My trip to Costa Rica a few years ago was a pivotal experience for me. I enjoyed some speaking and learning opportunities, a couple of visits to the hot springs, some great hiking opportunities, and a lot of personal development. Best of all, I was going to be able to finally cross “go ziplining” off my bucket list.
It was a hot and sunny day and as my friends and I vaulted through the tree canopy high above the ground, I experienced an exhilaration I’ve rarely felt before. It was a dream come true. And I felt like I was flying.
Our guides led us from line to line and we marvelled at the beauty of the landscape. Birds sang. The scent of Nature filled our noses. Everything was perfect. Until we came up to a sign that said, “Tarzan Swing.” I wasn’t sure I liked the sound of that, but our guides led us into the small open-ended shack that lay behind the sign and I peered beyond the platform that lay before me. The platform jutted out above the canopy floor below and there was a little clearing a long way below that gave way to an even deeper chasm beyond. A small metal gate stood guard at the edge of the platform, a flimsy protector at best.
“Oh dear,” I thought, “I really don’t like the look of that.” Meanwhile, one of our guides was busily buckling me into another harness, one that was even sturdier than the one I was already wearing.
“WHAT are you doing?” I asked nervously.
The man laughed, tugged on the harness to make sure it was secure, nudged me to the edge of the platform, and opened the flimsy metal gate that had kept me from certain danger.
This had not been part of the plan for the day. I was terrified!
“Just sit down,” the guide said.
“I’m not ready for that kind of commitment,” I said. “It’s not a good time to do this.” I might be making this part up, but I’m pretty sure the guide whispered, “Nobody is ever ready for that kind of commitment.”
By this time, I was standing with my toes over the edge of the platform. I was nervous and shaking. and worried something disastrous was bound to transpire. And then I realized that this activity was probably relatively safe because the ziplining company (and the government of Costa Rica) couldn’t afford to have terrible things happen to middle aged female tourists while ziplining because that would be bad for business.
And so, with that thought as comfort, I sat down and let out the biggest scream I’ve ever uttered as my body hurtled through the air, out over nothingness, while I clung to a rope that magically kept me aloft as I swept out over the forest. It was the most extraordinary experience of my life. And I started to laugh. I LOVED the Tarzan Swing. Much as it terrified me, it also jolted me into aliveness. It expanded my sense of who I am and who I am here to be.
What does that have to do with book writing? Stay tuned for the next blog in this series!