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Former CG youth finds purpose after fall

Posted: Tuesday, Apr 2nd, 2013

Photo by Jerry Thompson Ryon Harris (center) demonstrated a move at his gym in Eugene.

He admits the jump was a little “crazy,” but two summers ago Ryon Harris went ahead and leaped off a 132-foot cliff in Utah. It didn’t go the way he intended, as Harris missed his mark and landed in only four feet of water. His right foot and hand were dislocated, five back vertebrae were damaged and six ribs were broken.

The 27-year old Harris said the fall turned out to have a positive impact beyond the physical pain. He claims he had a near-death experience that resulted in him wanting to do something more useful with his life. After the fall, Harris spent six weeks with a spiritual life-teacher who guided him to think “more about we and us.”

“It completely changed my life and opened up my heart to more things than myself,” Harris said. “I came back more humble, realizing there’s so much more in the world than myself.”

Harris dropped out of CGHS after his sophomore year and decided to just go after his GED. A self-described high energy “eccentric entrepreneur,” he had been pursuing a mixed martial arts fighting career after working in the construction business.

After the accident, Harris took a year to heal up and then opened a kids’ MMA class in a garage in Eugene.

“I really loved it,” said Harris. “I did it for free and got so much joy from it. I had a fight coming up the same time I was teaching the kids’ class. I would go to the kids’ class and would have utter joy and ecstasy. Then I would go to train for my fight, and I would be miserable. I realized I wasn’t happy fighting anymore.”

For the complete article see the 04-03-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 04-03-2013 paper.

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