Jumping off Waterfalls in Mauritius
It all began with Curiosity – What’s it like to freefall off a 35-feet high cliff? Then came The Fears – teasing as always. And as an all-important yet unwelcome Guest-of-Honour, in walked Common Sense – getting right to the point and asking what was at stake here. Was the experience worth the risk? And then this happened:
Rochester Falls, Mauritius
Disclaimer: Exercise caution. Results may vary
And as life would have it, someone up there really likes me and I lived to blog the tale.
Call it a leap of faith or a crossing of the fine line between bravery and stupidity, a year later this is a memory of one of my wildest moments – one long moment – that serves as a reminder to me that I’m bigger than my fears and that life has my back. Took a good half hour and watching others leap and gleefully survive, before I finally mustered the right mix of nerve, excitement and propulsion to throw myself off the slippery edge. Reaching the water below took longer than I’d expected. I remember wondering on the way down – like a restless kid on a road trip – “Are we there yet?”
After what seemed like a looong free-fall, I hit the water hard enough to sink way low. Took forever to clamber up to the surface again, gasping and grateful for every morsel of air I could grab at. For someone with well-entrenched fears of heights, drowning, accidents, injuries and what-have-you, this was about facing those fears rather than an adrenaline rush. A leap off my fears as much as a leap off the rocks. A leap I could trust, thanks to the many brave locals and fellow travelers who made it look doable and ‘survivable’ when done a certain ‘right’ way with that rare superpower called common sense.
I don’t advocate jumping off cliffs to face fears, but we all have moments when something that has long been quietly knocking inside finally propels us outside our comfort zone – and the longer that quiet inner knocking, the more drastic the propulsion is likely to be. After metaphorical cliff-jumps in life (career choices, matters of the heart, and other ‘big’ life decisions), an actual physical cliff-jump felt like the next stanza in my song, not a mindless adrenaline shot for the heck of it. Years down the line, I’m glad to report that the song has grown louder, wiser and richer with every turn of phrase and wheel. I marvel at how potent a certain mix of curiosity, conviction and common sense can be when you let it propel your choices.
Nowadays I’m working on free-falling out of the rat race I find myself in. And that seems like a bigger risk – with a more thrilling reward – than any waterfall in the world could promise. As Tom Petty sang – I’m gonna free fall out into nothing, Gonna leave this world for a while.
May you make, sing and live your song as fully as your spirit desires – not one stanza less. Isn’t that the whole point of it all?