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Heart of the Soul

Jodi Chapman - The LeapImagine that you’re standing at the edge of the ocean. Bare feet, sun shining. You take a few steps into the water and allow the waves to wash over your toes and splash around your ankles. You look down and see pebbles of sand and vibrantly colored seashells. You feel absolutely alive and absolutely free. It feels good to step into the water and get your toes wet.

Maybe you’re even proud of yourself for stepping in. Maybe you’re a bit afraid of the ocean, but you feel that these small steps into it are safe. Maybe you feel that because you can see the surface and because the water isn’t deep, you’re okay.

Let’s now imagine that you walk just a few small steps deeper into the ocean. And immediately the water changes. Immediately there is a dropoff – an abyss. The water is darker, and you can’t see the bottom. With just one step off of the ledge, you would be swimming in the unknown. You would be taking a leap of faith. You would be completely trusting in something outside of yourself to keep you safe.

What would you do? Would you back away and stay in the shallow end – where you can see every step in front of you? Or would you step off of the ledge and see what the unknown holds? 

On the first day of our honeymoon, my husband and I got into a boat that led us into the middle of the ocean. Our intent was to jump out of the boat and swim with wild dolphins. I’d always been fascinated by them and drawn to them, and I had been looking forward to this moment for quite some time. The dolphins followed our boat out and seemed to be waiting for us to get out and play with them. I jumped into the water, and it felt like a dark abyss. I couldn’t see the bottom. I could only see what was right in front of me – these beautiful animals with their happy faces and silly antics. But this feeling of not knowing what was happening underneath me and of not feeling in control of my surroundings caused me to panic. I couldn’t breathe and my mask began filling with water. I immediately climbed back into the boat and stayed there for the rest of the afternoon (completely seasick).

I wasn’t ready to take that leap into the unknown – with the dolphins or in my life. I played it safe. I liked to pretend that I was in complete control of my life. The abyss terrified me, and I just couldn’t bring myself to swim in it – to be a part of it. Even if it meant that I would miss out on such a lovely opportunity to be with these amazing dolphins.

My husband, on the other hand, enjoyed himself immensely. He swam and swam and watched them play around him – whizzing by him and spinning around him. He was able to let go and enjoy the moment. He didn’t need to know what was happening in the hundreds of feet of water underneath him. He didn’t need to see clear water hundreds of feet in front of him. He was able to stay present and simply enjoy exactly where he was.

When we went off-shore snorkeling a couple of days later, I was so happy to do it – as long as I knew that I could swim back to the shore if I needed to. I was never more than a couple of minutes away from being able to touch the bottom, which felt like a welcome security blanket for me. I enjoyed the experience without needing to take a full leap. I took baby steps (or strokes), and it felt just right.

The abyss can be a scary place. Some of us will leap right into it without any hesitation. And some of us will feel trepidation and fear around leaping and may get there by taking baby steps and working up to leaping. Some of us may never leap at all.

To me, the abyss represents my faith. It represents my purpose and my soul’s whispers. It represents being guided and led and being brave enough to follow. It represents knowing that I am always loved and cared for and always trusting that.

My faith has grown immensely since my honeymoon 10 years ago. I have taken so many leaps since then, and I plan to take many more. And while I’m not sure I would jump out of the boat now if I had the chance to do it all over again, I will say that I would be much more likely to. But I would first take baby steps into the water and get used to easing my fears in small ways little by little. That way, the big leap won’t seem as big or as scary.

I would love to hear your experiences about leaping into the abyss, too. I believe that it’s such a huge part of our journey here on Earth: being brave enough to say yes and to jump into the unknown. To push ourselves past our comfort zones and embrace whatever it is that we fear. But to know that it’s okay to leap immediately or take baby steps to get us there. We’re all different, and the loving abyss doesn’t care how we get there – just that we do. 🙂

Hugs,

Jodi

 

about jodi
Jodi Chapman is a bestselling author, an award-winning blogger, and a soulful community builder. She lives her life with love and faith in the driver’s seat, and she hopes to leave a trail of inspiration wherever she goes. She believes that we each have the ability to hear our soul’s whisper and create our best lives. She would love to connect with you!

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