Riding With No Hands

I remember hearing someone say many years ago that sometimes on the roller coaster of life you just have to put your hands up in the air, open your eyes, and go for it. It stuck with me because at that time, I didn’t feel at all brave, but wanted to be, on roller coasters and in life in general.

Actually, my experience on roller coasters had been a lot like my other experiences up to that point – willing to try them after a bit of coaxing, anxious but hopeful of a good outcome. Fourteen years ago, when my son was six, we took the kids to Disneyland. Later, when my son talked about what the inside of Space Mountain looked like, I had to admit that my eyes were squeezed shut the whole time. He thought that was pretty wimpy, and I did, too. (For those of you who haven’t yet been to Disneyland, Space Mountain is an indoor roller coaster that is very dark inside, making it look like you are in deep space hurtling past stars and planets and . . . . other deep-space stuff.) I realized that keeping my eyes shut tight in fear the entire time kept me from really having the experience, and it was a symbol of how I approached other things in my life as well. I told my son then that next time I would leave my eyes open.

I finally had the chance last year, when we again took our now-adult children to Disneyland. It was a great time, running between the rides, all of us acting like kids again. I made a conscious decision that I would live up to my promise to myself. My husband and my kids were indulgent with me, listening with smiles on their faces but somehow not laughing, when I said proudly that I was going to keep my eyes open on the ride.

The first one was the new roller coaster in California Adventure. I felt a big rush of excitement as I buckled in, and I have to say it was great as I watched upside down as we barrel-rolled our way down the track. As we climbed a hill I went for it, first time ever, and put my hands in the air as we crested the hill and came tearing back down. I waited 51 years to have that experience, and I’m glad I finally did it.

Later we hit the Hollywood Hotel ride that is open to the outside, supposedly in an elevator that falls a number of stories before stopping abruptly. We rode that one twice, and I’m happy to report that I did it eyes open!

One of the last ones we rode was Space Mountain, and I have a picture on my refrigerator of all of us – one of those that the ride takes at an especially scary part and then lets you buy the picture at the end if you want to. There I am sitting in the front of the car, screaming and clearly having a great time, and my eyes look like bug eyes, but they are open.

Being with my kids for that weekend was tremendous fun, and the fact that I conquered my fear made it all the more so. I’m still proud of that Space Mountain picture. The great thing is, I’ve been learning to fear less and trust more for a long time, and I think in some small way that trip really did help me realize that I am brave, in many ways. Every time we stand tall in our own truth, we are being brave.

Each time I deny a belief that anything but good is at work in my life, I am brave. And each and every time I choose a reality of my own making, affirming that I exist as an expression of loving and limitless creation, I know my own unbounded power.

May you live with your eyes wide open, and may this tool be a blessing. . .

Sherry Woodcock

Daily Spiritual Tools