The best thing I learned in the past seven days is how powerful laughter is. Laughter replaced fear for me the moment I let go. I learned something that day that would influence the next few days as we made our way back to the states for the holidays. Intellectually I understood the concept of letting go of fear, expectations, or worry.

To live in the moment. I had practiced it in my daily life, but never fully did it without a safety net. Last Sunday as I stood on a beach being strapped into a harness with a look of pure fear on my face, I realized I would just have to trust and go with it. As we took off I was terrified, but we were in the air and I forgot to be afraid. I laughed because it all happened so fast. I forgot about the fear of heights, forgot about the stares of the folks on the beach gathered around as they strapped us in. Forgot about the fact we were landing in water and I couldn’t swim. Flying above the ocean, seeing the same view as the birds forced me into that moment, where nothing mattered but the experience. No fear, quiet mind, in awe of life.

We dropped into the ocean at the end and my mind immediately panicked. Andrew’s quiet reassurance that all I needed to do was remain calm snapped me back, and I began to trust the water and swim a little towards the jet ski. Later I would drive a jet ski across an ocean I couldn’t swim in to circle an island while screaming and laughing my ass off. ATV riding up and down mountains, parasailing and driving a jet ski checked all of my “you will die boxes”. But I didn’t die, I lived and learned that by letting go I could laugh and just exist in the now.

“Indeed, one of the highest pleasures is to be more or less unconscious of one’s own existence, to be absorbed in interesting sights, sounds, places, and people. Conversely, one of the greatest pains is to be self-conscious, to feel unabsorbed and cut off from the community and the surrounding world.” -Alan Watts.

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