Facing our Fears
The photos are in and are visual documentation of what we physically achieved yesterday. I am moved to tears of pride with what was accomplished mentally and could only be acknowledged by the smiles which accompanied the “high fives”. Yet those images are registered indelibly in my mind as much as any photo.
Members of my Bariatric Support group, LIPO, gathered together in Middletown, CT to go zip lining. This trip has been in the planning stages for over a year, with Frank and Dan researching various venues. EMPOWER Leadership Sports & Adventure Center was chosen and we combined this outing with the opportunity to attend Dan’s Central CT Cares support group meeting.
During the days leading up to our event, there were discussions about our various level of fear of heights and the feeling of just “throwing” yourself “out there” tethered by a rope to a ½ inch cable. Not much braggadocio, rather nervous laughter was the norm. My co-leader Frank was the only one of the group that had previously attempted zip lining and assured us we would love it!
The weather was perfect; sunshine and little wind!
The first hurdle was to climb a ladder to a very small wooden platform erected 15 feet in the air. This begins the amazing part of the story. Some members never would have attempted this on their own but committed themselves to try their best to overcome this very real fear of heights. They “white knuckled” it step by step as they ascended to the platform. STOP HERE! Each and everyone of us made it up to the platform! For a few this was a HUGE accomplishment and I am so very proud of them. Because of their desire to stretch their boundaries and face their fears, they chose this moment, among friends, to test their mettle. Some went no further, yet I heartedly applaud their courage. They reached, a never before attempted, challenge!
Soon it was my turn to lower myself into position, to take the step that would leave me “zipping” for hours, miles above the ground, at speeds approaching the level to break the sound barrier. Well, it was about 60 feet off the ground, 300 feet long, approached speeds faster than my bicycle and lasted about 20 seconds. What a thrill! Now I just had to gauge my landing so as to not “slam” Varney, our “catcher”, into the trunk of the tree. I misjudged a little and he caught me, and a new relationship was born! He was such a good sport and continued to assist us all! Having reached the first landing was such a relief, I was now confident that I would be able to complete the course. I did, including the crossing of a multi-vine traverse and a cargo net obstacle.
Have I lost my fear of heights? No, but like each of my friends, I experienced the thrill and satisfaction of pushing my envelope; challenging myself to attempt to reach levels I was never able to consider prior to WLS. I have a new body shell that allows me to physically challenge myself: just as important I have a new attitude that forces me to seek new horizons mentally. LIPO members, you are all on my ALL STAR TEAM.
Did I hear someone say Trapeze training? Count me in!