This jump was super scary. Got up at 5 am, went to the school, drove to the spot as the sun was coming up. I was crazy focussed. My mind kept trying to default to thoughts like ‘what the fuck are you doing?’ and things of that nature. I literally started talking to myself out loud (but not loud enough for others to hear) saying over and over again ‘I am in control, everything is fine’ and I was able to win the battle. People always say that the biggest battles you face are between the ears and BASE reminds me of that every time I put on my rig.
Thoughts of death are never very far during all the pre jump preparations but after you exit all that disappears. The feeling of stepping off knowing that you cannot go back is something that is near impossible to describe with words. And when that chute opens its like being reborn. When I look up at the sky it’s like I’m seeing it for the first time, smelling the air, and taking a deep breath. It all feels like it’s new and I have a new appreciation for it all.
I am gradually starting to be able to have that mentality with things outside of BASE. Taking more time to notice and appreciate my surroundings and be truly present which is really cool.
Been gradually getting back into training more and more the past few weeks. I find that I can comfortably do 3-4 days a week but my shoulder gets pretty aggravated if I push it too much. In general things feel really good and I’m in a good place mentally with all of it.
Playing around with Turkish Get Ups here. I love the weird stuff :)
I’m happy to say that I am back in the habit of reading every morning which I fell out of for months. I would almost go so far to say I didn’t’ read a page of a book for almost 3 months. With opening my new gym and starting to BASE jump I had a lot going on in my mind and personal development just got pushed to the side for a while but the fire is burning again.
Even though I haven’t been reading much the past few months I feel like I have grown a crazy amount mentally. Standing at a cliffs edge and or climbing Antennas really does put a lot of things in perspective and I am loving the journey.
I’ve started to re-read some books I read in the past vs always seeking out new ones. This has given me a rebirth of sorts in my quest for self mastery. Becoming more aware of my behavior, the language I use when speaking to others, and how my brain is working is all stuff that I want to refine more and more over time.
Last year I almost rushed every book I read in an effort to ‘arrive’ at a place of centeredness and balance. This is of course unattainable but the magic is in the pursuit as with everything.
Other goals I am working on at the moment
- not using my computer and or phone in bed. This has been a really hard one but I’m a week deep!
- not brining my phone on dates with my wife or when I walk my dog. This one has been a real challenge also but it’s getting more and more consistent.
- only checking my email twice a day. This one has been a real challenge also but gradually getting more consistent. Being addicted to Facebook, instagram, and email is something I am guilty of and I am committed to breaking free. There is nothing happing in the virtual world that is really that important.
I love all the above platforms but checking my phone obsessively is not something that is improving the quality of my life.
In Susan Jeffer’s book Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway (go buy it now and thank me later) the first Fear Truth as she calls it is: The Fear will never go away as long as I continue to grow. As everything in my life evolves – my marriage, my business, my personal relationships, my personal missions, and whatever else you want to include I am constantly hit with road blocks that are rooted in Fear.
As I progress through the different levels with everything Fear is never far away and the as you get more successful in a particular the fear and risk comes along with it. I’ve mentioned before that my goal used to be to become fearless. This was my quest in confronting things that scared me. Over time (and with the help of the above book – seriously, go buy it) I’ve realized that becoming fearless is impossible. Now, it’s possible to overcome certain fears by repeating the activity enough but if your goal is constant growth and progress (As long as I continue to grow) then you will never fully overcome it as your goals will always evolve and there will be new things to be scared of. I’ve experienced this more than anything else since starting jumping in 2012.
Coming up on two years since I got my license its been a crazy journey and I’ve enjoyed every second of it so far.
Some of the mental hurdles were:
- When driving to the Dropzone to initially learn how to skydive I used to secretly wish that the weather would turn bad so I wouldn’t be able to jump. Funnily enough this happened a few times and I would drive home disappointed.
- On the plane ride up to altitude I literally almost pissed myself a couple times and almost had a panic attack once. Thoughts popping in my head like “Get the fuck off the plane now!”
- Lying awake in bed at night wondering if it was all worth it and why don’t I just stay in bed in the morning and be safe.
- Kissing my wife goodbye in the early am and wondering if that is the last time I will ever see her.
- Shivering in my car before my first balloon jump wondering what the fuck I was doing.
- Standing in the middle of the Bridge in disbelief that I was going to jump off it the next day. – In the back seat of a Navigator listening to AC/DC Hells Bells on the way to jump off my first cliff.
- Looking down a 500′ ladder after climbing up it and secretly hoping that I could just teleport back down to safety. The fear is ever evolving as I continue to grow. Its a strange feeling to try and articulate but in all the above moments of crazy stress it ended up being balanced with crazy inner peace.
