"Sometimes your only available transportation is a leap of faith."
This classic quote is inscribed on the cover of my two-year-old journal, which has chronicled my many interesting and often comical leaps of faith. The more I think about it, the more the term "leap" doesn't make the cut. It sounds too dainty when push comes to shove. Allow me to rephrase: I've been taking delirious, sky-diving jumps of faith -- sometimes executing the perfect landing and often the perfect, mortifying face plant. The lesson behind all these deep, faith-induced jumps is I've learned that I succeed even when I fail. "Failure" is only a reminder of how to get back up and try again -- but this time with a different approach. It can be a gentle reminder that it wasn't quite right -- but perhaps try another way? Or, it often rears its demanding head to remind us we've steered off track from our true goals and need to reassess the situation. Don't view these moments as failure, but rather the universe's way of keeping you true to who you want to be or where you want to go. Either way, there's no such thing as failure; it's simply a mindset.
My mindset got thrown a curveball when I had my first bout with depression this summer. My ability to see the sunny side of the coin was clouded with my focus on what was lacking in my life. I was struck with a mystery case of vertigo that no one could heal. My physical yoga practice and well-being collapsed from it, along with my ability to be optimistic. My love life was a train-wreck at best, and the light at the end of the tunnel seemed to be maniacally running away from me. Failure lured me into its dirty bed, and I started to burrow deep.
Time, amazing friends, life and a shift of attitude eventually pulled me from beneath the sheets, and I came out refreshed and inspired. I have an absolutely luminous friend who juggles an amazing life in Charleston, S.C. She runs a boutique called Cose Belle, founded a deliciously divine cookie company called, YesUmay Cookies, and is in the middle of planning a wedding with her amazing partner and man of her dreams. I often look at her with stardust in my eyes and wonder how she does it all with a smile on her face with the essence of laughter constantly surrounding her. I longed to know her secret ingredient.
It turned out to be rather simple and something that was already in me: being authentic and setting intention every day. Not once a week at church, not when you unroll your yoga mat, but every, single morning. Wake up with gratitude for all the amazing gifts in your life and also for everything you desire that hasn't arrived yet. She even had the artistic genius to use a metallic sharpie on her bathroom mirror, writing out daily affirmations that set her off on the right foot. Artistic, shimmery and inspiring!
She sent me this photo on 1-11-11 hoping to give me that extra boost of love and confidence. This is what she attached below the picture.
So, I have this picture as my screen saver. I adore it for so many reasons.
- It is the greatest way to start the day, a dance party on your bed...
- It reminds me to not take life so damn seriously.
- Let's be honest: jumping is my favorite thing to do, no secret to you!
- Lastly and quite simply, it makes me smile.
I love you, and I hope you are smiling right now.
I had a smile from ear to ear, and a sudden, childish urge to jump gleefully up and down on my bed. I now have this picture as my screensaver, as well, and her words of wisdom sketched in my heart. Some days it's easy to wake up and dance, and others take that discipline and remembrance of her words. Be authentic. Set intention. Have gratitude. Love life. Remember to laugh. Remember to love.
Ah, and most importantly, leap, dive or just go for it -- jump!
I hope to spread some love to you as she has so fully with me. Love life and jump away!
Loving life and jumping with the goddess herself, Ashley Swider.
(Photo credits: Deborah Jaffe and Heirloom Creative Photography)