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Soaring Beyond Burnout: Rediscovering Your Swing Courage

Where I grew up we backed onto a farmers field and what I called "a little forest". In the forest there was an old tree swing.

I believe now that in the worn ropes of that old tree swing there was a vault of childhood secrets, from whispered dreams to the silent giggle of plotting the world's most daring jump—guarded by the wise old tree, sworn to never tell.

There was also a fallen old tree not far from my tree that sat as a marker, a dare, if you swing high enough you will jump over me, and if you don't...then there will be other lessons to learn.

Every day after school, I'd rush out my gate, my heart set on making that leap. But it wasn't as easy as I thought it would be.

For weeks, I practiced. I'd sit on that swing, gripping the ropes tight, and start pumping my legs. Back and forth, back and forth, I'd go, each time getting a little higher, feeling the breeze rush past my face, my feet kicking at the clouds. "Can I do this?" I'd wonder every single time I reached the peak. But just as the moment came, my courage would slip away like sand through my fingers, and I'd slow down again, my heart thumping loud in my chest.

I imagined all sorts of things. What if I flew too far and landed in a bush? What if I didn't land on my feet? What if I landed on the tree, what if, what if? My mind was a whirlwind of what-ifs, but deep down, a little spark of bravery flickered, whispering,

"But what if you fly?"

Then, one golden afternoon, something felt different. Maybe it was the way the sun painted the sky in shades of adventure, or maybe it was the gentle nudge of the breeze, encouraging me on. As I swung back and forth, higher and higher, I felt it—the bubbling of excitement, the whisper of courage growing louder.

"Can I do this?" I asked myself again, my swing reaching the sky. And before I knew it, my heart answered for me. "Yes, you can."

With a deep breath that felt like it filled my whole body with the winds of the entire world, I mustered up all of my swing courage let go.

For a heartbeat, I was flying, soaring, free from everything that held me back. Time stood still, the world was silent, and I was held in the flight.

Then, thump, crash! I landed, not quite like an olympic gymnast, more like a sack of potatoes. But I was laughing, my heart dancing, my skin tingling with the thrill of it. My hair full of twigs and dirt. I did it! I actually did it!

No one watched or cheered - it was for me.

I picked myself up, dusted off my knees, and looked back at the swing, now swaying gently as if applauding my little victory. "I knew you could do it," it seemed to say.

That day, I learned something bigger than how to jump off a swing. I learned that sometimes, you just have to pump your legs, take a deep breath, and let go. Because the moment you do, you're not just jumping off a swing—you're learning to fly.

And guess what? The next day, I was back at that swing, ready to fly again.

Because once you find out you can soar, why would you ever want to stop?

Whether you are getting up the courage to jump or you are ready to soar, this is your time.

Go play.


Playful Change Maker

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