vrijdag 25 september 2015
Posted on 02:05 by Bookish Madness | No comments
Just Let Go
With my heart racing and chilled to the bone, I gripped the edge of the airplane door. Harnessed between the long legs of a man I’d met only a half hour before, I had to focus on Randy’s words.
“Okay, Heidi, head back and cross your arms,” he commanded. “And . . . let’s . . . GO!”
Jumping at ten thousand feet—that was when I just let go. Arms extended and eyes wide open, I was free-falling through the frigid air. Everything was flapping, from my forehead to my cheeks and lips. I could hear the light blue material of my jumpsuit beating violently like a sail in an ocean storm’s wind gust. Suddenly, I focused in on a jumper nearby, the videographer filming us. In tandem, Randy and I were heading straight for him.
I watched the videographer falling flat-backed, his abdomen toward the sky, as if in an orchestrated scene in an action thriller. Then Randy quickly grabbed his legs. From there, the three of us—like synchronized swimmers—did circles in the air again and again and again. All of my fear and anxiety had been overtaken by these moments of dancing at high speeds. It felt effortless!
Totally in awe, I screamed, “Hoooooly shit!”
Within a matter of seconds, Randy released the videographer’s legs. We separated like magnets with similar poles, and I quickly lost sight of him. Then Randy pulled the parachute cord. Together, we jerked to a forced reduced speed, which didn’t feel all that slow to me. Although we had free-fallen for about sixty seconds, we still had a long way to go before hitting the flat field below. To give us more breathing room, he loosened the harness, creating a contrast to the intimate and intense contact of the past few minutes.
“This isn’t your first jump,” Randy shouted so I could hear.
“Oh yes, it is. And that was fuckin’ awesome.”
“But you didn’t seem afraid of it at all. You’re embracing the jump as if it were routine.”
“I’ve gone through one hell of a year. I broke my neck and got a divorce. Need I say more?”
Juggling Lots of Balls
Only a year prior to throwing myself out of that airplane, I was juggling a lot of balls: a happy marriage to a successful Brazilian chef; a home outside of Fort Lauderdale, Florida; and a physically active lifestyle, partaking in all the outdoor sports that the sun, sand, and water of Florida have to offer. The most consuming “ball” was a sixty-hour-a-week career as an ambitious, globetrotting travel-industry executive.
I thought I was Superwoman.
But despite my belief that I had things under control, it all came crashing down. Exactly one year before this skydiving adventure, all those balls I juggled—health, marriage, and career—dropped when a thousand-pound tree limb struck me down in New York’s Hudson River Valley. The limb broke my neck and left me unconscious for days.
If you have read my previous book When All Balls Drop, you followed me through the pain and frustration of recovery from such a traumatic injury while my marriage disintegrated and my career vanished. When I could, I returned to Poughkeepsie, New York, to revisit The Tree. Doing so sparked a shift in perspective that guided me to redesign my life. Standing in the same place with the same tree—but seeing it with new eyes—marked the end of one agonizing chapter of my recovery and the beginning of a wholesale life change.
That’s why on the anniversary of the traumatic tree accident, I was tied to another man’s waist, embracing life not close to the edge but off that edge, celebrating the gift of seeing the world with new eyes.
After that game-changing visit to The Tree, much healing still lay ahead. With New Eyes picks up where When All Balls Drop left off, starting with a pilgrimage back to my home town in Wisconsin.
Title: With New Eyes: The Power of Perspective
Author: Heidi Siefkas
Genre: Memoir / Inspiration
Heidi Siefkas lost her health, her career, and her marriage after she was struck by a one thousand-pound tree branch. While she made great strides in her physical and emotional recovery in the months that followed—an arduous process that she chronicled in When All Balls Drop—Heidi wasn’t content to merely survive her setbacks. The time was right to build a new life. One she could live on her own terms.
But what would a redesigned life look like? In her quest for answers, Heidi returned to her childhood home in Wisconsin, dove into the South Florida dating scene, revisited old flames in New England, sold her first home, jumped out of a plane, and traveled alone to South America. Every leg of her journey provided a healthy dose of perspective.
With New Eyes is full of mishaps and bold decisions, all seasoned with sassy humor. Through her signature down-to-earth vignettes, Heidi inspires you to conquer your fears, head for adventure, and be the captain of your own ship.
Heidi Siefkas is an author and adventurer. Originally from small-town Wisconsin, she lives in Kauai and also calls the Midwest and South Florida home. Heidi is currently writing her third book, Cubicle to Cuba, which features a humorous collection of stories about her travels to Cuba, Peru, New Zealand, Italy, and other far-flung places.
Heidi invites you to share photos on social media that show where you are enjoying With New Eyes (#withneweyes). You can connect with Heidi at http://www.heidisiefkas.com, Facebook, and Twitter.