One of the items on my bucket list is to overcome my fear of heights. It keeps me from hiking on even wide, flat trails if they have a dropoff on one side - like the Hoodoo Bowl at Bryce, or the simplest of glacier walks at Paradise on Mount Rainier, or the Airport Butte trail in Sedona.
Anyway, on our drive yesterday from Seattle to Whistler, BC we stopped at the Capilano Suspension Bridge in North Vancouver. I'd heard - in National Geographic Traveler, I think - it was a place in the world you need to see. So I decided we would stop and walk across that bridge, 250 feet over the river, plus traverse the seven other suspension bridges in the rainforest within the park. I told Art I wanted to do this, even though the admission is $30. He didn't say anything, but I knew the price committed me to the crossing.
Usually, when I'm approaching a high place, I prime my terror by looking down. This time, I remembered my old friend Kris saying, "Don't look down" when I froze up on the Mount Rainier trail. So instead, I looked across, to the other side of the bridge. I crossed the bridge one step at a time, my right hand firmly on the cable, my eyes fixed on a tree on the other side. And, lo and behold, Linda has now walked high above a river on a suspension bridge!
It was like last year in Turkey when I went for a hot air balloon ride. I said yes and I had an unexpected experience. In that balloon we traveled to places we couldn't have gotten to any other way. Goat trails. Plateau meadows. Pigeon houses. All because I said yes.
Don't look down. You're not supposed to be terrified. If you look down you will be so terrified you will turn around and go back to the safety of where you've already been. And you will not have the new experience. And you will still be afraid.
Thinking about responses to my post about my ESL class, I note that no one said, "Do it the easy way." That sounds a lot like "Don't look down."