I had the pleasure of watching Cirque du Soleil’s “Ovo” in Atlanta yesterday evening. What a remarkable display of human capability! I almost wrote human “physicality” but to limit what they did to mere physical acts would likely understate what was involved in their performance. To do what they do must take enormous mental focus and emotional steadiness.
This particular show is an “immersion in the teeming and energetic world of insects.” The costumes were fabulous and the acts, especially the high wire and the trampoline/climbing wall, were breathtaking. It can be refreshing and inspiring to see such a spectacle, where people are functioning at the edge of the performance envelope available to human beings.
I am of the opinion that it is good to stretch your figurative legs on occasion. Pushing yourself to go beyond the familiar or the comfortable keeps life interesting as it typically broadens your ability to touch and inspire others. So doing also bolsters self-confidence, an element of character that can work wonders in a pinch.
Two of my extended family members have undertaken falconry, a sport that challenges comfort zones in more ways than one. The falconer’s life begins with the passing of a difficult written examination administered by the Department of Natural Resources, followed by a two year apprenticeship. To top it off, the first task of the apprentice’s life is to trap a wild bird, more often than not a maniacal, sharply-taloned Red-tailed Hawk and to “man” it, which means to get it used to close human contact.
Their progress is a delight to behold as it seems that not a day goes by without some type of new challenge that pushes each one to their limits and then slightly beyond. You cannot expect to grow as a person if you are not willing to push yourself or to be compelled by others on occasion. It matters not if the activity is mental, physical or emotional, the point is that if you reach beyond where you are you will gain flexibility, capability and strength in the process.
While I don’t anticipate jumping repeatedly (and untethered!) from a 30 foot rock climbing wall onto a trampoline and back up again anytime soon, I do know that I will rise to whatever occasion may come my way, even if it requires that I push through or conversely, relax more deeply to overcome fear, weakness or unfamiliarity.
So can you!