Transitioning: Base Jumping vs. Paragliding

Image by Gerhard G. from Pixabay

“The bad news is you’re falling through the air, nothing to hang on to, no parachute.
The good news is there’s no ground.”

Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche.

When I was a kid, my parents took my sister and I to the Cité des Sciences, in Paris. My sister and I went to watch a movie in the Geode Imax: a theatre with a spectacular 180° view.

For some reason, we chose a movie on base-jumping. As I sat in my seat, at the top rows of the theatre, I had vertigo simply looking at the seat rows below me. I looked at the screen, I was living that experience fully.

In the documentary, a man was standing at the edge of a cliff, preparing for a base-jump. Till this day, I still remember what terrified me the most. It was not seeing the void in front of him. It was hearing his heavy breathing, amplified with the Imax’s super sound system. Hearing his breathing, which conveyed DEEP FEAR, gave me the chills. I was deeply afraid too, and found myself almost clinging to my Imax seat. I was afraid that if I didn’t, I would fall on the person below me in the theatre !

The Joys of paragliding

My sister and I have an agreement that we take at least one week of holidays together each year. A few years after the Imax experience, we went to Turkey. We spent some lovely time in Istanbul, and then went down the coast to beautiful Ölüdeniz to enjoy the seaside. We saw people paragliding in the sky, and came across the paragliding shop. I was afraid. My sister said: we should do it ! Deep inside, I knew I needed to do it. But I was afraid.

We started asking information to one of the members of the shop, and they had two spots left for the 12:00 flight. We asked him for a bit of time to think about it. We had about 15 minutes to think things through. I hate making decisions on short notice (intuitives need more time to process things. If you’re an intuitive, the more time you can take, the better your decision). I started to ponder in my mind, the pros and the cons, how I felt, and whether I would regret it if I didn’t go for that experience. My sister was awesome and put 0 pressure on me. Half-reluctantly, I decided to go for it. I felt fear, all the way up the mountain in the minivan that drove us to the take-off spot.

We had bought a pair of socks to fit in the shoes they would lend us (we were wearing flip-flops – not the best to paraglide). At the top of the mountain, I met my instructor, and asked him if I could go pee before the flight. He let me go, and when I came back, I asked for a pair of shoes. He told me: OK, but you are going to listen to what I tell you. OK?

I said “Yes” and complied.

He commanded:

“Now, you are going to shut up and say nothing. When I tell you to walk, you walk. Don’t run. OK? And when I tell you to sit, you sit.”

He equipped me with the paraglider, and equipped himself too. He said:

“Now, walk.”

We walked towards the edge of the mountain.

He said:

“Now, sit.”

I sat in the seat of the paraglider.

My feet lifted off the ground. I had the realization that we were flying.

It was not scary, it actually felt great ! It felt like being in a kind of swing in the air, almost like in a dream.

And I still had my flip-flops on…

It was a lovely experience (and scary, when the instructor did a few aerial acrobatics). But a lot of fun. No regrets.

It didn’t feel like falling.

If you want to have a sense of the fun & smoothness, have a look at our video from back then:

Funny enough, this experience echoed with a dream I had one night:

 I was at the top of a cliff, and I was going to run to the edge. I was afraid I was going to fall, but when I actually jumped, I flew, and it was great ! I flew down that cliff, and actually met my girlfriend from that time on a beach down below ! That dream was a great reflection of the Apollinaire poem that I shared in my article on living vs LIVING !

Well, transitions don’t have to be like base-jumping. They can be smooth, like paragliding.

You don’t have to be 100% ready, you can fly with your flip-flops on, you’ll be fine and will have a great story to tell.

Fly when you are 70% ready.

Get some support. Without my sister, and this instructor who had jumped dozens of times, I would probably not have jumped, nor would I have known what to do. It was good to simply follow the instructions, sit back and relax !

What if the jump was easy?

If you are wondering How to Jump, you can read this article.

If you would like to learn more about the Spiderman approach to transitioning, vs the Viking way, read this article by Rich Litvin.

If you need support for your jump, reach out to me and tell me more.

I am an expert at both professional and life transitions, and would be glad to support you.

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