In an impulsive moment, I purchased a 2 for 1 Groupon deal for a Flying Trapeze lesson. Part of me was excited and another part was scared. The expiration date was getting closer and I had not booked the lesson yet. I could just let that coupon expire and no one would know. But although I had fear, I also hated wasting money. So I called up my friend Misa to see if she would come with me. Before I could yell “Tarzan” we were in trapeze class. Ahhhhhhhh!
After a few basic instructions, we were cinched in safety belts so tight it was hard to breathe. (Could this explain my light-headedness?) Before I could think of a plausible exit strategy, I was up on the platform –way, way up in the air – holding on for dear life. Russell (who used to be in the circus) was clipping me into the safety lines. He told me once you are up on that platform, there is only one way down. My mouth was getting really dry, and I had just inhaled a bunch of the white chalk powder we were supposed to put on our hands. Now was not a good time to have a choking fit.
Russell started yelling out commands:
“Right hand on the bar! Left hand on the bar! Lean forward! Raise the bar high above your head! Squeeze your buns!
I didn’t move. Was he talking to me?
“Jump!” OK. I guess he meant me.
I jumped. And whoosh – I was flying through the air!
But this was no time for a jungle cry. Russell was yelling again.
“Knees up! Hook your legs. Hands off!”
All my attention was focused on hearing the commands and trying to respond as fast as possible. Timing is everything in the trapeze. If you do the moves at the proper time, the momentum carries you through and very little strength is involved. Miss the timing by a few seconds and you are fighting against a huge force. Once I was in the air, there was no time to be scared and no mental space to be anywhere else but in the moment.
“Reach forward! Look up!”
And there I was, being caught by one of the other instructors swinging upside down on her own bar!
I was kind of stunned – not really sure how it had all happened – a grateful ball of relief and exhilaration.
The second time was much easier. I knew I was not going to die, and worst case scenario, there was the safety net. The third and the fourth times were actually fun.
After doing this scary thing I could feel a power surge that was not only physical, but mental and emotional as well. It made me want to “raise the bar” – so to speak – in my own life. I wanted to do more, to be more, to experience more. I was already thinking about what I could do next to stretch myself.
I see something similar happening in my clients as they face the inevitable fears that come with setting goals and expanding in new directions. As the roadblocks of fear are pushed away, I see them discovering new talents, taking risks, living more fully and spreading wings that have been folded up.
Flying on a trapeze is fantastically exhilarating. Seeing my clients soaring to new heights in their own lives is even better.