This is meditation

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If it weren’t for my mind, my meditation would be excellent. – Ani Pema Chodron

Jumbled thoughts,
A plethora of images;
An old-fashioned movie reel playing at high-speed.
Silence where are you?
Chatter
Flash
Picture
Chatter
Image
Sound bite
And on and on the reel goes.

This is meditation.

Today I got nothing, went nowhere
Could not find solitude.
Events of the week came crashing in
an explosion of colour, shape and sound.

Alas.
What is one to do but observe,
Watch
Notice
Accept.

And now the day dawns
A crisp and clear morning
Perfect for a walk, to shake off the detritus of the week.
Time to centre
Regroup
Energise.

This too is meditation.

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You’ll never be disappointed if you always keep an eye on uncharted territory, where you’ll be challenged and growing and having fun.     Kirstie Alley

I celebrated a birthday this week and decided to treat myself. No it wasn’t a BIG birthday, though each birthday is a big bonus. I usually go pretty low-key on my birthday, let it slip by without causing a blip but this year I made plans. I booked in for a skydive.

There’s a small caveat I should add – it was indoor skydiving. I’m not known for being outrageously spontaneous or reckless so I figure you can’t go from zero to 100 right off the bat.

The experience was immensely entertaining and massively good fun. Ten other flyers aged from 4 through to late 60’s arrived for a morning of high-speed adventure.  After a short training session we suited up in overalls, goggles, earplugs and a helmet. I’m not sure how the instructor expected us to hear him once earplugs and helmet were firmly in place but we did manage through sign language.

We took seats in the viewing area around the twelve-foot vertical wind tunnel into which we would soon venture.  It’s always amusing watching people try to manouver into the first position when faced with a queue.  Strangely, there was no jockeying or positioning this day.  Perhaps, like me, no one really wanted to be first, despite the excitement.  This is one of those rare occasions where I knew it would be beneficial to watch someone do it before I had my attempt.  Having successfully secured the third position I took mental notes, between cheering and clapping, laughing and grinning like a Cheshire cat, and was sure I could overcome the body alignment issues my fellow flyers had encountered.

It’s fascinating how difficult it is to maintain control over your limbs when you’ve literally been swept off your feet and buoyed by a surge of air.  A surge of air that is causing your nostrils to flare alarmingly, like that of a skittish steed. Once I’d reassured myself I could breath, despite my initial alarm, I was heady and slightly disoriented and I couldn’t stop laughing. That was until I realised I had little control over my saliva and that it was now dampening my face (I had wondered why the instructor wore a helmet with a full face cover.) Trying to laugh with a closed mouth, breathe, ensure my legs and arms were positioned well and smile for the camera was an awful lot to pay attention to all at once.  My certificate states I can fly with minimal assistance, move up and down in the air flow, turn 360 degrees as well as hold a still, controlled body position.  I have a way to go to fly to a given point and move forward or backward apparently.  I had no idea I could do so much in so short a time frame – it really wasn’t a conscious effort.  I’m almost sure it was all luck.

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Indoor skydiving was a most unusual and exciting experience. It’s quite unlike anything else, expect, I imagine, jumping out of a plane. As a result of this and another recent exhilarating escapade in an escape room I am on the hunt for fun and exciting experiences to add to my love list (more commonly known as a bucket list). Any ideas?

Inside a mystery box

Image sourced from Lacy Lane

Image sourced from Lacy Lane

Even though you’re growing up, you should never stop having fun.  – Nina Dobrev

You can be childlike without being childish. A child always wants to have fun. Ask yourself, ‘Am I having fun?’ – Christopher Meloni

Life is more fun if you play games.  – Roald Dahl

As a child I was fascinated by mystery boxes.  Being presented with a number of unobtrusive boxes and being tasked with choosing one to reveal either a welcome bounty or a dud souvenir was excruciatingly enticing . I delighted in the weighing up of possibilities and the anticipation –  would there be ultimate enjoyment or a momentary disappointment from having made the wrong decision?  Recently the tables were turned slightly. I was not choosing a box for a reward but rather I was put inside a mystery box and the ultimate reward came from escape.

My analogy is weak, I agree, so let me tell you a little about one of the most exhilarating  fun experience I have had in a very long time.

It all began with a shake down.  Phones and other electronic devices were confiscated and locked away.  A hood was placed over my head. I don’t go in much for blindfolds and I certainly don’t like hessian bags over my head but in the spirit of adventure and fun I played along.  We were led to our chamber and once our captor departed and locked us within we removed our bags to find we were in the dark bowels of the Butcher’s Burrow.  We had 50 minutes to escape our fate and I had no idea how to begin. There were limited tools at our disposal and those that seemed to exist were sealed away with combination locks. Time was of the essence and the two of us had to work together to escape.  Our first objective was to find light.

I would love to describe in detail the steps we took to escape and the challenges we faced but that would spoil the fun should you attempt this yourself. The Exitus escape rooms are an exciting addition to the adult fun arena.  The room we visited is part of the entertainment at Strike Bowling in the city of Brisbane but they are popping up almost everywhere.  Each room has a theme where minimal clues are given and teams must use their wits and combined brain power to solve the puzzles confronting them. The goal is to escape before the nominated time is up.  You can ask for clues – using the iPad that is supplied or the mobile phone that links directly to the administrator.  Beware – there are time penalties for clues.

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Before entering, I was a little apprehensive.  The thought of being locked in an unfamiliar room for close to an hour, sent my heart a flutter.  What if I felt claustrophobic and too confined, what if I  needed to get out?  Those thoughts soon passed and then a sheen of sweat broke out as I wondered if I would know what to do. Would I be able to solve the puzzles?  What if I needed maths? I need not have worried.  Precautions are in place in case of panic – the mobile phone allows for an instant exit should you need it and the puzzles, well, while they initially  seemed unsolvable, once an instinctual need to ‘escape’ kicked in the fuzziness of my mind was miraculously unlocked and I forged ahead.  Good news too – no maths needed.

My adult son and I worked exceptionally well as a team.  He had been in an escape room before and had some sense of what was required so with a little guidance we set about our task with the pressure and weight of a ticking clock as a constant motivator. We each had our moments of clarity and success and often times it was our combined collaboration that saw the different clues uncovered and puzzles solved.  Teams of up to six can enter the rooms.  I would have found that a little difficult; coping with too many personalities and noise may have rendered me incapable of clear throughout but it may also add to the fun for many.

We escaped, triumphant.  In our last three minutes, holding our final clue we were stumped.  We tossed around ideas, tried various options but relented and asked for a clue.  We weighed the alternative – time penalty or eviction without resolution.  We chose to finish the puzzle.  Surprisingly we were on the right path and probably would have gotten to the end point unaided but that ticking clock forced our hand.

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If you want to experience the difference between fun and enjoyment but don’t want to jump out of planes, travel too far from home or spend a fortune; try escape rooms – they are loads of fun and worth every cent. The warm after glow will provide you with plenty of lasting enjoyment once the thrill of the moment has passed.

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