Bye-Bye Fear, Hello Quantum Leap

fearFriday Funnies: IT’S 6:00PM AND I’M STILL WAITING at the airport for Alex, my ten year old nephew to arrive from the land of Eastern snows for a week’s holiday visit. His flight is quite delayed having stood, fully loaded on the tarmac for three hours pre-takeoff for de-icing. I’m expecting one sleepy, jet-lagged unaccompanied minor.

Au contraire. When Alex finally bursts out of the arrival gate all smiles, the remnants of airplane pizza still clinging to his cheek, the questions are non-stop. “What are we doing tomorrow, how long is the ride home, what’s for dinner, do your kitties like to be petted, what time is it, can I watch a movie when we get to your house, what’s de-icing…?” You get the picture.

“But I’m not tired” is the groggy protest I get at 11:00pm that eve when I resort to ice cream to bribe him into bed.  Admittedly it’s highly entertaining watching him try to keep his eyes open but in his time zone it’s already 2:00am and I’m exhausted…

fearHopefully he’ll be able to keep up tomorrow, I’m hell-bent on giving him a slice of life he’ll never forget. The entire week is jam-packed with exciting activities: sailing the bay, hiking, shark feeding at the aquarium, goat petting, shopping, big trampoline, James Bond movies, it’s endless…

The next day we go indoor climbing and despite his constant insistence that he is terrified of heights, I manage to coax him ten feet up the wall. He’s no monkey like his auntie, (you can’t get me off the wall) but still, I’m very impressed with his courage.

“Do you know how cool it is that you climbed ten feet, Alex? Your fear is like a limiting circle around you and when you stepped outside that fear circle today by climbing, you widened the entire circle”, I explain, hoping to  instill the notion of stepping outside one’s comfort zone. “As of today, you now officially have less fear of everything else.”

Alex looks at me and nods politely. It’s unclear if his ten year old brain has truly grasped the benefits of scaring oneself on a daily basis or if he’s just humoring me. No one explained this fear theory to me until I was well into my forties so I’m not expecting any quantum leaps from him.

fearTomorrow’s adventure is indoor sky diving at iFly on New Year’s Day and both Blue Eyes and I fear that, given Alex’s deep seated fear of heights, the activity could prove to be a disastrous flop.

Should we cancel? I fear the my nephew will never forgive me if we go through with it.

When Alex asks for the billionth time “what are we doing tomorrow?” I simply turn to Blue Eyes and say “um… Baby, you’re so much better at explaining this thing, could you tell him, please?” Then I conveniently exit stage left, Snagglepuss….

Nothing like being a good tag team.

Have you ever tried indoor sky diving? My first experience had me sick with terror but it turned out to be an absolute blast. You put on a helmet and goggles and face plant into a 16ft plexiglass wind tunnel with tremendously powerful fans below. A thin, loose metal grid underfoot allows the forced air through.

fearWhen you do take that death defying leap of faith and launch your quivering body into the tunnel the extreme air resistance pushes you up so you don’t actually do a face plant. An instructor goes in with you to ensure you don’t die a horrible death.

Each plunge lasts only an endless minute or so and it is one of the most exhilarating sensations I’ve ever had. It’s like a flying dream come true. Due to the blast of air snot and saliva escape your orifices and stream uncontrollably up your face while you are in the air tunnel.

You don’t care a rip at the time since you are airborne. And perhaps screaming.

At iFly, Alex, to my astonishment, does a quantum leap into the wind tunnel a completely fearless boy. The kid who was petrified yesterday to climb a measly ten feet even with the safely of a harness is now begging to fly higher in the air tunnel. He goes in repeatedly.

fear“That was the best time of my life so far!!” Alex exclaims ecstatically afterwards, “my face was covered is spit!” I pass the compliment on to Victor, our capable instructor who smiles and high fives me. He knows exactly what I’m talking about.

It’s about kicking that bloody fear circle well into oblivion.

Am I rubbing off on Alex or is that ten year old teaching this old dog a new trick about facing fear with a smile?

Here’s to spit in your face, kiddo.

When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return. – Leonardo da Vinci

fearEsmée St James

Photo credit – indoor skydiving: