There’s something about communing with nature that really puts the urban daily grind into perspective and teaches us invaluable lessons about work, life and love.
I experienced one such epiphany on Memorial Day when, after about half a year of seeing dust collect on an incredible and creative birthday gift from one of my sisters, I finally decided to take an amazing plunge – literally and figuratively. It was a three-hour zip line tour of the Angeles National Forest in Wrightwood, Calif., about 90 minutes away from my home in Los Angeles. Life had become hectic, but then a paid national holiday forced me to stop and smell a few roses along my rugged journey.
What really stayed with me throughout this outdoor adventure was an ability to escape fear of the unknown. I never did anything like this before and fretted about the possibility that it would just leave me with butterflies in the pit of my stomach – like plunging downward in a rollercoaster or airplane at an incredibly high rate of speed. I don’t care much for that sensation. I’m not an adrenalin junkie and never will be.
But boy was I wrong. The zip line tour, run by a company called Navitat and aptly branded Cloud 9 on the gift certificate, was much more tame than I expected– allowing customers to put the brakes on their descent with a gentle-to-firm touch of their gloved palm to the zip line. It was that simple. So I had some sense of control, which helps alleviate fear. Even better is that it enabled me to relax and take in some breathtaking sights at breathtaking speeds – if I chose to speed things up.
With fear out of the equation, serenity quickly seeps into the experience and deepens the joy. I suppose that’s why Outward Bound or scouting programs for kids, as well as similar team-building events in the corporate world, are so popular. They really help teach people of all ages to appreciate nature, as well as work through fear or anxiety and trust one another.
We can all benefit from something like this in our lives from time to time – even if it’s a hike through the woods, or in my neighborhood, a local canyon or beach. Think of it as pressing the pause button when life speeds up to a point where it almost becomes unrecognizable. That’s exactly what happened to me, and now I can just press play.