I looked down from my perch 120 feet up. Looked down through the mesh platform that appeared totally inadequate. Carefully avoided the Bullet Ants that were crawling up the tree. Leaning against the tree would have provided a modicum of security but I had been warned that bites from only five of the dime-sized ants would produce a reaction equivalent to a poisonous snake so I did not lean on the tree.
The young Tico attached my harness to the cable. I willed myself to ignore the fact that I was entrusting my life to a 16-year-old that I had never met. “Ok! Time to Fly.” I think those were the only English words he knew.
“Pura Vida” I yelled as I jumped off the platform. I flew at 40 mph toward the next platform. I knew it was somewhere out there in the jungle. It was just obscured by the trees. All harboring those Bullet Ants. Five minutes into my first zip-line experience I realized I was terrified but there was no way out of it but through it. What a metaphor!
I continued jumping and screaming for the next hour. When it was over and I was able to plant my feet on terra firma and shimmy out of my harness I realized I had not seen a single monkey. Not a Howler Monkey. Not a Spider Monkey. Not a White Faced Monkey. Hard to spot monkeys when one is soaring along at 40 miles per hour with eyes closed.
This was the second in a series of what I refer to as my “Fear Factor Vacations”. At almost 55 I decided it was time to begin living dangerously. I have spent enough of my life safely ensconced on a beach chair while other folks surfed, dived and bungeed. I am happy to report that I can do things today that I could not or would not do at 20. “Take a Leap” is my mantra.
Not all the leaps are from tree tops. This trip the most challenging leap was into an Iyengar Yoga Class. Most of the other yogis were 20 something. Most were yoga teachers themselves. This was not your mama’s yoga class.
“Ego is the first barrier.” Did I imagine that the instructor looked straight at me when she said that? As I sat in my version of lotus and tried to fathom how I was going to survive six hours of yoga a day I heard the words that brought fear to my heart.
“Headstands! Those of you that can go up on your own do it now. Those that need help move to the wall. We will be holding this asana for 15 minutes.” I moved to the wall and tried to make myself invisible. No luck. She wasn’t buying it. I moved to the wall like a dead man walking. After several tries – several very awkward tries – I found myself looking at the world from a whole new perspective. As the blood rushed to my head I was exhilarated.
This was better than white water rafting or ziplining. It was better than scuba diving or riding those mules down the side of the Grand Canyon. I was making my body do something I didn’t know it could do. My properly diminished ego was allowing me to risk looking silly in front of strangers.
I only had minutes to enjoy this bliss before the instructor called out “Okay – Handstands!”