I do this thing where I let myself stay in the shower after doing all the necessary sudsing and rinsing. I stay blissfully immersed in the hot water until the current song on the radio is over. Sometimes that gives me an extra three minutes of glorious steamy reflection time and sometimes it gives me 30 seconds. It depends on how long the song has been playing prior to finishing my washing routine. Sometimes on the weekends I give myself the added luxury of staying under the soothing spray for another entire song. During these free-association-think bonanzas I often come up with ideas for posts, solutions to minor problems or splendid smiley daydreams.
As pleasurable as the shower is, at some point I have to turn off the water and get out. I have to move from warm and comfy to cool and alert. I have to turn off the possibilities, visions and ideas and get to work.
Cozy life of routine
I had a comfortable and stable life as a married, stay-at-home-mom, living in the suburbs. I followed the blueprint for traditional home-life by striving to put others first and making things outwardly picture-perfect. I got lost in the ease of it, in the wash, rinse, repeat routine.
I used to cry in the shower. It was the only time I had to myself.
I couldn’t be naked and vulnerable within the marriage or within our lifestyle. I felt stymied. My introversion was misunderstood and not valued (by me and my family). I knew I couldn’t keep on living counter to my values. I used to read Jason Mraz’s blog for inspiration and laughter. In one of his posts he quoted John Burroughs and said, Leap and the net will appear. It became clearer and clearer to me I was going to have to make a change and leap into uncertainty. I did. The marriage ended and a new, more exposed, less routine life began.
Jumping and crashing on the rocks with Steve Harvey
Many of you may have seen the above video of comedian and Family Feud host, Steve Harvey, talking to the Feud audience about jumping. At some point in your life, he says, You have to jump. He urges the audience to take a chance and truly exercise the gift they were given. Don’t settle for mediocre, go for being the best you can be. Leap off that edge. He talks about crash landing and getting torn up on the rocks the first few times you jump, but that just makes you stronger and the ability to soar, that much sweeter.
How long before you let yourself do what you’re meant to do?
For a few years I played at writing. I wrote weekly blog posts. I took classes at the local literary center. I got published in an online magazine or two. I stayed safe and comfortable within my no-pressure, no-real-risk, writing. I treated it like a hobby I had to master. I worked writing and research in around everyone and everything else, including kids, home maintenance and dating. I even wrote about embracing uncertainty and experiencing joyfear. It took me almost four years before I stopped gathering inspiration, information, time management skills, blog followers and courage. Almost four years before I jumped. Almost four years before I felt confident enough to apply my collected writing knowledge and experience to coaching.
Now every day when I work with clients, I am risk-taking. I am putting myself out there, subject to judgment and failure. I am using my gift and it’s scary but also exhilarating. Sometimes I think to myself during client sessions, I’m really doing this! It feels so aligned with who I am.
The best part? I get to help others jump.
Leaping from childhood to adulthood
Many never take any of these potential enormous leaps, and consequently many do not ever really grow up at all. — M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled
My son recently told his dad and me that he has his heart set on a less traditional career path. He will still go to college but the years post-college will involve more survival tactics than cubicle inhabiting. It took a lot of guts for my son to make his dream plan known, especially because he knew it would be counter to our expectations. At 16, he beat me to jumping by 25 years. I guess kids do grow up faster these days. I am thrilled for him and intend to champion him all the way.
The plunge of real love
My man has always wanted to do one of Minnesota’s winter traditions, the polar plunge — leaping into freezing lake water while spectators watch. He asked me to do it last year after we had only been dating a few months. Not being a real fan of icy water and cold in general (i.e. the aforementioned affinity for hot showers), I declined. I wasn’t ready. This year when he brought it up again, initially asking if my son would do it with him (I assume he thought I would still be averse to it), I said I’d like to do it too.
During the last year with my man, our relationship moved from the giddy and heady honeymoon phase of no confrontation and masking imperfections to the giddy and heady real love phase of conflict management and revealing vulnerability. We’ve learned truths about each other. We’ve crashed on the rocks a few times and recovered. We’ve shown we are in it for the long haul. We cheer when the other one jumps or we jump together. Within this relationship we’ve each expressed a willingness to leap, crash and learn.
We haven’t done the polar plunge yet, but we will. We’re ready.
Are you using your gift? Are you waiting to jump? Have you leapt and survived? How are you stepping out of lulling warmth into a bracing existence?
If you would like to make a leap in your life and want an encouraging coach to cheer for and challenge you, sign up here on my coaching page.