Did someone tilt the screen? I’m standing still but the world’s spinning around me.
I’ve been battling an annoying case of vertigo for about five months now. Getting out of bed, looking up, lifting, bending down, reaching high for stuff, driving … ordinary, simple things that make me feel as though I’m upside down on a roller coaster ride. My hubby says it’s a cheap high.
I’ve seen spin doctors, who eventually diagnosed Benign Positional Vertigo and recommended I do the Brandt & Daroff exercises daily. In short, they’re a ‘wonky’ but effective set of exercises that have helped immensely.
Contrary to popular belief, vertigo is not a fear of heights, it’s an inner ear condition that can hit anyone, anytime. It’s not serious but it’s not fun either. Nope, roller coasters definitely aren’t on my list these days.
Whilst I’ll still happily climb a mountain or a look out tower, or ride a twenty story lift I approach them with much more respect. Does anyone else feel this same wariness?
Still, if there’s a challenge in front of me, I won’t shy away. I’ll face my fear (mostly).
After all, if we’re really, really scared, it means we’re about to do something really, really brave.
I think exposure is a reasonable plan.
Here I am on the suspension bridge at Tarra Bulga National Park last summer, high above the rainforest canopy. It’s a big drop but I figure, worse case scenario, if I fall it’s a cushioned landing. Notice how I’m embracing it all, AKA holding on for dear life.
Just a few months ago I climbed up this trestle bridge in Noojee. I was fine going up but at the top, high above the ground, the dizziness hit me again. A tip: look forward and not down.
Some places really test the steely nerves.
Who’d fancy climbing this steel beast of a fire spotting tower, just out of Warburton, with all of its open steps that look straight down? I remember it took all my willpower not to look down between the open steps and not feel sick in the stomach.
That’s how I felt last weekend as I cycled my bike high up above the overpass bridge across the freeway in Melbourne.
I’d already cycled through tunnels and tracks, over bridges and up hills, pushing myself. I’ve put myself in training for the Great Victorian Bike Ride in November and all was going well but this overpass nearly got the better of me.
For just a few seconds I was overtaken with panic and the sensation that I was going over the edge. It seemed ridiculous but I fought it and, hands sweating, heart pounding, I managed to ride my bike over and keep going.
Why does looking down feel like we’re falling?
I think as adults we feel more vulnerable because we’re more aware of what we have to lose, of our mortality. Perhaps that should be even more of a reason to live life to the full.
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.” Albert Einstein
Whilst fundamentally true I beg to raise a point with Mr Einstein. Sometimes we do have to get off that bike to find our balance. It’s okay, and even necessary, to slow down, stop and rest.
A rest allows us to get up and go again, with renewed vigour. Trust me, I know.
After more than 50Kms of cycling, my still-to-be-conditioned legs felt like jelly and I was well and truly ready to get off that bike.
Maintaining balance isn’t just about staying on a bike or scaling heights effortlessly.
Yes, it’s about striving but it’s also about doing the best that we can and being true to ourselves.
“Like a ten-speed bike, most of us have gears we do not use.” Charles Shulz
Despite what we might think, life is NOT a race. However it can present us with different scenarios that require us to shift gear and think differently.
Select the right gear and life (and the ride) can be infinitely easier or more challenging. We can choose to ramp it up or slow it down as the scenario suits.
It’s about stretching ourselves, doing our best and being okay with that, no matter the outcome.
So go find the spark that gets you going, embrace the feelings of uncertainty and even the dizzy heights knowing that, even amongst the off balance moments, life is amazing.
Enjoy the moment wherever you are. You won’t get it again.
In light and love.
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Outanabout YOLO “You only live once”