Oops: I Forgot to Pack My Parachute!

New Meditation of the Month Is HERE

For the last four years, every morning I’ve drawn an Angel Card from the app, usually before getting out of bed.

There have been many dazzling synchronicities and tons of helpful reminders.

And yet I find the Angel Card for this month––Faith––slightly terrifying.

Does having faith really require daredevil circus tricks?

And, more importantly, must we demonstrate faith by risking our lives.

In other words, does faith require abandoning a safety net?

As I recorded the new Meditation of the Month on Faith HERE, I thought about the popular inspirational quote:

Leap and the net will appear.

I wondered who first said it.

Turns out it was John Burroughs, who I’d never heard of before but quickly learned was a turn of the century naturalist who was friends with all the greats: Theodore Roosevelt, Walt Whitman, Thomas Edison, and Henry Ford (who gave him a car).

And even though he’s usually pictured as a wizened, bearded sage, in his 20s he seems much more like a poetic rock star / fashion model.

But still…

I feel I’ve often leapt without a net––moving across country for graduate school with an empty wallet, for example––and sometimes the net that sorta appeared was more than a little threadbare.

I’ve had my share of very rough landings, in other words.

John Burroughs, looking great while waiting for the net to appear

I’ve gone to many transformational workshops (ie, “Crackpot Heaven”) where Esther Hicks channeling Abraham has told some version of this anecdote:

“It’s like you say to us, ‘Abraham, I’ve fallen out of an airplane and I have no parachute, what should I do now?’ And we say, ‘Hang on, it will be over in just a minute.“

It always gets a laugh and there is a legit point I suppose:

Once a significant amount of momentum is underway, no amount of positive thinking is going to change the outcome…

And yet…

Since I’ve been feeling lately that I (once again) forgot to pack my parachute I decided to do a little research.

Specifically, what happens in that exact situation when you fall (or are pushed) out of a plane sans parachute.

Fascinatingly, there are many stories of people who actually miraculously survive the free-fall experience.

Take Alan Magee.

He was an American soldier who fell four miles in 1943 from a damaged B-17 bomber in World War II, crashing through the glass roof of the St. Nazaire train station in France.

Or the all-time record holder Vesna Vulović.

She was a flight attendant who was the sole survivor of a plane bombing in 1972.

She fell over 6 miles, landing in a snow forest in Czechoslovakia, probably saved by being trapped by a food cart at a freakish angle.

But still…is this really the standard that’s required when it comes to “having a little faith?”

Surviving a plane crash is wonderful…but where are all those nets that John Burroughs promised us would mysteriously appear when we needed them?

I want to thank everyone who’s written to congratulate me and Vlad on our new life together.

Some brief but vital updates.

Crate training has been an absolute triumph.

Housebreaking as well––one week without an accident!

Next challenges include a less “exuberant” response on the leash whenever some dazzling new adventure (usually another friendly dog) presents itself.

And…as brilliant as he is, Vlad’s only now just beginning to understand the concept of fetch.

Chasing the ball he’s mastered completely.

But for the game to continue, he needs to understand he actually has to return it and Let Go.

The equation needs to be balanced, in other words.

I’m not worried.

I’m sure he’ll learn to trust that the ball will indeed be coming right back to him, that another adventure is just around the corner, provided he’s first willing to let go.

Simply put, to achieve a successful game of fetch, Vladimir has to develop a little faith.

Vlad and his sister Dua playing Tug of War
(pretty much the exact opposite of Fetch)

Over the last two decades, I must have assisted several hundred people in dropping back into Wheel Pose.

That means they stand in front of me, and with a carefully given assist, I guide them down safely and then back up.

I always make sure I have the student’s full focus, asking them “Are you ready?”

And…despite invariable affirmative responses, as I tip someone back, many times they will reach out and grab my bicep, thereby preventing the process from happening.

They’re willing…but they’re (understandably) afraid of letting go and falling backwards.

Each time, I have to gently remind them that for this physical experience to actually happen, they cannot cling to me.

Having done it hundreds of times, I know I can support them safely.

Nonetheless, it’s entirely up to them.

Unless they let go first, unless they exercise a little faith, nothing can happen.

This is from an actual amazing Dropping Back workshop I taught.

Sometimes it’s very hard to know what we even need to have faith in.

A specific deity?

The “Universe”?

A trusted companion or community?

Ourselves?

Right now, there’s a lot of uncertainty in my life––which is mostly because of all the tremendous new and exciting possibilities.

I’m sure the same is probably true for you.

So what level of faith is required now for you and for me?

Jumping out of airplanes without parachutes…trusting our yoga teacher…or letting go of whatever tennis ball we’ve proudly caught?

I do like the Angel Card’s definition of Faith:

The unshakeable knowing of the heart

when nothing makes sense to the mind.

And perhaps even more importantly:

Optimism is an expression of faith in action.

Indeed, that’s something worth exploring together.

In that spirit, (even though perhaps I once again forgot to pack my parachute), I’m willing to let go of a few tennis balls I’m clutching and I invite you to do the same.

Remember, whatever’s happening, if Vesna Vulović can survive, so can we.

Namaste for Now,

P.S. Enjoy the Meditation of the Month HERE…although I don’t encourage it as a substitute for packing your parachute first!

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