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  • Jenny

34. Up, Up and Away…In a Hot Air Balloon

For my 30th birthday, my sisters had presented me with a hot air balloon ride, to be taken whenever the three of us were able to find the time to get together. It shouldn’t have been too difficult, since we all lived close by and my mom was available to watch my daughter while we went.

But life had other plans; I ended up moving to Pennsylvania, with rare trips to New York on the weekends. They had been moving from place to place until they found the right one, and the same experience with jobs and relationships. I had distanced myself, and then after I came back home for good, I was slowly trying to find my grounding.

Every time we would try to plan it, it was always right after the perfect season, and by then it was too windy and we’d have to wait another year. This went on for 8 years.

Finally, the three of us said enough is enough, it is time to book the ride and just do it.

So there I am, getting ready to finally go on the hot air balloon ride I have been waiting for, and all of these emotions come flooding over me. It was a bit nerve-wracking to see how it actually worked. I think somehow in my mind I pictured a simple hop in and fly up together, but the reality was a little different, as I saw I actually had to climb into the basket and hope it didn’t tip over.

Now the funniest part is that fear never entered the equation before that point, yet my two daredevil sisters were a bit trepidatious about the whole thing from the start. They had both been bungee jumping before and took other adventurous risks, and seeing them so nervous about it made me wonder: what am I missing?

We get there, and we are told that there is a pretty good chance that we won’t go up because the winds are much stronger than predicted. Panic ensues for some, especially those who drove 5 hours to get there. That’s a long way to travel for something you paid a lot of money for, and then be told to go back home, possibly for another year, because it was late in the season. We only drove 2.5 hours and just had a kick-ass dinner, so we were not stressing if it was cancelled; though after 8 years, we had

waited long enough!

They didn’t think the winds would actually cooperate, but that’s when I entered manifestation mode and talked the wind down—from 10 to 6mph in 10 minutes. Not bad, eh?

Getting the clearance we needed, we all get ready to go on this amazing ride, and I am cool and calm about the prospect of flying up high in the air with no harness and no steering wheel, unpredictability abound. It was very strange to begin with for me, who likes security. But then we are instructed to quickly get into the basket and there is where I freeze and freak—I was worried about the basket tipping over on the ground.

Yes, the ground. And people falling on me or me on them—not potentially plummeting to my death from high up in the sky. THIS is what I freak out about—and more so when we were about to hit the ground upon landing. My sister thought my reaction was so priceless, she shot some hopefully never to been seen footage of my fear of falling out of a basket and onto the ground. Great blackmail stuff.

But once I was up in that air and convinced myself that the basket wouldn’t tip us over and pour us out like a teacup, it was such an extraordinary experience and it catapulted me into a state of inner peace. Because in that moment, as I floated above the Earth, carried aimlessly by the wind and looking out upon the horizon on one side to see the setting sun and the other to see the light of the almost full moon, it hit me how perfectly representative that experience was of my heart’s desires.

To be free without reigns. To soar without knowing the destination, only admiring the journey.

To experience ups and downs knowing each movement was completely perfect. To take a risk and relish in the reward. To share that experience with those I love the most. To see the world from an entirely different viewpoint. To be so much more aware of my moment—the barking dogs in the distance, a sense of the friendliness of onlookers as we passed over and waved, the smells of the onions growing on the farm (without tearing!), to literally touch the top of a tree and corn husk in the field—just to take in

every bit of it all, and truly appreciate its majesty.

It’s what I wished my life to be from that moment on. Living in freedom, taking chances, opening my mind outside of the box, enjoying every single step of the way and sharing my life and experiences with others. It was like the chains of my reality, my thinking, my beliefs were all lifted away with the balloon, and the peace that remained was one that I will hold onto for the rest of my life.

And also to get that start-ups and landings can be shaky—and even scary and risky—but once you start flying on your path, you simply soar. I can’t let the fear of being tipped over stop me from the journey. I need to fight through the urge to back off, and just see it through. And remember that there will be people I love right beside me as I confront my fears—just as I am there to help them confront theirs when that time comes.

We all have a different battle inside of us, but when we come together in support and love, our breakthroughs can be something truly astounding.

Realizing that was a beautiful moment for me. It’s always good to experience something that is a reflection of a journey in your life. Taking this simple hot air balloon ride was one such experience that directly spoke to who I can be in pursuing my dreams, and it opened up such possibilities for me afterwards. It is one of those adventures that can really put life in a new perspective, and when you let go, you can see so much beauty in life from a big picture point of view—rather than limiting ourselves to seeing that what is right in front of us every day is all that there is to it.

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