Funambulism, discovered in research, is the formal word for tightrope walking, the skill of walking along a thin wire or rope. It has a long tradition in various countries and is commonly associated with the circus. Acrophobic (fear of crowds, open areas) the dizzying feat for seasoned tightrope walkers, can be accomplished if one understands the physics and of the human body.
“Posture is the absolute most important thing,” says Sonja Harpstead, a tightrope instructor at Circus Warehouse in New York City. The key to balancing on a tightrope is to lower the body’s center of gravity toward the wire. Just as it’s harder to topple a stout vase than a tall slim one, a human is less likely to fall if the bulk of their mass is closer to the ground or, in this case, the wire. Amateurs often try to accomplish this shift by leaning forward. That may lower your overall mass, but it also interferes with your sense of location in space. Then it’s” hello pavement”. Harpstead instead instructs her students to stand up straight and lower their hips by bending their knees. This brings a person’s center of gravity closer to the wire while allowing them to keep their bearing.
At the same time, a tightrope walker has to remember that the wire itself tends to rotate. Each step along the cable invites it to spin underfoot, potentially throwing the walker off balance. To keep from falling, the walker must increase something called rotational inertia—effectively positioning the body so that it fights against the wire’s want to rotate. As any child on the playground knows, the best way to improve your balance on a cylindrical object is to stick out your arms horizontally. This spreads out your mass and improves your ability to fight rotational forces, giving you enough time to correct your motions if you start to slip. Many tightrope walkers boost this effect by carrying a long balancing pole and walking very slowly.
When as youngsters we went to the circus, I remember watching incredible feats of the acrobats and noticing how quiet the arena became as the event unfolded and as danger loomed while we all held our breath. I recall when an occasional slip would occur, the crowd responded in an alarming audible corporate “oh” as the acrobat was falling into the net. The skill demands ability of constant concentration, perception, perspective and balance.
Perception-noun: the ability to see, hear of, become aware of something through the senses or vibes; discernment. Perception is an individualized process of rationally perceiving the world around us; being conscious of the physical world; the capacity to be alert to fresh ideas in realistic proportion and the ability to consider and project possibilities.
Perspective-noun: a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view; visionary; discerning; a particular way of thinking about something. A sensible outlook on life. Tightrope walkers glance to the left, look in front, then step to the right relying on good posture and balance.
Much like tightrope walkers, without mental posture, perception and perspective we, too, may fall into the net. I fell into the net for the lack of simple perception and long-range visionary perspective. I worked for a chemist company while in school in Chicago, with the main responsibility of alphabetizing hundreds of cards. I was a human computer. One time I was assigned to organize a filing cabinet made up of folders with foreign names which I couldn’t ascertain which was the first name or the last. But I learned what I didn’t like to do. Filing like alphabetizing is way too boring. So, I switched from a small office of five to a large one where I typed for many insurance agents. I never felt personally connected to anyone in that office, either, so once again hit the net.
Eventually, when employed as secretary to the Dean of Students of the seminary where Jim attended, I discovered that what I really liked was helping people with their personal problems and relationships. I loved that position which offered the challenge for which I yearned and ultimately paved the way to years of teaching, counseling, speaking and writing.
People get bored with life, like college educated Andrew who said in a counseling session, “I am bored to death with my job. There’s no possible advancement with my present employment, and I see no way that I can get the schooling to do what I dreamed about.” His wife, working in child care which paid well but had lost its luster, chimed in with “I’m in the same boat. I’m tired of dealing with little kids all day. I’d like to use my MBA training and work in a bank but the starting salary is too low to meet our needs.” They’re in the net because they were unaware of the importance of adhering to perception and perspective.
Others find themselves in the net due to relationship problems that have thrown them for a loop. “I just can’t understand why Phil makes decisions and purchases expensive items without discussing it with me first”, Janet moaned. “We are in unnecessary debt because he doesn’t look ahead.” When this couple learned how God had designed each of them, they learned to blend her practical Sensing and Heart Logic preferences with his Intuitive, looking ahead and head-logic preferences, which enabled them to understand their differences and without argument, make wise decisions together.
I read an exciting account of a young man who described himself as bored, ignorant and impulsive who consequently made many mistakes. While in college and dealing in drugs and alcohol, he not only fell into the net several times but toppled out of the net entirely and into prison. But in chapel service “being the youngest guy there, I ended up in the front row. The chaplain’s presentation was the Gospel-and that day God began to transform my life-not just my heart but also my mind and my perspective on everything.” His life completely turned around. For almost ten years in prison, he learned all he could and eventually became a prison chaplain. He said that he learned that “God was more interested in changing me than my circumstances”.
If you would like more information on temperament type (personalities) and your special gifting, email me. Another option is to order How to Get Along with Everyone (Nurturing Faith) --nurturingfaith.net.
When people discover that how they are is normal, even though they are not like many of their friends or family, their walk on life’s tightrope will be more pleasurable with confidence and joy.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Rom.15:13.
Whoever of you loves life and desires to see manly good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies. Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. Ps. 34:12-14.
He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8.
My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Col. 2:2-3.