This was a life-altering experience.
I am a very very careful person.
I don't really do anything unless I have a good feel for the fact that I can do it.
Things that I "wing" are because I have done them before and I know that I can get away with that.
There are times in my life where I have realized that I had a "phobia" and I worked through it. The most obvious example that comes to mind, is that when I was fresh out of high school, I didn't like being on the phone. The whole idea of calling people I didn't know freaked me out. So, when I had to get information about something - find an apartment, get prices for a product - I would make a list of all the options (people to call), and I would call everyone on that list! even if I got my answer on call one. Did that get me over the phobia? eh, not so much... needless to say, I love the internet!
I am DEATHLY afraid of snakes. Most of my life, I've had nightmares involving big snakes. I wanted to get over this fear, and I've paid attention to methodologies to overcome fear, and when it was suggested that I just do it by handling I snake, I thought NOT ON YOUR LIFE! There is no way in HELL I would do that. I'd rather just be petrified of the critters.
And that was mostly my attitude about fear.
...back to topic at hand.
Canyoneering is basically rappelling down waterfalls... hike up, rappel down.
This canyoneering thing is the first time in my life I had encountered something that induced sheer panic, and then consciously decided to just . keep . working . through . it.
Day 1: Lisa thinks, oh, this is going to be great, I've done this before with Meg and Tim, I had fun, nothing to be scared of harness will hold me la la la la...
Rappel 1 - no biggie, down I go.
Rappel 2 - STOP! wait a minute! I can't see where I'm going! I'm backing over an edge into NOTHINGNESS! holding a rope?! am I nuts!?
Well, I didn't want to seem like a wus, or hold up the class, or for anyone to tell me I couldn't do it. So I figured I'd just have to sort it out and find a way to cope!
There are 6 Rappels in that watercourse, here are heights: 45', 60', 20', 90', 70' 110'
The night after Day 1, I did not sleep. I just keep having dreams/thoughts about what I'd have to do the next day. I was so frickin' scared that I was gettin' all nervous on the hike TO the watercourse; you know, worried about my footing and silly things like that. I took a big sigh and went down the first 45' fall, and yikes! it was FUN!!
I realized that the experience of the day before had actually made it easier here on Day 2.
I didn't panic at the top of these falls, but I wasn't through the fear.
On the walk back to the car, the instructor said to me:
you are fine once you are on your way down, its the anticipation and then taking that step over the edge that is freaking you out.
I filed that away in the back of my mind.
After Day 3 I would say I was still scared. I still had to really think about going over those edges. But as the instructor said, after every one, you have done one more than you had before, so you have just that much more experience.
The day after my canyoneering weekend, I was exhausted. Emotionally and physically. I had not gotten home until very late each night, and all of that focusing on the fear was emotionally draining. So on that Monday, I was pretty introspective.
Through that, I had a pretty big realization.
I deal with all fear or anticipation the same way.
I know I can deal with anything, get through anything.
Its the thinking about it and the anticipation, and then taking that first step that freak me out.
Because of this, I am determined to keep practicing backing over that edge.
I am determined to find out how to do it without the fear. I want to know what I need to do to make that happen. I want to have that tool in my toolkit of coping with life.
(I highly recommend that if you want to do something outside, you go here and book a course with these incredible guys: Alpine Training Services - ATS.)
All photos from Day 1 link
All photos from Day 2 link
All photos from Day 3 link