mesmerized. It was unmistakably one of

the most spectacular experiences I’ve ever had.

That jump forced me to face my fear, to challenge a negative belief. In doing so, I created a shift in my thinking, in my perception of self, in my self confidence. I became empowered. A new belief cemented itself in my heart and mind. One that proves I am capable and brave. The key was to challenge the negative belief — the fear that held me lifeless in its grip.

I pulled tightly on the rip cord and after a great jolt from the opening of the parachute, I reveled in gliding through the air. I was observing the earth from a most magnificent perspective, fully aware of every sensation.

After landing safely, I kissed the ground, kissed my tandem master and thanked the powers that be. I looked at my fellow divers with a mischievous sparkle in my eye. “I want to do it again,” I whispered. I had never felt so alive.

There are no neutrals in life. At all times, we are either contributing to or contaminating ourselves and others, whether intentionally or by default. To create the world we truly desire, we must live with purpose.

We must accept and feel the present moment and embrace the gift of awareness that comes with it. We must awaken ourselves to every aspect, every sound, every sight and scent.

Whether the experience is pleasure or pain, the boundaries of one are expanded by the knowledge of the other. The goal is to move through the painful moments with love and acceptance, to let the lesson guide us — not define us.

Since that day, countless people have asked me “Why on earth would you jump out of a perfectly good plane…TWICE?!!” My answer is always the same. “To remind myself I’m alive.”

You are the author of your life, the director and the star of your show. You have the power to write your story. You do not have to fight against fear. Just turn your attention to love. Be alive. Be present. Be love and be loved. Be vulnerable. Be open. Tell the truth and require the truth from others. Give your emotions a voice and a safe space to be. In every moment and in every decision, choose to honor, not hide, your authentic self.

Turn down the voices of the world and listen to the powerful yet silent symphony of your heart. Use your creative power to live the life you’ve imagined. Surround yourself with loving people who support you and your vision.

The truth is there is nothing you cannot do. Your dreams are there for the making!

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