It'd be nice if life came in the form of a book where we can skip ahead to the last page and be reassured that everything is going to work out okay, or like a movie where we can fast-forward through all of the highs and lows life has to offer and watch that legendary last scene, but it doesn't and frankly I'm glad.
How boring would life be if that were the case? Would we even have the courage to try new things knowing that it would all work out okay no matter what?
As a basic rule for myself while living in Maine, I try to do one new thing a week. Last week I tried aerial yoga. For those of you who may not know, aerial yoga takes place in/with a silk hammock. It hangs loosely from the ceiling like a sling, and when stretched out it creates a hammock.
Ten minutes into the aerial workshop, the instructor told us to flip backward and trust the fabric. The goal was to do an inversion that looked like a frog hanging upside down. I have to admit, I was nervous. Even though she assured us that the hammocks could hold up to 1,000 lbs and that it was a low-impact maneuver, I still had a hard time falling into the unknown not knowing if I was literally going to fall on my face or not.
I had a choice. I could either refuse to do it and thus waste the whole experience, or just lean back and trust that I would land on my feet, or my hands in this case. I took a deep breath and flipped myself over.
Life is full of trust exercises both big and small. Sometimes we have someone there ready to catch us if we fall, and other times we have no one to fall back on but ourselves. I wasn't ready to flip myself over. I would've preferred more time getting used to the hammock, but I didn't have that option. I had to trust that I was going to be okay no matter what.
The moment right before I try something new is my favorite. My heart races, my palms sweat, and the butterflies whirl around frantically in my stomach. I know that this can end in one of two ways, but suddenly calm washes over me because I'm truly okay with whatever happens. I smile and take the leap.
Once I successfully flipped over in my hammock, I was addicted. I flipped as many times as I could, and I went back the next week for more. Before the second class even started I slid into my hammock and flipped back instantly trusting the fabric, but also trusting myself.
I have tried a lot of new things since I moved to Maine--things I never thought I could do, and afterwards I'm always happy I did it. Not every experience is a success; some have been rather disappointing, but it always teaches me something new about myself. I've learned that most of my fears are illogical. They're my preconceived notions of what I think I can do. Each new thing I try begs the question, "Can I really not do this, or do I just think I can't?" More often than not it's the latter.
Trying new things doesn't come naturally to some; it certainly didn't come naturally to me, but the more times I did it the easier it became. With practice I got to the point where I don't hesitate to sign up for a dance class, a moose safari, or even an aerial yoga class.
How do you handle new experiences? Do you embrace the new or are you more hesitant? How do you convince yourself to take the leap?