Last week, I met up with my sister, Judy, in Orlando for a much-needed break from our routines. The last few months have been challenging ones for both of us, so Judy decided to come to Florida to escape the cold and snow in Pennsylvania for two weeks. Her plan was to spend the first part of her vacation with me, and the last part with our older brother and sister on the east coast.
Neither of us has the stamina for multiple days in a theme park like we used to back when I worked at Disney World. Instead, we have found a nice three-day groove that works for us. We spend one day in a theme park, one day at a water park, and the final day lounging by the hotel pool to recover from all the walking at the theme park and water park.
Rather than go back to Disney’s water parks, this visit we decided to try something new and explore Volcano Bay at Universal Studios. Not only does this water park have a plethora of individual and group slides, but it also has a water roller coaster! Traveling up and down multiple times on a water ride was a new experience! If you love floating for hours in a lazy river, Volcano Bay has two versions. One moves you along quite briskly while the other is a more relaxing ride. We absolutely loved this park!
But before our day of floating, we visited Universal’s Islands of Adventure to experience the new Harry Potter rides. Fans of the books and movies will love all the details they put into recreating this world. Riding on Hagrid’s motorbike through the Forbidden Forest was a thrilling and comical journey.
At the recommendation of a friend who loves roller coasters more than anyone I know, we decided to try their fastest and newest roller coaster, the VelociCoaster in Jurassic World. Halfway through the cue, they show guests a computer-generated video of the rollercoaster doing its many twists and turns along the expansive track. After watching the video, we began to seriously question why we were in line for this ride. Was this really necessary?
Twenty years ago, I had a traumatizing ride on a roller coaster called Goliath at Six Flags in California. After that experience, I vowed never to go on another tall roller coaster with a drop like that. The VelociCoaster had many inversions and was incredibly fast, but it is much lower to the ground with no huge drops. I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy the experience, but I wasn’t worried about another panic attack like the one I had on Goliath.
A highly entertaining and humorous pre-show starring Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt from the Jurassic World films calmed us down enough to continue to the boarding area. Once we were strapped into our seats, it wasn’t long before we were shot out onto the winding steel track in the velociraptor paddock. The rest is kind of a blur! (Click here to watch a YouTube video of the ride experience.)
Over the years, I’ve been on a lot of roller coasters, but never have I ridden one that hurled me in so many different directions in such a short time. There was never time to get my bearings. As soon as my body registered which direction we were traveling, the coaster twirled, dipped, or spun around another curve. When we accelerated for the second time, I was completely disoriented and discombobulated! My brain could not process what was happening.
Knowing I had absolutely no control over where I was going, the only option was to completely surrender to the experience. As soon as I did, I began to laugh. Meanwhile, my sister had been laughing hysterically since the first launch! And she continued to do so throughout the ride and for about 5 minutes after the coaster screeched to a halt. Seeing her laugh like that after all she’s been through the past few months was one of the highlights of our time together. Most shocking of all, we both said we’d go on it again! (Not right away, mind you. But one day in the future.)
It occurred to me both during and after the ride how much my life has felt like this roller coaster lately. That may be why I started laughing. Over the past 5 years, there has been no shortage of unexpected twists and turns. Some exhilarating! Some not so pleasant. Yet through it all, I’ve kept going. And so have you!
Life is always going to have ups and downs and twists and turns like the VelociCoaster. A Course in Miracles teaches we don’t really have control over what happens, only how we respond to what happens. We either respond with love or fear. Those are our two choices.
It got me thinking about the twists and turns in my life. When they happen again, I’m going to do my best to remember being on the VelociCoaster where I stopped resisting and surrendered to what is. Who knows? Maybe it will help me to laugh at my situation and then remember to ask what Love would do. It’s a powerful question I ask my coaching clients all the time.
Does your life feel like a stressful roller coaster? I’d be honored to ride with you for a while with a series of Spiritual Coaching Sessions or a private Family Constellations Session. Today’s technology lets us connect no matter where you are in the world. For more information, please look around my website or use my automatic scheduler to book a session. I look forward to riding with you!
Until next time, may the quote below from A Course in Miracles bring you comfort as life continues its unexpected twists and turns.
It takes great learning to understand that all things, events, encounters and circumstances are helpful.
A Course in Miracles~M-4.I-A.4:5