When you were a kid, did you ever catch a glimpse of a curb, low wall, rock, or tree stump, and have a sudden urge to run up to it and jump off of it? There was a surge of joy as you flew through the air and landed, wasn’t there? Your leap was spontaneous, strong and free. And it was joyous. Even if you fell and scraped your knee, you were pretty stoked that you attempted it and any damage sustained didn’t take away from the pure, exhilaration you felt as you made the leap.
As we get older, we leap less. We stop running toward curb lips and tree stumps. We stop trying to do standing jumps over icy puddles. We leap less at chances to move to another city “just because”. We leap less at spontaneously asking someone out. We don’t want to fall. We don’t want to end up looking and feeling foolish. We don’t want to make a mistake or have to leap “yet again”. I know. I get it. I do it too.
In my town there is a group of Parkour runners who practice near a popular monument that I drive past on my way home. At red lights I have caught myself aching to join in. What would it feel like to run and jump again? What would it feel like to challenge myself and my body and push it to make new paths? I once told the organizer of this group, that watching them is inspiring and that it made me want to jump. “Go for it” he said. “Start with a curb or a step and just jump. Build yourself up to bigger and bigger leaps.”
On the eve of Leap Day, I am thinking about leaping. Simply, leaping is just movement. Unlike standing still and waving your hands over your head, leaping transports your whole self from one place to another. And unlike a single step, leaping comes with an exhilarating surge of physical energy. But it is just movement in a direction. It is just jumping, like when were kids.
With the Gregorian calendar offerings of an extra day, I think about leaping. We have been given one extra day of movement toward a direction we seek. Will you be a frog and jump to next lily pad? Will you be a tigress and leap at your prey? Will you be a little kid and leap off a big rock just for fun? Will you be a Parkour freestyler and jump at a wall and scramble up it?
What jump – big or small – will you do today to shift your perspective, move ahead, or change directions completely?