A lot of people have asked me why I do it if it scares me so much and I guess I have become addicted to overcoming the fear. I feel like each time I overcome a situation I am terrified of I gain more inner strength and I try to translate that in other areas of my life. Last week I did my first total solo BASE jump which was an amazing/terrifying experience. I got up early, drove to the spot, climbed, and jumped, totally by myself. Talk about an empowering way to start your day! Literally nothing could fuck with me the rest of the day.
All of the normal stresses of daily life simply got wiped clean and I was ready for any situation. The mental battle battle leading up the moment I actually jumped was one of constant back and forth. I literally didn’t know if I was going to do it until about 30secs before I stepped off. My constant internal fight with myself gives me the strength to overcome anything, or least makes me believe I can which is half the battle. Using the above example seems pretty extreme as I am in some regard staring death right in the face with the activities I choose to participate in. Having said that I feel like the concept of facing up to the things that scare you and overcoming them will lead to tremendous growth no matter what it is.
“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit at home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” ~Dale Carnegie
It’s easy to just read the above and just nod your head but overcoming the internal voice that is screaming at you to walk away is easier said that done. That’s why you need to read this book! $7 to change your life? Pretty good deal. I know you will thank me later for the recommendation. I’ve been listening to this Ian Brown song since I was 13 or so and have never heard it on the radio or from anyone else. The song is called FEAR and each sentence in the song Spells out the word FEAR from the first letter of each word. Genius! For each a road For everyman a religion Find everybody and rule For everything and rumble Forget everything and remember For everything a reason Forgive everybody and remember
I’ve been very reluctant to post this video publicly. Partially because I didn’t want the attention and criticism it will bring and partly because I didn’t want to frighten those who are close to me. As time has passed I think thats its important to show the bad as well as the good. I’ve posted a lot of jumping vids over the past couple years and its been all fun and high fives but there is obviously a dark side to it as well.
Having said that I have openly accepted the consequences of my actions and fully understand the risks involved. Taking everything into consideration I still choose to do it and will do so until I decide that its no longer worth it.
Just to give a little background on the jump in question.
This was my 9th day in Idaho and this jump was my 3rd or 4th that particular day. We jumped a 270′ cliff at sunrise then did a couple jumps off the bridge for practice and waited for sunset to go to this cliff. When jumping cliffs you typically want little to no wind and based on the forecast thats how it worked out that day.
We drove out to the spot and then walked to the exit point which was about 15mins away. I was extremely confident when we arrived at the exit. I had been visualizing the jump for days after seeing JP (one of the course instructors) do it earlier in the week and I felt ready.
There were two of us jumping – myself and Andy. I opted to go first as he had gone first on a cliff jump that morning.
I visualized what I had to do and then it was game on.
As focused and as present as I thought I was I made an error in judgement. I overstepped my launch foot on exit and the video tells the rest of the story.
Recently there was a fatality on the cliff in question and I have decided to make the video private as I don’t want to publicize the site in question.
Even though the entire time from when I left the edge to when my parachute was flying in a safe direction only took 5 seconds or so it felt like an eternity.
Time slowed down and I have never felt more alive and in control that I have been in those few seconds. I know its a fucked up thing to say and hard to comprehend but as I was flying away from the cliff all I was thinking about was doing it again.
One of the first things I did after dragging my canopy out of the water was get on the radio and say ‘I want a do over!’ to which I got the response ‘I bet you do, Good job not dying’.
Once Andy had landed we packed up our stuff, swam to the other side of the river and hiked out. We went back to the school for a little rest then went and jumped an Antenna that night at like 2 in the morning. I had a brake malfunction on that jump and ended up having a really hard landing and hurt my back.
I was pretty much out of commission at that point but I couldn’t stop thinking about my mistake on the cliff and how I wanted to go back and do it. I knew that if I went home without doing it that it would haunt me forever. I got some broken sleep on the couch at the school and headed back to the cliff the following morning. I was in a lot of pain but nothing was going to stop me from doing it.
The jump went off without issue and I couldn’t have been happier when I landed safely on the ground. I had decided before the jump that it would be my last of the trip so I was able to lick my wounds and relax.
Although I was pretty mad as myself for my error in judgement I’m actually very grateful for the way everything worked out as I had the opportunity to put into practice what I had done in training.
I’m excited, and equally terrified for the journey to continue.
My last update on this blog was almost 3 months ago. Considering I updated it almost everyday for three years thats a long time with no update.
Cool video my friend made from a couple weeks ago. I’m in it a few times flying on my back