Friday, July 25, 2008
What I did on my summer vacation...
As some of you knew, Earl and I were off island for a week. We hadn't been back to Kauai since our honeymoon 7 years ago so we decided it was time!
I love Kauai! In my humble opinion, it is the most beautiful of the Hawaiian Islands (although I do adore my home island of Hawaii too!)
Before we left Kona, Earl started searching the internet for adventures we could go on. We've done the ATV tour, several hikes and kayak'd. He had heard of "Zip Lining" and thought that sounded like fun. My husband is such a quiet and seemingly serious man that his sense of adventure surprises most people. He has been sky diving, helicoptering, horseback riding and in a submarine. But on this vacation, he decided he wanted to be strapped to a small cable 80ft up in a tree and go zipping down it!
A few of you who know me, know that I always choose a "word of the year" and use it as a theme to learn life's lessons. One year, my word was "organize" --That year, I went through my file cabinet, merged and sorted out folders, cleaned closets and used my trusty label maker to assign a place for everything (and everything in it's place). Another year that I enjoyed was the year of "educate". That year I took a couple classes on-line, read books and learned new things. That was the year I began making Japanese lanterns out of hypertufa
So with all this being said, by now you are probably wondering why suddenly I seemed to have taken this detour down memory lane rather than proceeding with my story. WEll, this year, my word of the year is "NO!" Say it with me "NO!" What a powerful word!
You see, last year, I tried saying "yes" way too often and the result was the panicky overwhelmed feeling that comes from over-extending myself. So this year, as I have been living and learning from my word of the year, I have said "no" more than once to several things including a few small jobs that I really didn't have time for. It was exhillarating! "NO!" It is a complete sentence!
So when my DH suggested Ziplining, I did contemplate exercising my powerful word of the year. I could just say "No" and that would be that! You see, I am really, really afraid of heights and of falling! Earl knows this because when we were visiting the California Adventure Park in Disneyland a few years ago, we stood in line for 30 minutes for a ride that took you up, up and up slowly... and then plummetted your body to the earth at speeds that I am sure could induce wet pants. We stood there waiting, watching, waiting...and then we were next. Suddenly tears started flowing down my checks. I was terrified. I decided then and there that I really had nothing to prove to anyone. I don't like feeling scared so I apologized to Earl and got out of line.
Because I CHOSE NOT to exercise my right to say "No" this time, (which by the way is also empowering!), I began trying to mentally prepare for this adventure that I knew would be very frightening for me. I started re-reading "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff". There are so many short little suggestions and exercises in that book to use to become a "better you". Examples are:
1. Don't sweat the small stuff.
2. It's all small stuff.
3. Live in the moment
4. Imagine you are a student and that everyone you encounter today is here to teach you something.
...and so much more
It was with these ideas in my head tht I went to bed, knowing that we had booked a non-refundable Zip Line excursion for Wednesday! For my "last supper" we had dined at the Hanamaulu Cafe and when the fortune cookies came I was hoping it would share some profound truth like, "Crazy woman who swings in the trees, lands with thud". I could have taken it as a sign! But no such luck! I didn't sleep well. I felt so nervous and apprehensive. So why go through with it? Actually it had nothing to do with "conquering my fears, But everything to do with confronting them, acknowledging them and moving on. I ran a marathon years ago but that was all about trusting in myself and my abilities that I had trained for. This adventure of Zip Lining, to me, meant trusting in someone else. I had to trust the equipment was safe and I had to trust that the guides knew how to hook me up and how to catch me!
I believe with all my heart that people come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. So it was with this belief that I introduced myself to our group.
There was a younger married couple, Dan and Michelle. Dan was often our leader in stepping off of tall platforms and traversing swinging bridges. I admired that.
Then there was Frank and Sandy. I am guessing Frank to be about my dad's age. He and Sandy have gone skydiving and loved it. Sandy was such an adventurer. With a "why not?" attitude. She cheered me on and wasn't afraid to be silly.
Completing our team were Emily and Judy. They too had been skydiving but Judy was not afraid to admit that she "hated" it and was a little nervous about Zipping! I felt an instant bond with her! It may sound odd, but the fact that Judy usually followed me jumping off the tree platform and knowing she was scared too, gave me courage to keep going. Judy, I hope that somehow my fear gave you courage as well. I really liked these two women and would perhaps preferred sharing a laugh over cocktails!
Our guides were great. Kaishun was a young agile boy whose nonchalance inspired confidence, while Cindy, a gal in my age group, encouraged me in other ways. More than once she would remind us that the fear was "just in your head" But not in a belittling way! That mantra helpled me to traverse two scarey-as-hell swinging rope bridges. The first one was daunting! Each two foot by 6 inch wooden slat was suspended by two ropes, making each slat free-swinging! You had to step in the center of the slat, keep good posture, and pull yourself along with your arms and hope that the strong winds would ease up as you picked your foot off the slat for the next step. We were hooked up to a cable overhead at all times....but fear can still be paralyzing. I listened so closely to the directions on how to do it the easy way! After sucessfully arriving at the next tree, the following 'zip' seemed like a piece of cake!
It was on the second ...uh.."bridge" (2 ropes armpit height and one rope for your feet like a tight rope!) that I decided it was time to exercise my word of the year. I had gotten half way across and someone yelled for me to turn around for a picture! HA! Are you kidding? That seemed like a good time to "just say no!"
We all made it safely back to base without ruining "Just Live's" safety record. Once we were all done, did I feel invigorated? NOPE! I just felt spent! I wanted a nap! All that adrenaline and then it was over! Was this adventure life changing? Did I conquer my fears? NO, I don't think so. But it was empowering and I did add another color to my palette of life which is a good thing---because when it is all over, I want to have had a colorful life!
A big Mahalo to all of you who share this memory with me.