It’s been my dream since first watching the circus on TV as a little girl to fly on a trapeze. The gorgeously costumed ladies swinging gracefully high in the sky. Fearless, beautiful, and strong.
A few years ago when first doing The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, answering what job I wanted to do as a kid, flying on a trapeze leapt onto my page. Five sessions of facilitating The Artist’s Way later, I still resolved to fly on a trapeze. The past 2 years I’ve been actively hunting down trapeze experience rigs in Vancouver, Florida, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. Timing and locations never seemed to match but I never let go of that dream. I put it on my Vision Board a couple of months ago, which as we all know, makes it really come to fruition. Then I found the perfect rig and instructors Mike and Bronwyn in Auckland, New Zealand which aligned with my trip. http://www.inflight.net.nz/Home.html
Taking a risk to follow your dreams, starting a new venture, taking a chance on love, whatever you feel is scary and exciting, do it. Learn to FLY through life like a trapeze artist.
F. Fear Operating System
Textbooks say that in a fearful situation, we either choose fight or flight. Can we choose both?
Climbing up the very tall, shaky ladder, Mike had warned me most people fear the climb up. He instructed me to keep my focus upward. I was actually fine with this part, I was just really excited about going up. The ridges on the ladder hurt my feet the most. Then standing on the edge of the intimidatingly high platform. Focusing on the upward movement and where I wanted to go allowed me to conquer normally scary things such as the floor and net being a great distance below.
It is interesting to see how one reacts in that circumstance. When I first came into the gymnasium, friendly Maryanne greeted me and was nice even when I said it was my first time. “Oh, you’re a first-timer?” in that way that each person did, like the general consensus on first-timers is that they are nervous and panic. Still, all the people there encouraged me warmly. I eagerly sought this experience for years now and I was super excited to just do it fearlessly. I had two choices, I could do it with gusto, or I could freak out and be “encouraged” (pressured) into doing it by experienced flyers.
I developed a mechanism that puts my body into the mode. If it’s scary and exciting, smile and do it. It’s not an affirmation. It’s a belief. I’ve practiced this and continue. Does that mean it’s not scary for me? Well, no, it is scary, and I implement this theory immediately. I’ve been scared too much in my life. There’s too much to lose through fear, and tons to gain through courage. This would complete one of my little girl, and grown woman, dreams.
What is your standard fear operating system? Do you have control over your fears? What do you have to gain by this experience? Are you willing to let fear stand in your way? Or would you rather choose to reprogram your Fear Operating System?
L. Learning Visualization
The key was visualization. I’m not a gymnast by any means so this wouldn’t come naturally physically to me. I do know that visualizing the steps would enable my mind to take my body on the journey first. Professional athletes spend most of their time visualizing before getting to the event. They spend hours watching videos. The entrance themselves by working through the routines before even considering the moves.
I tried to find videos of step by step instruction, but there weren’t any. That would have been ideal. I found a few people had loaded their beginner’s attempts which I watched to get a basic idea. What really helped was listening to Mike’s instruction, repeating it aloud as I saw it in my mind through both my eyes and physically moving my hands and body. Then again visually watching the basic style of the people who had been doing it for a couple of years.
Up on the platform, I again went through the steps in sequence with Mike calling them as I visualized. I repeated them aloud as I visualized. My mind had already done it 4 times. Time to fly. No balking, just go. It went just as well as I had visualized. Easy. Smooth.
Visualizing takes practice. It requires working with visual, auditory digital (the voice in your head), and kinesthetic (physical).
I’d love to hear when you have you effectively used visualization.
What happens when visualization doesn’t work during the practice? You have to use…
Y. Yo-yo momentum
My final trip had me catching the bar, swinging forward, then using my now-very sore abs to tuck my knees up. Only as I leaned back spotting the platform would I be able to make enough space for my legs to pop through my arms and hang by my knees upside down from the trapeze. I would then arch my back with my arms reaching back towards the catcher who would grab me as I released my legs from the bar flipping in his grip.
I used Learning Visualization for this before trying on a static swing. Tried as I could, I couldn’t get my knees through. Was it my weak abs? I made so many attempts and finally got it to go though once as Bronwyn coached me to open my body by looking towards the platform. It would naturally make a gap, even though it feels a bit counterintuitive to not look at my feet trying to squeeze through the small gap.
“It’s much easier when you swing.” She encouraged me. How could it be easier while swinging high up in the air looking at a platform I would be rocketing head first towards?
The momentum would propel me into form. She promised it would be easier. I had no reference point for any of this. I simply had to trust.
What benefit would there be to doubting her? I had a choice: I could doubt her and fall, or I could trust her wisdom and years of experience visualizing it would be easier, just as she said.
She was right! The yo-yo momentum allowed my body to open up more as I looked for the pink shirt watching from the platform. It was easy!
Sometimes when planning things out, we wonder, how can we possibly achieve that next step. We have to trust that things will align, open up, and the momentum we have created makes it easier to accomplish nearly impossible feats.
Taking a leap of faith since you have taken every other step properly, trusting that you will be caught. Leap and the net will be there. Reach out and the catcher will catch you.
I loved fulfilling a dream I’d had my entire life, even if I’m reaching it at 36 years old when circus dreams are things kids amuse themselves playing make-believe.
I am applying these make-believe fantasies now to my real life–my love life, and my business.
How can you apply these fantasies? When you were a kid, what did you want to do? What childhood fantasy is scary and exciting, and a bit ridiculous? Put it on your vision board. When are you going to do it?
Take a risk. FLY. and enjoy!