Taking The Plunge

Learning to fly spiritually can be frightening.

You don’t know what to expect.

It’s all so new, but at the same time, it’s not.

You’ve seen others doing it, and doing it quite well.

Will you soar to new heights?

Or will you crash and burn?

Your awakening to Spirit has you on edge.

You want to remain in the nest of your comfort zone, but deep down you know you will not be able to fly unless you spread your wings and jump.

Reminds me of the time I was learning survival training skills before taking on a five-day whitewater challenge on a river with class six rapids. Our instructor led us to a cliff. We were to jump into the river and float on our backs with our legs out in front of us. This would allow us to push off of any boulders with our feet. It was all part of our self-rescue plan should we flip our crafts or get thrown from them.

I was instructed to go first.

Gulp. I felt like the sacrificial lamb.

As I crept toward the edge, the roar of the river echoed and thrummed through every inch of me. “Holy S***!” I said, knowing full well that everyone else was thinking the same thing, with the exception of the instructor.

All of my training had led to this precipice, and now I had to put my own life in danger in order to save it.

I leaned over the edge to survey my surroundings as adrenaline shot through my body. I stepped back to get a running start. When the instructor shouted, “GO!,” I ran and leapt into the face of fear with a big splash, trusting that the skills I had learned would lead to my self-rescue. And they did. It was a step I had to take if I was going to be able to continue this adventure. I finally felt ready for what was next.

The spiritual path will lead you to many cliffs within yourself, and you will be faced with the decision to cross those divides, or to turn and run away. Some will be easy to jump, and others will not. But if you are to continue on your pilgrimage, you must do what you are called to do. This means purging your old self, those old, limiting ways, to welcome your new self.

This purging is a cleansing. It is the process of bringing our behavior, our attitudes, our desires into increasing harmony with our growing vision of what the spiritual life is all about in order to deepen the stage of illumination and shape our experience of union with Spirit. Here, we face and cleanse ourselves of our fears and of our limiting beliefs and behaviors that have held us back for so long from our authentic selves.

Rest assured that Spirit will be very gracious in revealing those things about ourselves, not all at once, but only as we are able to deal with them.

This cleansing gets right to the heart of our deep-seated attitudes and inner programming out of which our behavior patterns flow. It gets right at those inner structures of trust that don’t rely on Spirit but on our ego for our well-being. The structures that are not built on solid spiritual ground will crumble, but this is the point where we are called to exercise the fullness of faith in order to enter into a relationship of radical trust in Spirit.

You may at times feel that you are being “crucified” on this cliff, but this is because of the struggle of our two selves: the self that is not yet all that it has been created to be and the self that stands on the other side, whole and complete in Spirit. But once we take the plunge, Spirit will be there, and we will be filled with the peace that passes all understanding.


Do a cleansing ritual of your inner self. No, you don’t have to jump off of a cliff into a river to do this. All you have to do is take a shower (or you can visualize this). As you are standing in the shower, imagine the water as droplets of light washing away your old, limiting beliefs. See them for what they are, bless them, feel them slipping away from your inner self, and allow them to rinse down the drain.

As they slip away, say: “Thank you for the message. I release you in love to the Light for healing and transformation.” Step out of the shower, feeling refreshed and renewed. This can be repeated at any time.

This next two exercises are aimed at your trust structures. The first requires a partner. You are to blindfold yourself and allow your partner to guide you outside in an area with which you are not familiar. Your partner can not touch you and can only voice instructions. You may switch roles when finished. Discuss your experience with your partner.

A similar activity requires a group of 6 – 8 people. Everyone stands in a circle, in a spotting position (feet braced in a front-to-back stance). You get to stand in the middle, with eyes closed and arms across your chest. When you are ready, say, “Ready to fall,” and then fall backwards without stopping yourself. Allow the others to catch you and gently pass you around. When everyone has participated (if they feel in alignment with it), discuss your experiences with each other.


Related Posts:

Read the introduction to 31 Days of Spiritual Growth here, and find links to all posts in this series.

16 thoughts on “Taking The Plunge

  1. Andrea

    Great post! I did an exercise in a workshop once on trust. You were blindfolded and had to let yourself fall backwards into the arms of two people there to catch you, one either side. I watched others and thought, yeah this is easy. It was not! Even though I knew they weren’t going to drop me, it was somehow really scary to just let yourself fall backwards. I did it and all was well of course. Great analogy for life. Once you start on the personal and spiritual development path there’s no going back! Sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith and go for it, trusting all will be well. And it always is! Really useful tips in this post, thank you.

    1. Penny McDaniel

      Hi Andrea!

      I’ve always found these exercises to be very helpful in determining our level of trust, and the trust in others. Learning to trust is not always easy.

      These are exercises I’ve used with students in the beginning of the school year to help create an environment of trust and safety, where they could feel free to express themselves without fear of recrimination or judgment. It allowed them, and me, to bond in a positive way.

      Taking the leap of faith is not easy…I am ALWAYS reminded of the scene in The Final Crusade when Indiana Jones must cross the chasm to get to the Holy Grail to save his father who had been shot by the enemies. He realizes it’s a leap of faith, and he has no choice but to take it. He closes his eyes, hand over heart, takes a deep breath, then steps out where he finds the invisible bridge was there all along. AWESOME!

      Thanks so much for stopping in and sharing. I think I’ll go watch the movie now. LOL.

  2. Pharice

    LOVE IT! It was meant for me to read this today as it only reconfirms my new journey of moving outside my comfort zone, I began only a short month ago. This was an informing (now I have an idea what to do in case I am in a boat that flips over …. use my feet.), liberating and uplifting. Thank you for this message.

