Historic Snowstorm This Week?" If you read it, though, you will notice that the storm might hit here or even as far south as Portland. He paints an interesting picture of the event in four acts.
We have been without much weather, other than rain and some (gasp!) sunny days, so it will be almost welcome to have a little bit of the white stuff on the ground. Maybe I'll have the chance to use my new Yak Trax, which have been languishing with my gear, waiting for another round of ice and snow. Since I can take the bus downtown and don't need to drive in bad weather, I don't feel housebound at all by the elements.
Somehow the experience of being an instructor has faded from my mind, until those recent dreams brought them up. Teaching someone how to skydive is a huge responsibility. Getting the rating to become an instructor was one of the hardest tests I have ever taken, and the first time I tried to get through the ten-day course, I failed miserably. After six months of practice, however, I remember the sense of accomplishment I felt when I received the rating, unti it occurred to me that soon I would be taking ACTUAL STUDENTS up on skydives and would need to help them with whatever it took.
The way I gained the ability to handle more than a thousand students in my days as an instructor was to give them the ability to take responsibility for themselves and to teach them what they needed to do if things went wrong. I did have a student once land very hard and he broke an ankle, but thankfully that was the only thing that happened under my tutelage. I, however, have been punched in the face (accidentally) by a student and received several deep bruises from efforts to catch an out-of-control student. I'm glad those days are behind me.
In a recent dream, my student was frightened and shaking with fear. I remember looking him in the eyes and telling him, sincerely, that he had everything he needed to be safe. In life as in skydiving, fear is what causes us to make serious mistakes, and concentration and focus are the tools that help us make it through the hard times. What I learned during my years as an instructor are that facing one's fears and conquering them empowers anyone to become more of who we really are. I have seen many ecstatic faces when a successful skydive was concluded with a perfect landing in exactly the spot the student intended to land.
As I said, I'm glad those days are behind me, but I am also very glad I had those amazing experiences. I'm really grateful for the reminder that we are the sum total of our lives, not just the person we are today. And I look forward to being able to continue to grow and change through every one of the days I have.