Recently I went to see the latest instalment of the Mission Impossible series. I was blown away. I’m not typically a fan of action movies (Bond and Bourne being exceptions) and I do remember enjoying the first MI flick way back when the franchise first hit the big screen about 20 years ago. I think I even caught snippets of other Mission Impossible movies as they were released, either through pay-per-view or whenever they’d appear on cable TV. This experience was different, though. I was struck dumbfound by what I saw. The stunts and filmmaking alone is enough to stop a person in their tracks, but something else I got from that movie woke me up in a new way, and I’m just starting to understand what it is.
There’s a scene in the film where the main character, Ethan Hunt (aka – Tom Cruise) jumps out of the back of a cargo plane 15,000 feet over central Paris. Knowing that Cruise (who I’m no fan of, by the way) does all his own stunts in the MI series, and that he’s 56 years old, and what you see in the movie is real (not some mishmash of CGI work) and that on top of all that – a cameraman (or two or three) is diving out of the cargo plane too, and filming the whole thing as it happens, while Cruise performs/acts like Superman – all that massive cinematic amazement gave me pause (after it almost gave me a heart attack watching it unfold, as my daughter would attest to. She tolerates me in movies like that, because, well – frankly, I’m embarrassing for a 14 year old to sit beside. I’m all nerves and gasps and screams, and I’m her mother. So there you have it.)
What I’ve come to realize after watching that scene is this: There’s tremendous beauty, and skill, in free falling.
I’ve been free falling for years now (thankfully ground is finally in sight) and while I have all the tools at my disposal for a safe landing, the drop is severe. I’ve never physically skydived, and I have no desire to, particularly now, because I know what it means to free fall already – and my ride has lasted a lot longer than a few minutes.
When nothing is holding us in place, physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually – we’re in free fall. And what I’ve learned about actual skydiving since seeing that movie is that any tiny flick of the wrist, a slight arch of the spine, the extension or contraction of any extremity – any twitch at all you make has an effect on your fall.
We can control our own free fall somewhat, but regardless, we’re still falling. Gravity/life/reality is in control. We can only moderate our way through it. If you have a few tools and a bit of knowledge to help affect your descent to solid ground in a favorable way, lucky you.
I have the tools and knowledge to land safely and show how it all works, but I wasn’t trusting them (or myself) enough. My point is (I think, anyway) that I was holding on too tightly to my own fall, instead of figuring out how to work with it and share the experience – just as I experience it. Just share what I know and let the rest be.
That realization will be reflected in my writing here from now on. When I started this blog I felt like I had to tell a chronological story – almost write a novel or an autobiography, and the daunting nature of that prospect has held me back. (I’m a writer. It’s what I do, so yeah – I naturally went the way of “story arch” in my own head when I began here.) What I realize now is, I have to let gravity take hold, engage my skills, knowledge, a certain amount of fearlessness, and write what’s on my heart. If I’m brave enough to do that, I just might inspire a few others to take a leap of faith too.