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Facing Fears

Updated: Dec 23, 2021

Recently I tried something new - the flying trapeze. My son who has done this, and loves to see me doing athletic things, encouraged me to try. I was a gymnast, but due to a hip problem, I have not done gymnastics for years. So I was hesitant. Still I went to the class.

The first day the teachers put a belt with hooks on my waist. They trained us using a low bar on the ground. We were told when we got to the high platform that that bar was very heavy, and to hold tightly onto a side bar or we would be pulled right off the platform. They would hold us by the belt as well. Our belt would be hooked to “lines,” and after swinging we would be let down easily when finished to fall into a big net.

On the ground we learned to hang upside down from our knees. I did not let go as I was concerned it would hurt my hip, and came down nervously. I told the teachers when I got to the platform I just wanted to swing with my hands and fall, seated, onto the net. I was worried about how that would feel. But something in me wanted to try. It looked so fun!

With a tight belt around my waist I climbed a very high, narrow, completely vertical ladder about thirty feet up. I was terrified to climb the ladder as there was no net below and it was moving a little from my weight. But I kept breathing and climbing, slowly. I did not look down. I finally got to the top and stepped a few feet onto a platform, my heart beating wildly. I could see the net far below me.

We discussed what I would do. I held on to the bar, leaned forward, grabbed the heavy bar. The teacher held my belt. Then upon command, I bent my knees and jumped.

How many times in life do we jump, not knowing what we are jumping into?

I swung back-and-forth, holding on tightly and eventually dropped to the net in a seated position. I was worried my hip would hurt to land on, but it was fine because I was in a harness and the teacher on the ground let me down very gently. This gave me confidence to go again.

How many times in life do we have to rely on other people to help us, and trust they will?

The second time that first day I was still afraid. But I successfully completed a backflip dismount after swinging. It was scary but also exciting! I caught my breath down on the ground and then went up for a third back flip.

Support from my son, husband and teachers helped a lot. Every time I climbed the ladder it got a tiny bit easier to climb, jump, fly, flip, land.

The second day, still afraid, I completed three backflips and began to feel more confident. I was improving each time.

The third day I decided to try the knee hang. The teachers insisted it was more effortless up high "in lines" than on the ground because the "lines" would help support my weight. My fear was subsiding. I jumped, swung, lifted my knees up to hook the bar. Then, when directed, I let my hands go, hanging from my knees, suspended high in the air. It was exhilarating and scary at the same time.

How many times in life do we let go, and face things that exhilarate and yet scare us?

After these three days, I was very proud of myself. I pushed through some fear to do this. Facing fears is so important for people. Not just to help us gain confidence for a particular issue, but to gain confidence in all areas of our lives. The more we do things we are afraid of, the more fearless we become.

A life coach helps a person face fears, taking steps to break through feeling stuck in fear. Let me know if I can help you face anything holding you back.

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