Words of Wisdom
Blog by Christine Upchurch
[Originally published 5/17/2018]
While preparing for my TEDx talk, I dreamt that I was standing on the edge of a cliff overlooking a beautiful sea below. A man standing next to me—I'm not sure I knew his identity—was encouraging me to jump. "Go ahead," he said. "Others have done it and have really enjoyed it." He didn't seem to be pressuring me, but merely stood beside me as I decided.
It was a long way down, to a sea I had never swam in before. As someone who has deep respect for heights and who would never be described as a rugged outdoorswoman, considering doing such a thing was totally out of character. I felt a surge of anxiety, as my mind began to rapidly assess the various possibilities. If I jumped, could I leap outward enough to avoid hurting myself on the rocks and brush jutting out? Were there boulders in that blue green water below? How deep and how cold was it? What if something goes wrong?
I finally came to the conclusion that there were no guarantees. And then I simply jumped.
After landing in the water and resurfacing, I was momentarily blinded by the brightness. As I looked around I began to see that there were others beside me in the water who had previously jumped, and I sensed that they had been waiting for me to join them. Treading water there in the sunshine, we looked at each other and smiled with unbridled enthusiasm. We spoke no words, but rather simply basked in the exhilaration of the experience.
The symbolism of my dream was clear. Jumping off that cliff represented choosing to do a TEDx talk. The man at the top? Perhaps he represented a conglomeration of my wonderful speaker coach and the welcoming organization of TEDx Wilmington. My fellow cliff jumpers, for whom I had such deep appreciation and respect, were the other TEDx speakers.
And what a thrilling jump it was! I'm so glad I did it, and I am truly grateful to have connected with my fellow adventurers who also made that proverbial leap.
So, I'm now wondering: where shall we swim to from here?
Like you, I am on a journey--a path filled with joy and sorrow, expansion and contraction--with beautiful lessons and fascinating insights each step of the way. Thank you for joining me for a small part of my journey. I look forward to connecting with you on yours.