I would like to think of myself as an adventurer. You know, the type of person who doesn’t let what they’ve done in the past limit what they can do in the future. I would like to be the person that sees a challenge and decides to march confidently into the unknown. I firmly believe that limiting your life by only focusing on your known strong points limits your potential. Doing so can dull your spirit thereby hindering your growth and health. Unhealthy spirit, unhealthy body. Having said that, living outside of my comfort zone more often leaves me a terrified, blubbering bundle of nerves.
Take this past weekend. I was in my first ever aerial hammock showcase. Unfamiliar with hammock? It is the art of twisting and twirling yourself with fabric into contorted beauty in the style of Cirque de Soleil. First of all, I am not your coordinated, ultra-flexible dancer type. In fact, I dropped out of dance class at six years old because I didn’t want to wear the shoes. (I was a Florida beach baby that refused to wear shoes any more constraining than a flip flop). Second, I’m petrified of heights. I don’t have to be 20 feet in the air to be a quivering mess. Five feet off the ground will have me coaxing myself to not look down. Third, I took my first aerial hammock class just three short months ago. Needless to say, my stomach was in such a knot last weekend that I thought I would need a surgeon to untangle it.
When the lights went out and it was time for me to walk onstage, everything became surreal. I let go of hope and fear and focused on what I had to do in the moment. Thankfully, the audience was very supportive and they hooted, hollered and clapped me through the piece. Oh, and you’ll be happy to know that I didn’t fall. Whew!
So now I am an aerialist. It isn’t a label I ever imagined I would wear, but now it fits. Expanding how you define yourself is one of the best things you can do for your soul. Anything that supports your spirit will also support your health. Venturing into the unknown can leave you a teeth chattering mess. Conversely, living in fear sends negative signals to your brain and body eventually leading to deterioration of health.
So live outside of your comfort zone! Yes, I say this now that this challenge is over. I’ll make sure to re-read this blog entry next time I have something that tests me. Overcoming a hurdle will only make you stronger. When you are stronger, your body and soul will flourish, leaving you a healthier version of you!