Monthly Archives: April 2015



“Challenge yourself!  Move out of your comfort zone and just jump!”

~ Jana Joy ~

For years now I’ve wanted to skydive and the only thing holding me back was fear.  I have a long history of facing my fears head on, but this fear was too big.  Every time I imagined standing at the precipice of the airplane’s open door, I would break into a cold sweat and my heart would leap into my throat.

I made all kinds of extremely valid excuses to myself about why is was a reasonable decision to not jump from a perfectly good airplane.  But deep down, I knew it was just fear.  Fear of what?  Death?  Permanent disablement?  Ok… makes sense.  So why was the idea of skydiving becoming an obsession?

I knew why.  I had never let fear dictate my decisions before, but I was allowing it to now.

Skydiving was on my 71 year old mother’s bucket list and even my 12 year old son was really keen to do it, so I made the decision to face the fear, and jump (literally and metaphorically).

I bought us all 12,000 foot jumps over Whangarei Harbour, where I live in New Zealand, and even talked one of my best friends into doing it as well.  It was officially game on!

In the days and hours leading up to the jump, I watched skydiving videos on the web and got more and more excited about it.  It actually quelled my fear.  Knowing exactly what to expect appealed to my illusion of control. 

Jump day had arrived and off to the airport we went, along with my Dad, who came along to watch.  My son and mother went first and after they landed safely, albeit, ungracefully, on the ground (my mum ended up on her bum), it was my friend’s and my turn.

The plane ride up to 12,000 feet was smooth and the views were incredible.  I could even see my house and I knew our anxious husbands were on my deck at home with binoculars watching us.  I found myself marveling at how calm I felt.  I was super excited but not scared, which came as a surprise.  Then, they opened the door for my friend and her tandem partner to jump.  This was the point that my heart skipped a beat.  It went fast though and my friend was out of the plane and flying through the air.  It was my turn and it went just as quickly.  I leaned out of the plane doors and suddenly we were somersaulting out and into the sky.

The free fall was incredible. I didn’t feel scared at all.  It was exhilarating!  I spanned out my arms like a bird and flew.  Once the parachute was opened, we just coasted down and enjoyed the complete silence.  I never expected it to be so quiet.  It felt like meditation. 

Once we landed (on our feet, thank you very much), we all celebrated our courage and victory over fear.  I was able to cross off the last thing on my fear list.  There was no longer anything left that I hadn’t done because I was afraid.  I felt liberated! 

What is something you long to do but haven’t because you’re afraid? 

I strongly encourage you to challenge yourself, to move out of your comfort zone, face the fear and just jump!  You won’t regret it!



It is an act of love to look after one’s self, not an act of community terrorism.”  ~ Jana Joy ~

Are you a shame purveyor or do you fall victim to them?

We all know what shame purveyors look like.  We may even occasionally catch a glimpse of one in the mirror.  It’s a person who points a finger and offers a judgmental comment designed to make us feel bad about ourselves.  Sometimes it comes in the form of a pseudo-compliment or phony compassion.  Here are some examples of the shame we’re sold:

“You’re so lucky to have a partner who doesn’t mind if you abandon your children to go off for a weekend away.”

“Oh, I could never do something like that.  I’d feel too guilty.”

“How do you manage to work full-time and still find any quality time for your family??”

“So, what do you DO all day as a stay-at-home mom? Don’t you get bored?”

“I wish I had time to take a nap/get a facial/go to lunch.  I’m too busy taking care of my family/community/work commitments.”

“You should help out more by joining our committee/volunteer for this cause/donate your money and/or time for this and that.”

“You should… You should…  You should…”

The response in my head is always, “You should mind your own business and stop should-ing on me!”  What I actually say is, “No, thank you.”  That’s it.  I don’t make up excuses.  I don’t offer apologies.  I just say no.  I used to be a victim of the shame purveyors and engaged in all the activities I should be doing in order to be a “good” mom and a “good” person.  But I was so busy and tired all the time that I turned into this resentful, crabby cow.  And what did I do with all that resentment?  I turned it on others and should-ed all over them.  I paid it forward.  After all, sharing is caring… right?

Then one day, I learned the valuable lesson we all have to learn the hard way.  In order to really be of benefit to others, I need to take care of myself.  I cannot give what I do not have.  If I’m burned out and exhausted, I’m not much use to anyone.

It is an act of love to look after one’s self, not an act of community terrorism.  But the shame police in my head and the shame purveyors around me would have me believe otherwise.  Taking time for myself to engage in an activity that feeds my soul, but is, otherwise, of no direct benefit to others will cause the collapse of civilization as we know it.  If I’m not there to hold it all together, it will all fall to pieces (can you say, “control freak?”).  As it turns out, the world keeps on spinning, even while I’m getting a facial.

Now that I’ve (mostly) conquered my inner shame purveyor, when I’m faced with one, I’m usually filled with compassion as I know all too well that the shame they’re attempting to push on me is nothing compared to the shame they heap on themselves.  I say “usually” because, I admit, sometimes my initial reaction is to want to smack them!   It takes a lot of practice to get past the habit of shaming myself and others, but, like anything else, the more I practice, the better I get at it.

If we all stopped playing the shame game, we would be free to live our lives purposefully and joyfully.   I encourage you to release your inner shame purveyor and stop the vicious cycle of abuse.  A true gift is one given from love, not out of shame or guilt.