Friday, September 2, 2011

A Flying Trapeze and a Leap of Faith

"Do one thing every day that scares" ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

I took these words to heart last weekend when I did my first ever flying trapeze class. Having bought a coupon off of Living Social, I'd decided it was time to go redeem it.

I'm not sure what I thought I was getting myself into when I signed up, but upon arriving at Emerald City Trapeze Arts, it dawned on that I would be jumping off of a platform 30-something feet up in the air while clutching a thin metal bar and swinging 20-something feet out over a yawning expanse of empty space. Oh, and guess who was nominated by the instructor to go first?

After about a 30 minute ground lesson explaining what to do (and not do) and getting rigged up in our safety harnesses, I made the mistake of standing closest to the ladder and before I knew it, the instructor says, alright you're first and snaps my harness into the safety line of the ladder.

As I began scaling the ladder, my adrenaline starting pumping. Honestly, it would probably be fairly difficult to actually hurt yourself, as you're strapped into a safety harness the entire time and there is a net at the bottom.  But there is a certain irrational and instinctive feat that takes over. It's the body's natural response to tell you that jumping from heights is not a good idea and you may very well plummet to your death or dismemberment, which my body was doing a good job of letting of me know this.

When I reach the platform at the top, I am greeted by a second instructor. I ask if it's normal to be nervous and he says yes, and that in fact, some people cry. Okay, good I think I'm not so scared that I'm going to cry, so check one for me. The instructor pulls the bar in and hands it to me. Grasping it with both hands, the steel feels more like an anchor than my flying companion. I leaned out over the edge of the platform as the instructor holds the back of the belt. Then the call comes, "Ready", I bend my knees, "Hup" and I jump.

And then I'm flying! I'm sailing through the air 30 feet up and this is one of the funnest things I've ever done. I'm so distracted by how utterly amazing and thrilling this feeling is that I momentarily forget to follow the instructors calls and don't quite execute the skill I'm supposed to be doing.

However, by my third turn, I've done my knee hang into a back flip well enough that I've graduated onto a catch. I'm once again nominated by the instructor to go first. Scared all over again that I'm going to be releasing from my bar to be catch mid-air by the other instructor, I climb the ladder. The instructor gives the call again, "Ready", "Hup" and I jump and swing forward. As I start to swing back I quickly get my knees up on the bar to be in the right position. As I start to swing forward again, I release with my hands and arch backward. I'm sailing in reverse, so I can't see the instructor on the other bar at all. The call comes, "Legs straight" and I release with my knees. blindly reaching out and.........

For a split-second I'm in mid-air and then instructor has caught me by the wrists!

Needless, to say I'm addicted and can't wait for my next class. In fact, I may even quit my job and join the circus. Watch out Cirque du Soleil!

So how about you? What have you done lately that scares you? Nothing in awhile? Then today might be the day to try something new.

Photo Credit: Emerald City Trapeze Arts

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