As many of you know, I started a Facebook group called WEW – Women Empowering Women. The group is made up of women ages sixteen to sixty plus. They are from all different social, ethnic, political, religious, and non-religious backgrounds. They are widowed, married, divorced, single, gay, and straight. The purpose is to be able to inspire and empower each other as women while respecting our differences and recognizing the strength that comes in them.
Every so often when I see an inspiring or empowering picture, quote or article I will post it. This week I made a big blunder in my attempt to share an inspiring photograph. The picture was of a FB friend’s sister jumping off a waterfall cliff. The first thing that came to my mind was” Wow, that’s kick ass.” I decided I would add a caption to it, and quickly came up with one that I thought was perfectly fitting,” Take a leap of faith.” …Boy was I wrong! Not only was it not fitting but it was anything but perfect in describing the photo. Turns out the young lady in the photo is an atheist. This was clearly not a leap of faith. I realized this just as I completed the wording, which also had another quote below, and sent it off for her approval anyway. Maybe she wouldn’t care??? What was I thinking!!?? To me this was clearly a fearless young woman. Why would she compromise herself for a complete stranger? And what happened to respecting each other’s differences? It was already sent off but I knew this wasn’t a winning situation.
Trying to come up with more appropriate alternatives, I got to thinking about the photo itself and what message it gave to me. I had seen it as an act of fearlessness. We all deal with our fears in many different ways. People turn to psychology, faith, philosophy, metaphysics, meditation, and the like as means of overcoming them. I associated the picture with my own experiences of dealing with my fears when I attributed a religious connotation to it. While at first I questioned whether I should put something of religious connotation on the page, as I make it a point to stay away from religion and politics on there; I decided it wasn’t so bad because it fit the photo so well and couldn’t it be referring to faith in herself as she jumped? Turns out that was just my opinion and not a very good one at that. She denied the approval and I was back to the drawing board as I certainly wanted to respect her views if she was willing to share her photo.
I still really wanted to share the photo in the group and I struggled to think of a caption that would make people think about facing their fears? This brought me to the question of fearlessness itself and overcoming our fears. This was what I drew from the photo. A photo can tell as many stories as the number of people who see it. She may have done jumps like this a hundred times and may not have been feeling any fear at all. She may have been feeling excited, adventurous, peaceful, or even relaxed. It occurred to me that there is no way I could have any idea of what she was feeling in that moment. Our experiences mold our perceptions. It can sometimes be difficult not to attribute our own perceptions to others. I had simply made the assumption of fearlessness based on where I was coming from. As admirable as my intentions were, I really missed the mark on this one. It is through our interactions with others that we are able to learn who we are. Every interaction is a new opportunity to be the person we want to be. Hopefully next time I’ll do better.
Disheartened, I continued on my treadmill, literally, and looked up at NFL recaps in closed captioning on the TV. The line” Let yourself go,” was said by a random player a few times, I assume in regards to a play. I thought,” That might work!” Let yourself go …into whatever the moment brings you. Whether I get approval to put her picture on the page with captions or without has yet to be determined. For those who are intent on seeing the jump, be patient, it’s on my bucket list. As for whether it will be a leap of faith for me? Well, I’ll probably check for rocks and wait until someone else jumps safely first, so by definition, the answer is no. Will I pray that I don’t smash into a rock? Yes. As for now, the best I can do is invite you to close your eyes, picture yourself standing at the top of an amazing waterfall surrounded by beautiful redrocks, jump, and let yourself go …. into the adventure, into the fearlessness, into the peacefulness, into whatever the moment brings you.