Last week I had the opportunity to take a hot air balloon ride above Calistoga and Sonoma. Prior to takeoff I was nervous, not hyperventilating panic-attack nervous but a little apprehensive nonetheless. Heights make me dizzy and the idea of shoving myself in a teeny basket among strangers as I rose above the town in the open air felt slightly nauseating.
Surprisingly, once we were up in the air my fears were alleviated. The balloon sliced through the air gently and the world felt motionless all around. Though I was surrounded by strangers taking selfies and snapshots of the sun rising over vineyards the earth felt still and quiet. I don’t know what I had expected, but life up above Napa Valley was silent and serene.
We glided across the valley passing vineyards and spas, suburban neighborhoods and schools. Though I knew it was false, I couldn’t help but feel like the entire world was frozen in time. Barely past 7:00am on a Friday morning I knew there must have been children scrambling out of bed, slipping into fuzzy pink slippers, pouring themselves Cheerios or Cinnamon Toast Crunch, whining as their parents brushed and braided their hair. I knew there were commuters stressfully blinded by the sun shining persistently through the trees as they pushed their way toward the city. I knew the world wasn’t as still and silent as the small portrait I was staring down at, but it didn’t change the insight my still life had accentuated.
The view from above inspired me, the way beautiful things tend to. I asked myself, what if we could soar outside of ourselves the way we soar in a hot air balloon above the world? How can we look down on our lives (our problems & concerns) and examine them from a new perspective? Is it possible to hold something so dear to us but still see it from all angles? Clear and untainted?
Sometimes I get really wrapped up in the decision making aspect of life. Saying I am “indecisive” is probably the understatement of the year (I can’t be the only one right?). I overanalyze every detail of every decision until I am paralyzed, terrified to make any decision at all. It seems the only way I can come to a solid conclusion is by diving into one head first-impulsively. There has to be a balance somewhere though. It must be possible (even logical) to make a choice in life without jumping to a conclusion or dwelling in the zone of indecision.
Moving forward I’m working on looking at life from a broader perspective (easier said than done, I’m aware). I’m not sure how to fully look at life from all angles (including above) but I think a good start is making decisions based less on outside influence. So often we worry about the perceptions of those we care about most when in actuality only we can know what is right for our lives. Taking new perspectives into account is useful only when we do so with open eyes, not blindly expecting someone else to lead us to the right answers. Life would be so easy if we allowed others to direct us where to go and what to do, but success based on this sheep-like follower mentality is less fulfilling, no?