    1. Penny McDaniel

      Hi Pharice!

      I almost went with another topic, but Spirit laid it on my heart to go with this one, and now I know why. I’m so glad this is a reconfirmation for you and your new journey!

      Thank you so much for stopping in and sharing your thoughts. May you always land on your feet, even in water.


  3. Anonymous

    Hi Penny,

    The trust structure exercise reminds me of when I was obtaining my scuba certification in Monterey California. My friend and I were taking an advanced certification course where we had to perform three night dives.

    One of our dives, in particular, was extremely challenging because we were given a compass and a destination to reach in the dark, cold, Pacific Ocean waters of Monterey California. We had to trust our night compass and each other to safely navigate the way in order to reach our destination in precise amount of time. I swear, I felt like a Navy Seal or something. LOL!

    Needless to say, we did reach our destination successfully, trusting only each other and our trusty night compass to lead the way.

    I’ll never forget that experience as it really helped me shed some deep unconscious fear that I was still holding on to. It was truly liberating!

    Healthy Blessings,

  4. Peggy

    This is very similar to the first time I showed up on the mats to train jiu-jitsu with the guys. Bigger, faster, stronger (much like a class 6 rapid LOL) than me. Once bowed in (leapt off the cliff), there was no turning back. When we’re doing take downs, I have to trust who I’m training with not to hurt me (or at least not hurt me too bad…nursing a very pretty purple bruise on the inside of my knee as a I type this). Every time I step on the mats, it’s a leap of faith. Faith in myself, faith in my practice, faith in those I train with and faith in my teachers.


    1. Penny McDaniel

      That’s awesome that you train jiu-jitsu. Training with others who are bigger, faster, and stronger only help us to get bigger, faster, and stronger. This weekend I am running in my first 1/2 marathon (new cliff!) for which I have been training for some time now. I’ve trained with a few people who are much faster…they leave me in their dust! But they also teach me so much about form, breath work, and pacing.

      Take care of that bruised knee…sending you reiki, love and light.

      Thank you for dropping in and sharing your thoughts.

  5. Anonymous

    Its scary how taking a leap of faith can be. I was becoming more aware of my spiritual journey. I had a hard year and was working on myself…I was at work in gym class. The seniors do high elements in gym. They do a zip line..leap of faith n other things that focus on team building….so I thought I wanted to do the zip line but was scared to do it…so I challenge a student n said I would do it if he did the zip line…so he said yes …so I had to step up my game n I did the zip line too…the hardest part was to climb up the telephone poll…so I climb up and I sat on the ledge said sh**t….then allow myself to zip down…I let something go when I took my first drop….it was liberating….I allow myself to let go n continue on my spiritual path….n whatever I let go…it was gone….I’m so glad I did it…need to do it…n I did…it was the best release I did…peace n blessings …

    1. Penny McDaniel

      There is always that word of profanity before we do something like that…lol…I’ve said it many a time when I was faced with those “cliff” moments.

      It is such a liberating feeling when we do “jump” and just let go.

      Thank you for sharing your story. Loved it!

  6. Penny McDaniel

    Hi Gena!

    Ahh, Monterey…was there years ago…

    I can see how scuba diving in the dark, cold Pacific Ocean could be a bit terrifying, especially when you can’t see anything. After reading the book Shadow Divers (true story…had the author come to the school to speak to the kids about it), I realized all the dangers of deep sea diving and how easily a mistake can happen. Quite scary! I can’t imagine what the Navy Seals must go through!

    I’ve never done any scuba diving…just some snorkeling around with the local fish. LOL.

    Thanks for stopping by and sharing.

  7. Laura Brewer

    What a great post, Penny! This reminded me of finally taking the plunge to publish my first book. It’s rather like sending a child off on their own. Scary. There are so many points we face like this. You have to be willing to embrace them or you’ll never be happy.
    Have a Blessed Day!

    1. Penny McDaniel

      Amen, Laura!

      It’s so exciting and scary all at once, and you just can’t contain yourself when things like this happen.

      Congrats on the book! Now you know what to expect when you publish more.

      Thanks for stopping in!

  8. Hemal Radia

    Lovely post, Penny : )
    It can often be about ‘unlearning’ who we think we are (and who our mind thinks we are) so we can realise and reconnect with who we truly are.

    And it may seem like a plunge at first but when you dive in, the ‘water’ is so good you don’t look back lol

    1. Penny McDaniel

      Hi Hemal!

      Yes, unlearning what we have been programmed can be quite challenging…sometimes the layers are very deep, and work has to be done continually.

      But you are right…that plunge may seem scary at first, but once you’ve done it, there’s no turning back.

      Thank you for stopping by to share your thoughts and insight.

  9. Kathy Hadley

    Dear Penny,

    Another great story.

    This story reminds me of my scuba diving days.

    We also had to do exercises that were meant to save our lives or the life of our “scuba buddy” in the event something went wrong.

    This was in my much younger days when I was a lot different than I am now.

    Then, I was so highly driven and competitive and such an over achiever that I never had any pause over anything. I jumped into everything first, fast and with no fear.

    All expansion and Spiritual Growth IS outside of your comfort zone, but I’ve found that you don’t have to go to such extremes.

    Take it in steps and allow Universal Laws to work and it will happen with much less discomfort.

    I love your exercises. Especially the shower one. Water is so full of life force and positive energy.




    1. Penny McDaniel

      Oh boy, can I relate to being highly driven, competitive, and an over achiever! I’ve since stepped out of that paradigm! It was too ego-driven.

      Now I just flow and let my Inner Guidance System direct me.

      Thanks, Kathy, for commenting. I appreciate it.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge