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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Lose Yourself



    Its 85 degrees outside and I want to get my tan on so I am going to try and make this post as short as possible. I have had to face a few road blocks at school the past few months as any student would. Externship, cooking practicals, the intensity of the curriculum itself, being broke, etc. I have talked in recent posts about how different people have different ways to deal with the pressures of life, and how important it is (I think) to take time to step away from it and clear your mind and body. Whether it be listening to music, exercising, recreational drug use (I'm not going to get into the debate of illegal drugs...not here anyway), or what have you, its vital that you do what you love to let yourself recharge. 
    The busier the schedule the less time people have for the much needed "me time" I am very much aware of this. I talked about how during a busy week I would take 10 minutes out of my day an go to a Happy Place, or sit outside on a nice day. I think I get this from my dad, the master in relaxation. I can picture him, on his days off with his straw hat, skimming the leaves off the pool surface (he always complains about no one being around to help him open it...but you know he loves the end product)


    Sometimes, however, a few minutes here and there is not enough. The bigger the wall you put up from stress and pressure the bigger the wrecking ball you will need to bring it all down, you catch my drift? The past few weeks for me just blew hard. Usually I'll resort to hiking to sweat it all out. I don't just leisurely stroll up the mountain, I push myself hard. Its challenging, its raw, its visceral and new. I wipe the canvas clean and start fresh. Here is an excerpt from the movie Black Swan that kinda sorta shows what I mean: 

Nina: I came to ask for the part.
Thomas Leroy: The truth is when I look at you all I see is the white swan. Yes you're beautiful, fearful, and fragile. Ideal casting. But the black swan? It's a hard fucking job to dance both.
Nina: I can dance the black swan, too.
Thomas Leroy: Really? In four years every time you dance I see you obsessed getting each and every move perfectly right but I never see you lose yourself. Ever! All that discipline for what?
Nina: [whispers] I just want to be perfect.
Thomas Leroy: What?
Nina: I want to be perfect.
Thomas Leroy: [scoffs] Perfection is not just about control. It's also about letting go. Surprise yourself so you can surprise the audience. Transcendence! Very few have it in them.
    Last Sunday the universe came together and gave me a once in a lifetime opportunity to let go and surprise myself. I went skydiving...and my number one fear is heights. I mean really, If I'm on a ladder putting the star on our Christmas tree I'm like "Man, I'm kinda high off the ground right now..." Its bad I know. Somehow someone special in my life convinced me to buy a Groupon for skydiving and after a summer of failed attempts due to weather, Sunday would be our chance. I don't have too much time to get into the logistics of it all so I'll just fast forward to the good part...



    We all assemble into a tiny plane, and I am talking to the jump master strapped to me, Alex (awesome dude). He reassures me there is a big difference between a ladder and jumping out of a plane. "its different" he says. "There is a difference between a ladder where you can count the rungs to the ground, and a plane where you just free fall". The plane takes an almost vertical climb into the sky, I look over at a bright red faced Katie and tell her everything will be alright. I was amazed at how uncharacteristically calm I was in the plane. It was supposed to be HER telling ME everything will be alright. Not the other way around. The plane levels off at 10,000 feet and the door opens. The wind barrels in and I look on as groups of two crawl and shimmy to the door before vanishing into the sky. Now its my turn. All I had to do was walk to the door, put my toes on the edge, count to 3 and fall. I get to the door, look out and see the world below. I wasn't even scared for some reason...heights didn't even factor into the equation when you can see the outline of whole towns and cities. There was no time to be scared. I count to 3, rocking back and forth and before I knew it I was falling. Our bodies flipped around 3 or 4 times and when I finally realized which way was up and which way was down I leveled out my body and assumed the flying squirrel position like I was told. Alex and I fall for over a minute at speeds exceeding 120 MPH. I screamed with joy, rocking my fists into the air. I was freaking flying! 

    The chute deploys and we are jolted up into the air (a poorly packed parachute has left some knarly bruises on my inner thighs), we sail through the sky for a few minutes, and I crack jokes about landing in a neighbors pool in the next town over. "Your pretty relaxed for someone who is scared on a ladder, you know..." Alex laughs. I donno, it was something different, there was no fear, just falling, just...being free I guess. It was exactly what I needed to get my head back to normal. I think about that moment every single day.
    Basically what this whole post is about is exactly like the Black Swan quote. You have to lose yourself, you have to let go and be free at points in your life. Even if your scared, you have to remember that it is only for a brief moment. Skydiving was just that. I surrendered myself to something greater than myself and just let go. It was the greatest moment of my life. I smile even now, a week later, because it gave me a feeling I never knew could exist. Every happy feeling came together in 60 seconds and I got to experience it with someone really special. It was remarkable. Who knows, maybe a few more tries and I'll be like this guy:

    Have a great week everyone. Cheers!

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