Tag Archives: free

Sneaker Setup: Fiscally Fearful


Submitted by Mandy H.

I am an actor. That means I have lived my entire adult life learning how to SURVIVE the ups and downs of unstable work. It has also taught me that stretching my last dollar to pay bills is NOT a fun way to live.
Living this way means that I tend to play it incredibly safe at the expense (no pun intended) of possibly earning a lot more money. The concept of spending money to make money is something that makes sense to me, but also scares me. So the idea of gambling with my finances is way OUTSIDE my comfort zone.
I’m not sure how to approach this Sneaker in a risky but safe way, but I’m willing to try. Any ideas?

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Sneaker Story: A Tango Tale


Submitted by Amy W.

I started Tango in my 40’s but wasn’t ready- was so frustrating and difficult — the only dance i couldnt conquer – the woman must give up control to Tango. There’s no beat, no counts, and forget going with the music.  The man decides everything! It’s a metaphor really.

After my now ex-husband wanted a divorce I started lessons again- was doing a lot of subconscious work- very difficult work at the time – I was working toward giving up control- as much as a Jewish girl can- 🙂

I now can Tango- quite well. I always say Tango is a metaphor for giving up control. Just close your eyes and let yourself be led. Only way you can tango.

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Sneaker Story: Close Your Eyes and JUMP!


(Let go and trust that someone will catch me)

Submitted by Lisa G.

“My biggest concerns are trusting I can do this—
and believing I won’t hurt myself if I do.”


They didn’t take my picture. There I was, 12-years-old and flying through the air, my little hands holding onto the swinging bar for dear life, then letting go as I was lowered into the net…and they didn’t take my picture. WHEN was I going to do that again? I wouldn’t be going back to camp, and there weren’t many flying trapezes in the real world. True, I didn’t do it full out. I didn’t let go and hang from my knees and trust someone to catch me as I untangled myself from the bar. But still!  That was a big moment! When I think about doing it now (as an adult) and I picture myself flying through the air, feeling such utter freedom andassurance that I can let go and will be caught… it seems impossible. To let go and soar would be a miracle in my world! (Both literally and physically.) Well, it happens I live in a city that offers flying-trapeze classes. 

So here’s the deal:  I will let go on a flying trapeze.  As an adult.


I’m actually doing this. In a few hours, I’ll be sailing through the air. I’m thrilled and terrified. For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to fly. Whenever kids played “what superpower would you have?” I always chose the ability to fly. Holding onto a bar and flying through the air would be a dream come true. However, the anxiety-ridden part of me ignores these marvelous images and focuses on the negative: My core and arm strength leave much to be desired, so the thought of hanging by my arms and tucking my legs over a bar is disconcerting—and what if I’m the only one in class who can’t do it? How embarrassing! Furthermore! Then there’s the issue of having the fortitude to let go, especially while flying through the air. That alone is a huge relinquishing of control. Yes, I’ll be in a harness, but I still have to trust I’ll be safe. Reaching out to catch my instructor and letting go of the bar is a HUGE leap of faith (no pun intended)— that he will catch me, that I will catch him, that the timing will work out. So I’m going to have to do all I can to focus and make it happen. My biggest concerns are trusting I can do this—and believing I won’t hurt myself if I do.


I’ve never been this petrified. Stretching in the trapeze studio, I look at the monstrous contraption in front of me. The platform is 20 feet off the ground. Underneath, there’s a five-foot squishy mat. As I look up the tiny ladder we’ll climb, I feel a little sick. Jay, one of three beautifully sculpted instructors, guides us to a static rig, basically a trapeze bar on the ground. He shows us how to grip the bar, put our legs over it, let go, hang upside-down and look back with arms outstretched. My panic rises. It looks like you really need arm and core strength—neither of which I possess. I let go and hang okay, but Jay needs to help me back up. 

THIS does not bode well. 

He explains that the static rig is more difficult than the flying one, where momentum helps. He tells us we’ll swing upside-down with arms outstretched then catch one of the instructors (or really, he’ll catch us). But we won’t be doing that until the end. Mostly, we’ll practice backflips off the bar. I must be making a “you’re out of your mind” face, because Jay sees me and cracks up. He assures me it will make sense in the moment.

As the other students perfectly execute the moves, my palms start sweating, my heart pounds, my stomach is in knots, and I consider bailing. But I don’t. Instead, I take a deep breath and start up the ladder. Each step feels like an eternity. At the top, Todd, another instructor, is waiting. I explain my terror to him. Then Jay appears, giving encouragement. Todd hooks me to the harness, grips the back of my belt and instructs me to lean forward and grab the trapeze bar. Utterly terrified, I’m having flashbacks to camp years, when they made us do ropes courses and I’d be in tears. But the memories make me more determined. So I steady myself, bend my knees when Todd says,“Ready,” and jump when he says, “Hep!” 

Taking the phrase “high anxiety” literally.

And then…I’m flying. I’ve done it! 

Look!  I’m smiling!  And FLYING!

