This past weekend I spent the day hiking the beautiful Los Angeles San Gabriel Mountains as Derrick and I headed to a famous little place called the Bridge to Nowhere. For his 30th birthday, Derrick wanted to face one of his fears- heights, so I thought it would be great for us to conquer that fear by going bungee jumping.
Bungee America was the company I found that offer a great experience including a beautiful 5-mile hike to the bridge. It was a wonderful morning hike with generous shade from the cloudy morning. The hike takes about 2 hours and includes trekking across rivers and climbing up slopes. When you finally reach your destination, the bridge, a little anxiety kicks in. But don’t worry the instructors are really great at what they do. They made us eat a little food while they went over all the safety features and techniques. They were funny and calming at the same time, both Chris and Nicole are great!
Then you line up for the up! I’ll let the photos guide you to our experience but here are some life lesson take aways I had reflecting after my jump.
- That fear is all in your head. The instructors called it the “invisible wall of fear”, that moment you cross the bridge wall and standing on a little platform. Life reflection: People fear the unknown. Like that thought of asking someone out for the first time or quitting that stable job to follow an unstable path with passion. Fear will always mess with your head making you go the opposite direction. But once you take that leap and go with all your heart, fear doesn’t have time to catch up. The screams as a result of fear can suddenly turn into laughter.
- Its tough to do it alone no matter what you do and sometimes you need a mentor/instructor to guide you along. Life Reflection: There are so many creative and wise people out there who have been there and done what you want to do. They are coaches, the crazy uncle, or neighbor who can help you make sense of things and are secretly little fairy godmothers and godfathers. They can help guide you to where you want to go. Chris was a great instructor, funny, calm and caring- he could read each one of us and could tell what type of encouragement was needed.
- There are two different basic jump styles you can do- forward dive or backwards fall. Each one a unique experience but both terrifying. Do you want to dive forward and see the ground coming toward you or not look at all and fall back toward the Earth looking up at the sky. My gut instinct was the forward dive because I wanted to see where I was going but I teetered with that thought while waiting in line for my turn. When I finally was hooked on the bungee the Chris, the instructor asked, so how are you going to jump? Sensing my uncertainty, he said, Go with your initial instinct…its usually right. Life Reflection: how many times have I fought over a decision over and over only to always come back to my initial decision. If that actually happened on that day, I would have been stuck contemplating and not ready to go. Make a decision and follow through, if it doesn’t turn out as plan, go make another choice and move on. Not making a decision can feel like quick sand, making you feel stuck.
- Still afraid to jump? Too much chatter and doubt going on in your head? All you need to do is go Find yourself cheer squad, your tribe. Life Reflection: How many times can you remember doing something you wouldn’t normally do because your friends were doing it? Good choices or bad, we humans like to have that social interaction and are more willing to join with others on board. I don’t think I would have gotten the courage to jump if I didn’t have my fellow jumpers cheering me on! Having that support made it so much more easier to let go.
- You can do anything you set your mind to. With all of the listed encouragements above, it all comes back to you on deciding to make that jump. You control your body and mind. When you make a decision whole hearty, your mind takes you there. Trust in yourself and honor the commitment that goal. Bungeeing was symbolic for me in the sense that I really wanted to feel the sense of freedom. Freedom from the bridge, the ground, and perhaps the expectations that I perceived I had to exceed. I wanted to feel that weight off my shoulders and dive into that weightlessness.