Today I went zip lining. Oh hell yeah! And it wasn’t just zip lining either – Bretton Woods in New Hampshire calls it a “canopy tour” for good reason. You’re high up in the trees zipping from platform to platform, walking along suspended bridges, and rappelling down ropes. It’s not just about how fast you can go – it’s an entire visual and kinetic experience. Here’s the link if you want to check it out: http://brettonwoods.com/activities/canopy_tour/overview
There are three things that stick out in my mind…
#1 – I figured that over the course of nine zip lines, it would get easier each time to step off the platform. SO WRONG! It actually got scarier each time. I’m not sure if that was a function of getting higher off the ground and longer runs so I felt more exposed, or if it was because each time I had one more experience under my belt, so I had that much more of a memory bank to draw from of what could possibly go wrong…or perhaps something else entirely. Every single time was a new leap of faith. Every single time I had to remind myself that I was safe and that I trusted my equipment, my guides, and most of all myself to do this. Every single time I was terrified, but I didn’t let myself down. I stepped \off the platform and I flew. Perhaps this is the next step that I couldn’t anticipate a month ago when I wrote The Miracle of Wanting to Fly!
#2 – There was an absolutely delightful couple in my group. I was so glad that they were there and I had a lot of fun talking to them and shivering with them (with both nerves and cold – it was windy up there!) About half way through the tour, I said something to Laura while we were walking from one platform to another. She said, “Let me get on the other side, I’m deaf in that ear.” She then explained that just two years ago she had brain surgery that affected her hearing. She said that zipping was really scary, but it didn’t compare to going down the hall toward surgery. I love the way she said that. In my workshops – especially with survivors of major illnesses – I’ve often heard people say, “I’ll never be scared of anything again.” I appreciate the sentiment but it’s a little hard for me to understand, because in my experience one scary or awful thing doesn’t supplant all others. I loved that Laura acknowledged that this was scary but she had a perspective to put it in.
#3 – Since I was a little girl, I’ve had trouble breathing when the wind blows in my face. When it happens, I feel my throat close down and I start choking as I start to breathe. I guess it’s a mild form of asthma. Frankly it doesn’t come up that often and it never occurred to me that it would be an issue today. Well, it was. Three times while I was in the middle of a zip I felt the choking sensation begin. But I had some responsibilities to take care of – for instance, not passing out in the middle of a zip or getting so freaked out that I plowed into our guide Bobby who was responsible for catching and unhooking us. I needed to stay present and available to what was going on. How could I do that if I was choking? For the first time ever, I talked myself through it and managed to start breathing again. I did it all three times. I’m not really sure how I did it, but now I know that it’s possible. I always suspected this was a psychological thing and now I know for sure that it is. If I can talk myself out of it, then somewhere in my being I’m talking myself into it. Which means that as soon as I figure out how to dismantle that little trigger, I get to be fully in charge again.
Oh – one more thing. This is Laura’s husband Mark:
He is now officially a member of my Amazing Men club. When he saw that I was there by myself, he just took over as my official photographer. I just received an email from Mark sharing all 135 pictures that he took during the trip. And darned if he didn’t take almost as many of me as he did of his wife. Except for saying once that he’d go at the front of the pack so he could take pictures of both of us on one of the zips, I didn’t even realize he was taking pictures of me. He just did it. Is he a mensch or what? Simply amazing.
Now it’s time for me to take my thoroughly zipped body off for a bath and bed. What a day!