Fear faced on a trapeze

On my third attempt, I got my

legs up and over and released my

hands. Woo hoo! Even the teens’ parents cheered.

I wasn’t sure my 49-year-old body could handle it, but my interest was piqued. Exactly one year ago, my friend and colleague, Lauri, invited me to attend a trapeze class.

As we walked into the Trapeze Center, I saw a huge net 10 feet off the ground. At one end, about 20 feet up, was a platform. Dangling from the middle of the ceiling were two trapeze bars. I could feel my palms getting a little sweaty as my heart beat a little faster.

The others in our class were four lean and limber high school girls who had received the class as a gift. Their parents, who had come along to cheer them on, gave us nervous smiles as they realized Lauri and I were participants, not fellow spectators.

Katie, our lead instructor, took us through our options, starting with the easiest move: grabbing the trapeze bar and swinging off the platform over the net. Next, we could add swinging our legs up and over the bar and releasing our hands so we were hanging upside down by our knees. The ultimate, after repeating the first two steps, was to let go of the bar and be caught in mid-air by Jake, her male counterpart. Easy peasy!

Well, for the teenagers, it was.

For me? Well, my first attempt at getting my legs over the bar was lost because I was so nervous I didn’t hear the instructions Katie was calling out.

The second time, I swung my legs but just couldn’t get them over the bar. Ugh! This was hard!

On my third attempt, I got my legs up and over and released my hands. Woo hoo! Even the teens’ parents cheered. I wondered, “Could Jake really catch me?!” I dropped to the net and got up to try.

As I stood on the platform once more, my thought was, “I CAN do this and I trust Jake and Katie.”

Facing a fear like that isn’t easy, but challenging myself to do it anyway had the effect of pushing fear to the backseat. As I look back on it, I realize three things made the experience possible:

1. A belief in myself (not that I could do it, but that I could try);

2. A supportive environment (even the teens’ parents helped!);

3. Trusting those on my team.

The bonus of facing a fear like that? It fills your gas tank full of courage that you can use to fuel other areas of your life. What could you do with a little more courage in your tank?

Kathleen Murray lives in St. Paul and is a life and career coach. She co-facilitates Project Leap, a workshop/trapeze class.

FFI: Check out Kathleen Murray’s “catch” at http://youtu. be/0E7QZqb7mi0


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