More people than ever before seem to be taking "leaps of faith" this summer -- or so it seems from recent news on TV and on-line. Aside from all the TV reality shows in which participants push their limits to lose weight or win competitions, ordinary people are also taking big leaps to raise money for charities, honor their loved one's legacies and also do exhilarating things they've never done before.
During Independence Day 2013 week, two examples in Michigan and Texas stand out in the news: In Gatineau, Texas, Dany Dias and Janine Jalbert each made their first skydive on July 1st to raise money for Gospel for Asia (GFA) Canadas. Due to their jump, over $8,000 was donated to help purchase 100 bicycles for South Asian pastors needing transportation to reach parishioners in remote areas.
The Ontario (Canada) women -- who are in their mid-40s and late-50s respectively -- in fact had so much fun taking their first tandem-jump with GO Skydive instructors that they quickly jumped again and experienced freefall for almost a minute. Videos of their life-shifting jumps can be viewed at www.MyGFA.org/leap, where donations to the South Asian pastors' bicycle fund can also be made.
GFA Canada's development director Martin Lamb honored the women by saying "they have been an example to many of how to move beyond their comfort-zone and make a difference."
A somewhat more personal leap also took place July 2nd in the skies above Lake Michigan. Faith Vilas, a senior scientist at the Planetary Science Institute in Arizona, drew on her inner courage when she flew an amphibious Cessna-185 from Southwest Regional Michigan Airport over Lake Michigan to land between the breakwalls at Chicago's Navy Pier.
Faith's grandfather Jack Violas Sr. had broken aviation records after receiving the sixth hydro-aeroplane license ever issued. On July 1st, 1913, he flew across Lake Michigan without a compass 14 years before Charles Lindbergh flew solo across the Atlantic. So Vilas' flight was one of the first across a large body of water. Vilas later became one of the first American aviators to spot forest fires from the sky and also to make sea-air rescues.
A third-generation pilot, Faith earned her license at age 17. Unable to become a commercial pilot due to poor eyesight, however, she instead became an astronomer. Faith went on to analyze x-ray data of the moon for the Apollo 15 and 16 missions. She also co-discovered the rings of Neptune and identified a new minor planet in 1988 which was subsequently named after her (3507 Vilas). She will take another leap in 2014 when she joins the first crew to fly the XCOR Lynx III spacecraft into orbit. On this flight, Faith will not be in the pilot's seat -- she'll be operating a telescope mounted on top of the spacecraft that's designed to observe the surface of Earth from above its atmosphere.
After Faith honored her grandfather's legacy by recreating his route over Lake Michigan, Southwest Michigan Regional Airport's director Lee Scherwitz noted how Jack Vilas serves as an inspiring example not only for Faith but for all future aviators: "Children need to understand in their lives that there is nothing that they can't achieve."
As we move into the summer of 2013, it is a great time to "push the envelopes" of our own comfort zones and get inspired by others who've recently taken leaps -- like Faith, Dany and Janine -- as we move closer to taking our own.
Barbara Schiffman is a Life&Soul Coach, Life Balance and Life Breakthrough Expert, and Akashic Records Certified Advanced Teacher based in Southern California. In addition to writing books on Life&Soul Evolution, she has most recently co-authored an ecourse for www.DailyOM.com on the art and science of taking leaps of faith ("Taking Your Leap of Faith"). Barbara's website is www.YourLifeandSoul.com.