A Jump of Faith, by Carol Le Neveu
I'd been backpacking through New Zealand,
having left my law practice two months
earlier. The trip was a continuation
of the journey of the self-discovery
I'd been on for the last two and a half
years. I'd become a self-help junkie,
as I tried desperately to figure out
what I wanted to do with my life, reading
dozens of books, attended scores of workshops
and lectures. It was difficult to practice
family law while undergoing this intense
inner searching, so I gave myself a deadline
of Christmas 1996, at which time I planned
to leave law behind and take refuge in
the green and clean land of the kiwi.
In addition to being an oasis of beauty,
New Zealand is a thrill seeker's paradise.
At every stop, travelers are bombarded
with ads for a myriad of outdoor adventures.
Bungy jumping, white-water rafting, caving
sand dune tobogganing. I had decided to
do a glacier hike, a wild speedboat ride,
some cave walking, maybe a helicopter tour.
As for the really dangerous, really radical
stuff, no thank you. I like my feet on
So then why is it that everywhere I went
I couldn't take my eyes off the ads for
tandem skydiving? Why was I so incredibly
drawn to the ads considering it was something
that I was never going to do?!!
The small town of Taupo, New Zealand,
on the shores of beautiful Lake Taupo,
is famous for its tandem skydiving. On
my travels to Taupo, New Zealand, a force
seemed to come over me. Before I realized
what I was doing, I'd signed up for a jump,
scheduled for the next day. As the evening
wore on, the enormity of my decision began
to weigh on me. What had I done? Was I
completely mad? Had I forgotten about the
article in the paper three weeks earlier
about the tandem pair whose parachute had
failed to open? Right here in Taupo?
I could still back out "No.. I had
backed down on too many challenges in my
life. I felt very certain of one thing." I
had to do this.
That night I couldn't sleep. I was a nervous
wreck. My stomach was in knots, my heart
was racing. In my mind, I was falling,
trying to grasp thin air. My breakthrough
finally came at five in the morning. What
was I afraid of? Death. Yes, it was death
that scared me. Suddenly I saw my life.
I had lived well. I had loved. I had laughed.
I had cried. I had pushed through my fears
and doubts and had left the legal world
for the thrill of an unknown future. I
already was a success. Jumping out of an
airplane had been the one thing I thought
I would never do. Now I was doing it. If
I died, I would die knowing that I had
overcome the greatest fear of my life.
A calm descended over my body, and I fell
into a sound sleep.
The next morning we drove out to the airfield.
No paved runways, just grass. In the hangar,
I saw the plane. That's the plane? It had
one seat for the pilot and a few feet of
floor space for the jumpers. No standing
room, just sitting on the floor. I paid
my money, signed a waiver, put on my coveralls,
soft helmet and goggles, and tried to stay
calm. Impossible. My heart was pounding.
Every nerve was on end.
Ascending, I tried to think about where
I was and what I was about to do. Just
going on a nice airplane ride. My tandem
guide Greg strapped me to his body. He
was behind me. He had the parachute. In
about seven minutes we were up to our prescribed
altitude of 10,000 feet. The door flew
open. The first pair of jumpers edged their
way over to the door. In a second they
were gone. Now it was our turn. Without
thinking, I shuffled to the door. Don't
look down. Two miles of nothing. Sitting
in the doorway, I hooked my legs under
the body of the plane. Greg yelled out "Big
banana" and I arched my back. He yelled
something else and we were gone.
We were falling, everything was spinning.
In a few moments, we stabilized. Two bodies
spreadeagled, horizontally rushing through
space. Soon we hit terminal velocity, 200
kilometres an hour. 1000 feet every five
seconds. It didn't feel like we were falling
anymore, rather that we were suspended
in midair, except the wind was roaring
in my ears, the pressure on my face incredible
and the ground was getting closer. 30 seconds
of free fall. Suddenly I felt a gentle
tug and we were upright. The chute had
opened. Thank you Greg, thank you God.
There was a perfect silence and we floated
down softly. With shaky hands, I took my
camera out of my coveralls and snapped
a few photos. After a smooth landing, I
hugged Greg, and thanked him for his strength,
his skill and his calm reassurance.
Back in town, I was walking on clouds.
I had done it! I knew in that moment that
I was forever changed. I had faced my greatest
fear. I had jumped out of an airplane.
I knew that there was nothing, nothing,
I could not do. I hadn't become fearless.
Just courageous. While I still couldn't
see the particulars, I knew my life was
about to begin.
That courage allowed me to acknowledge
my greatness. That courage emboldened me
several months later to begin my own business
as a holistic career consultant and life
purpose coach. While Career Conscious Consulting
operates in Toronto, it had its genesis
in Taupo. I know why I was irresistibly
drawn to those ads. Knowing what was in
store for me, my higher self was preparing
me, helping me to develop the courage I
would need to live my dreams. And now when
I speak to groups, or to my clients, I
share this advice. Listen to your intuition.
Follow your leads. Face your fear and trust.
The universe will bring you everything
you need. I guarantee it!
back to Conscious