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Yesterday, I flew for the first time at iFLY indoor skydiving. Every year we get together with a small group of friends in a different place for a short vacation. We always schedule something adventurous on one of the days and this year it was iFLY!
I didn’t expect to enjoy it so much. After all, I’m a scuba diver who doesn’t much like wind. But I unexpectedly fell in love with the experience and am already planning to do it again.
The sensation of being lifted by the wind echoed the sensation of buoyancy I experience in the water, which is one of my favorite sensations in life.
When I shared my thoughts about buoyancy with my instructor, Eddie, he got it from the inside out because he experiences the same thing when he flies. Even though my medium is water and his, wind, the experience transcends both spaces.
My friend, I want you to have this experience, too. This is the deeper reason behind why I coach: to support women in cultivating a direct experience of buoyancy in their life, whatever it looks like to them.
What I call buoyancy is that sweet spot between effort and allowing where we have the experience of feeling fully supported and we’re in flow with what’s happening moment by moment.
It’s a state of being out of control and in control at the same time.
It’s out of control because the thing moving and supporting us is infinitely more powerful than we are and in order to have buoyancy we have to let go into it.
It’s in control because we’re not passive. We have our part to do in order to set ourselves up to hit the sweet spot of effortless buoyancy.
In diving, our part involves getting the weights and air level right in our gear so that we’re not floating away or having to kick to keep from sinking.
In indoor skydiving, our part involves holding our body in the optimal position, which requires a fair amount of effort. If we’re off-center, or too loosey-goosey, we end up flailing around and potentially getting smacked into the walls of the wind tunnel.
In life, our part involves cultivating present moment awareness. It’s knowing when to effort and when to allow, and being willing to adjust what we’re doing on the fly to meet whatever’s showing up in the moment.
Yesterday, when I hit the sweet spot for the first time in my flight, I felt a soaring sensation in my heart, and a huge smile spread across my face. I learned that the sensation of buoyancy I experience in the water is available in the air, too.
What attracts me to these extreme sports? They invite the mind to stop its chatter and get present because they take us out of our regular bodily experience of being land-based creatures.
When we’re fully present, we access the place where buoyancy lives. We land in that sweet spot between effort and allowing. We have the visceral experience of being held by something much larger than us.
I think we’re all hungry for more buoyancy in our lives. Getting buoyant builds resilience in the face of adversity. It also builds our ability to meet the unexpected with trust because we’ve had a direct experience of being held and supported.
If our tendency is to grip too hard and control too much, getting buoyant allows us to release our grip and relax, knowing we're held.
If our tendency is to go too passive, getting buoyant teaches us to meet life with agency and the appropriate amount of effort.
There’s no one way to get buoyant. The way will be different for each of us. Our work is to figure out our unique pathway and groove it into our daily experience, so that we experience buoyancy as often as possible, no matter the circumstances around us.
What’s your experience of buoyancy and how do you get yourself there? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
© 2019 Marie-Elizabeth Mali | All Rights Reserved
Images of Marie-Elizabeth by In Her Image Photography