Recently I met a friend and went on a treetop adventure. I had never done so before, nor had I tried a zip line. Now, don’t go thinking bad thoughts about me, I had done rock climbing and repelling years ago as a young USMC Corporal. And, if you must know, I loved the experience.
But, those stories are for another time. This story is about my experience in the tree tops.
Our adventure began on a deck about 3 feet off the ground, and culminated in practicing clipping on and off the cable, and taking my first little zip. It was pleasant and seemed completely sensible and do-able.
Then we walked over to a big pine tree with a ladder up its side, and a platform a few feet above my head. My friend did not want to go first, so up the ladder I went. Then clipped onto the cable, and worked my way around the tree on the rather small platform. Now those little challenges that looked so simple, and not so far off the ground look a little more threatening when I got right up to them.
As I waited for my friend to climb up to the platform and get clipped in I had plenty of opportunity to look over the hazard ahead. The first step off the platform was down, and out about 2 feet. I’m short, a 2 foot stride is a bit of a big step for me. The platform was suspended on chains from a cable above my head. As I looked at it I began to wonder if I was strong enough. What if I stepped out there and the platform moved forward too far, I’m not a splits kind of girl, that could go sideways pretty quickly. What if the first platform banged into the next one, and then everything was moving. Oh, my mind was beginning to evaluate, and suggest, all the ways this could go poorly. These moments to dwell on my impending first step felt like minutes.
And then it was time for action. My friend was on the platform, clipped in, and ready to watch me sink or swim, or actually walk or fall. I moved my clips to the challenge cable. “Stop!” she said, “I want to take a video.” Oh great, now my mis-steps will be recorded for all time. The pressure to succeed or at least not make a fool of myself builds.
Once she’s in place and gives me permission to go I take that first step. Not too bad, I get one foot and then the other on the first platform with only a little forward and backward swing. Two steps forward and I need to step to the next hanging platform. My first attempt, holding the chains of both doesn’t seem sufficiently stable. It needs to be an all or nothing plunge forward. Taking a deep breath I reach one hand and then one foot forward, straddling the platforms. For just a moment my feet want to extend forward and behind me, but that quick tightening of my whole body in fear takes care of it. As I stabilize my footing on the new platform I find myself moving my other hand and foot forward and regain stability immediately. Somehow, without my consciously knowing what I’ve learned I move forward, crossing the remaining platforms and arriving at the tree in moments.
Why have I taken a few moments to tell you this little tale? It has a big life lesson in it, one I think is worth sharing. You see, I’ve been in school to become an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. My reasons will need to be in a separate post, to come soon, I promise. Now I’ve completed my schooling, my business cards are done, as is my brochure, my web site is up, and it is time for the next step.
That next step is so fraught with danger, I could fail, I could do a bad job, it could not go according to my plan. Or not.
In the midst of all these thoughts and this musing on a Saturday morning with my chai tea getting cold, I do believe there is some deep truth about human nature in that little step from the tree platform – solid, safe, secure, not changing, immobile; and the swinging platform – fluid, free, dangerous, and new. Most of us are risk adverse. And yet, when we take those risks, most of the time they work out, they bring growth, freedom, and exciting new experiences.
It is time to step out.
If you want to watch the video, check out my YouTube channel, Pam Lady On A Quest.
If you need to step out, and want a supportive community, share your intention below.