I don’t have long to enjoy the sensation, as below, Chase, the third instructor, is telling me to lift my legs for the knee tuck and wrap at the top of my swing. I try but don’t have the strength—my knees don’t make it up. I keep swinging, and Chase keeps shouting instructions, and I can’t do any of them! He lowers me, and I slink off, giving my “I’m just not strong enough” excuse. Chase says flying has nothing to do with strength—it’s all momentum and timing. I have to stop thinking and just do it. Ha! If only he knew how hard that is for me! He shows me what to do with my body to get the knee tuck to work, then I go to my chair, embarrassed. I watch the class do it again, one by one, flawlessly.

Then I’m up. This time, I’m calmer, determined to make it work. “Hep!”—I’m off in the air again! I follow Chase’s timing precisely. And guess what? I nail every move! Perfect knee tuck, perfect release and upside-down stretch, perfect back-flip! When I hit the mat beaming, everyone bursts into applause. I repeat the routine and nail it again! The terror is still there but decreasing each time. The best part is that at the end of each turn, I have no recollection of what I did because I was so in the moment. That has NEVER happened!

I’m beginning to feel really good when Todd announces we’re going to do catches, the part I was dreading. I wait my turn, take my swing, and miss my knee tuck. Again, I‘m back in my head, and my body doesn’t do what it’s supposed to. Luckily, we have time to try once more. I want this so badly. I want to know I can push myself past my limits and let go. So, off the platform I jump, through the air I sail, and around the bar I wrap my knees. At the top of my swing, I reach out and feel Todd’s hands grip my wrists as my legs release the bar. The entire studio cheers as I soar through the air holding onto Todd. Then he releases me, and I land exactly as instructed. I could not have a bigger smile as Chase says I’ve earned my wings. Jay says he knew I could do it, the whole class knew. I was the only one who doubted myself.

He caught me!  I let go and he caught me.  Amazing!

Once I got out of my own way, I did great. Now if I can only keep applying that lesson to the rest of my life…



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Sneaker Story: Walk in the Rain Without An Umbrella

(Give in to the elements & embrace the stares)
Submitted by Lisa G.

“At 12 blocks away, I feel that first drop. 
It’s just a gently misty sprinkle at first, no big deal. 
Except that I left my umbrella at home.”


My friends and family used to joke that I thought I was the Wicked Witch. It wasn’t my evil cackle or my threats to Toto that earned me the nickname, it was my mad dash for the nearest indoor spot the second a drop of moisture fell from the sky. To this day, I always check the weather report before I leave the house just in case there is a chance of rain. If there is, I will take the time to shove my umbrella into my bag and make sure I have the appropriate rain-proof shoes and attire. I once read a quote by Roger Miller that said, “Some people walk in the rain…others just get wet.” I did neither. I either ran for cover under the temporary shelter of my umbrella, or I just didn’t go out. But secretly, I always envied the people I saw walking down the street who were drenched to the bone and smiling. I didn’t understand them, but I envied them. So here’s the deal: I will walk in the rain without an umbrella. 


I am walking back from meeting a friend 15 blocks away from my apartment when the wind picks up, the sky lights up, and the earth rumbles. I start walking a little faster. At 13 blocks away, I can barely keep my eyes open through the howling wind blowing the city’s dirt and grime in every direction. At 12 blocks away, I feel that first drop. It’s just a gentle misty sprinkle at first, no big deal. Except that I left my umbrella at home. So I walk a little faster. 11 blocks…a few more drops. 10 blocks…a few more. At eight blocks, it happens. The sky opens up and it starts to pour. People are scattering on all sides. Bus boys are rapidly trying to gather the outdoor seating tablecloths. People under umbrellas are desperately trying to hail passing cabs. And I have eight blocks to go, and no umbrella.


As the rain starts falling harder and harder, I have three choices:
1) Run inside one of the open corner bars or delis and attempt to wait it out
2) Pop into one of the drugstores and buy (yet another) umbrella
3) Walk in the rain.

I’m not sure what comes over me at that moment, but my feet seem to make the decision for me. They just keep walking. Every step I take brings me to another level of “drenched” that I never knew existed. My blue denim capris are now almost black and desperately clinging to my body, my hair is flat down against my head and sticking to my face. I don’t even want to guess what my non-waterproof make-up looks like, and I’m pretty certain my two layers of white tank tops are now giving the world a totally unintended show.

And yet, I don’t melt. In fact, something quite miraculous happens. As I walk by people huddled under awnings or sprinting through crosswalks and I see their expressions as this poor, soaked girl walks by, I start to laugh. I know I can’t get any wetter and since I’m not melting, I just break out into a smile…and walk in the rain. With this walk comes a freedom I have never felt before! I am no longer the girl who freaks out when her hair gets wet or screams like a teenager when a puddle splashes near her. Just by doing all of these seemingly simple (but until recently insurmountable) challenges, I have learned to let go. I may look like a crazy person with smudged make-up and a see-through outfit with a big smile on my face, but I just don’t care. In fact, I kind of like it.

When I get home and survey the damage, I look down and start to laugh even harder. Turns out, for the first time in many months, I am wearing sneakers. And for the first time in my life, they are truly dirty!

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