Are you living courageously?

Hello William,


What fills my mind this morning is "How courageous am I?" With this question, I am really asking "Have I gotten to this point in life by running from fear? Or have I gotten to this point in life by taking risks to live the life I want?"

I am reminded of a time when I was working on the motion picture Cursed directed by Wes Craven. My job was to do a simple stunt where I was to be thrown out of a limousine. The Stunt Coordinator and I went over my options for performing the stunt. We determined that with no way to protect my head, the risk was too great to feasibly do the stunt by throwing me out of the car. I suggested that I instead stand in the road as close as possible to the camera truck as it passed me.

The plan was that as the camera truck drove by, I would jump into the air, positioning myself above the camera, which was mounted facing backward on the rear of the truck. I’d then fall into frame, land on the road and roll like a dead body.

This simple stunt was one of the scariest stunts I ever performed. The twist to this story is that I died that day.

We filmed the scene in Los Angeles’ famous Griffith Park at night. We did four takes of the shot. On the first take, the truck drove by at 25 miles per hour. On the second take the truck drove 35 miles per hour. The truck increased its speed over the final two takes.

On the first take, when the truck drove past, I felt the side mirror of the truck brush the fabric on my arm and I heard the wind whistle in one of the pipes that juts out from the side of the truck. The pipe was inches from my head. I had not factored these obstacles into the execution of this stunt and here they were. My mind immediately asked "How many more dangerous objects are there that I can’t see?" But this was not the time for questions, it was time to jump.

Doing this stunt, I felt Death standing at my shoulder asking questions, and Life was providing answers. I had to summon the courage to make a choice to stand still and listen to Death’s question or jump with all the wisdom Life had given me.

A big part of me died that day. The me that stands paralyzed in fear listening to the questions of doubt died when the me that had courageously calculated the risks jumped. The immediate reward was the joy of successfully completing the stunt; the greater gift was a life untethered by fear.

I am grateful for the reward of you in this life of courageously living.



Upcoming Events

Oct. 1 "Courage, Risks and Rewards" Program

Oct. 7 Ubuntu Healing Circle 7pm

Oct. 14 Umoja Circle of Unity 7pm