Stunt Clinic

August 3, 2010
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I stared down at my doom—an air mattress the size of a postage stamp twenty feet below. Everyone stared up at me, waiting for me to jump. And there wasn’t even a fire. I had volunteered for this—woken up at seven on a Saturday morning to drive to L.A. to face my fear.
Fear and Courage sat on my shoulders, alternately bickering my fate. I wanted to scream, “MOMMY! SAVE ME!” But Courage said, Alright Elizabeth, just take a deep breath. You can’t quit now.
Besides, it was just too embarrassing to climb back down the rickety ladder. The nine-year-old boy who had jumped right before me had launched himself off the balcony without pause, and now it was my turn.
Well, here goes nothing!
I was still alive.
“That was crazy. I’m going to do it again!”
A grin the size of the sun was plastered across my face as I shimmied up the rickety ladder to the ceiling of the warehouse to jump again. My heart felt full and proud, for I had faced Fear and come away triumphant.
Actually, jumping off the balcony that day is a metaphor for life. We only change when we’re uncomfortable, so discomfort should be desired, not shunned. Yet, in many ways, too many of us have become TV watching couch potatoes who seek comfort above all. That day as I stood on a plank of wood near the ceiling of a giant warehouse, I learned to jump—to take risks, to embrace courage, and most of all, to live.

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