So I’ve been “zip-lining” recently, this is a new thing here in the Caribbean. This project is really designed to capture you at a vulnerable point. This vulnerability presents the true “you” more particularly at the beginning of the journey. Zip-lining for a quick explanation is the “zipping” from one platform to another on nothing more than cable, set at least 60 – 100 feet above a gully. You are harnessed by nylon straps and you hold on for dear life as you slide at least 150 - 250 meters to the other platform. In fact you have to do this for seven times (end of the course), since, once you start you have to keep going, because the only other time that you will reach ground level is at the end.
An analysis of this experience would show that as an adult, there is inherent fear of the unknown while a child just jumps right in with little or no fear. As much as the guides demo how to zip across, you do not conquer your fear until the initial zip from platform one over to platform two. In the group that I was zipping with, some zippers indicated that they were most fearful at the point where just before you leave the station/platform there is a moment of nothing and you just wait for “it” whatever “it” is to happen. At that point in time there is only the heartbeat at an elevated rate that you hear and not even the cheers of support from your fellow zippers. While zipping either of two things happen – you may speed up heading towards the other platform or you may stop somewhere in the middle dangling 10 – 15 feet above the tree tops.
Some persons indicated that it was somewhere in the middle away from either station that the fear factor struck like a ton of bricks. What caused fear at this point? The thought of should this cable break now, what would you do, and what your chances of survival may have been – left some persons with fear etched on their faces. Therefore the fear happening here is as a result of the thought of something bad happening and not something good like – I can easily make this to the end of the course and nothing bad will happen. In addition fear happening during the middle of the zip actually slows you down – because there is the tendency to grab a hold of the cable and cling tightly, and this acts as your brakes letting you dangle above the trees. This for some is not as exhilarating as it sounds.
As this photo shows on the ground is not to be seen.This was taken from an arial platform about 100 feet above the ground. Note that all that you can see below are trees and shrubs.
Yet others showed that even up to the final stages of the course, there was still fear even after having done this zip at least five or six times before. These persons seem to show that even when they may try to learn from previous experiences the fear challenges them each and every time. This is noted, since these persons got stuck close to the end of the specific zip they were making, almost each time. Every time they got stuck – the guide had to come to the “rescue”.
As easy as you can talk/think/believe about over coming fear, or in this case, grabbing fear by the balls, there is nothing which can allow you to do this except jumping into or off of the edge of the thing which you may fear. This empowers you to devise some means of handling the situation. The group, with which I zipped, had at least 15 persons who all had the same predicament, which was to manage your fear since there was no other route out until you reached the end. Well, actually the other route out, was to jump amongst the tree tops to an obscured ground level of about 100 feet down. Of importance was that no two persons grabbed fear by the balls exactly the same, since some screamed, some cried, and some keep inordinately quite, yet others threw caution to the wind. You know what? Each person handled fear totally within their character and not according to any book or other prescribed devices.
*Of note in this experience, was that the gloves provided during the trek, showed evidence of how others who would have done the zipping responded to fear. One guide indicated that these gloves were only recently purchase (new) and after a trek or so, they were damaged significantly because persons clung too tightly to the cable.
The reason: The inability to grab fear by the balls…