I was making travel arrangements for my trip to New Mexico. As I was mapping out interesting things to do in Albuquerque, an advertisement for a hot air balloon ride popped up. The photograph was completely captivating — brilliantly-colored hot air balloons sailing across the desert in clear, azure skies.
An electric shock coursed through my body, as I knew I would go (and I knew I would be terrified).
I have a fear of heights. I can get woozy out on a high deck. The thought of being in a little basket flying through the sky was almost incomprehensible.
I thought back to my experience of successfully walking on fire at Tony Robbins’ Unleash the Power Within event. If I could walk on fire without getting burned, I could conquer my fear of heights and have a hot air balloon experience I’d treasure my entire life.
I bought a ticket.
We gathered just before sunrise and took off in perfect flying conditions. Other than a few, wispy clouds, the sky was clear, and the wind was calm. With a few, loud (and very disconcerting) blasts of fiery, hot air, we were airborne.
And then, stillness.
We sailed high over the desert with cottonwood trees, scrubby vegetation, and a rocky landscape below us. The sun rose just over the gorgeous Sandia Mountains. Other balloons sailed next to us, and it felt as if we were in the ocean, bobbing along in waves of air.
When we came to the Rio Grande River, we flew just a foot or two above the water before the pilot playfully did a “splash and go” maneuver. A quick dunk with the basket, and we were straight up in the air once again.
I don’t remember exactly when I stopped being scared. I just found myself entirely in love with the sensation of flying combined with the stunning desert landscape.
I thought of all the artists who made and continue to make their way to this area of New Mexico, being called by the energy and beauty.
I thought of the person I was only an hour before — afraid, but determined. Now, I just was in the moment, fully. Deliciously. And without fear.
When the tour ended, I knew I had crossed more than the desert sky. I had walked across a bridge to a new self.
I know I will pour this new courage and amped energy into what I create. I have removed another layer of protective armor and will share more deeply and more vulnerably as a result. I’ll get in a basket of a different sort and let my creativity take me, unfettered, to new landscapes.