Have you ever been to a theme park that had a Halloween Haunt?  I always wanted to go but my husband had no desire to run around a big park with monsters chasing him.  My friends thought it was juvenile and my sisters thought I was juvenile for wanting to go.  So when my daughter, Teri asked me to take her when she was ten years old, I was thrilled! Her best friend and mom wanted to go too! I was so excited!

I’ll never forget walking through the opening gate shaped like a huge, black, furry spider.  We veered to the right toward Snoopy Land, since it seemed like the safest place to start.  As we walked slowly through the dark eerie fog coming up from the ground, we all held hands and promised we wouldn’t let go.

All of the sudden, a monster came out of nowhere and ran right toward us making strange clanking noises and then slid on his knees like a big bowling ball hurling our way.  Instinctively, we screamed and ran in four different directions.  After he left, I realized that Teri was gone and frantically ran around in circles trying to find her in the fog.  Finally, I found her in a small covering where a crouching monster was holding up his hands and growling at her.  I was more than ready to save her until I noticed that she was laughing. At first she was scared and then realized he was only a person in a mask.  And that was why we came to the park—to get scared and also have some fun.

The rest of the evening we got our money’s worth. Monsters of all kinds were hiding in the bushes, jumping into lines and the mazes were full of these creatures.  I remember holding on to the man in front of me in a maze line so my daughter and I wouldn’t get separated from the crowd.  We were screaming, laughing and running so fast that I ripped his shirt off his back.

On the way home, we had a great time remembering all the events of the evening. When we were at the park, all the craziness seemed so real and scary, but it was all for the sense of fun and adventure.  What made it delicious was the unpredictability—the surprises.

Looking back, I realize that my life has been somewhat similar.  There have been many surprises, scares and some real monsters who at times were my best teachers.  I sometimes wonder if life is similar to an amusement park. Let’s call it The Human Adventure Park where we come in search of fun, excitement and to be challenged. We did not come here for a placid, peaceful, uneventful life.

This Halloween, besides the usual scary movies, costume parties, pumpkins, and trick or treaters, why not also take it as an opportunity to celebrate our lives and not take them for granted?  Many cultures and people believe we only get one shot at this. Yes, Halloween does remind us of our mortality and that can be scary.  But it can also remind us of our immortality.  I love to paraphrase Pierre Teilhard de Chardin when my students ask me about spirituality.   “Instead of thinking that you are a human being having a spiritual experience, consider that you might be a spiritual being having a human experience.” Every time I share this quote, I get goosebumps, but also feel very empowered. I know in my heart that I really am a spiritual being having a human experience!  I can do this and so can you. And when the adventure is over and we go home, we will share our experiences, and if we ever get a chance to do a new adventure, we will have been battle tested! I know if I ever go again to a Halloween Haunt to wear good tennis shoes so I can run faster!  No flip flops.

Have an amazing Halloween!

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Sharkie Zartman Health Coach, Professor, Radio Host, Author

Sharkie Zartman, MA, is a college professor, a former All-American athlete, and award winning volleyball coach. She hosts Sharkie’s Pep Talk on HealthyLife.net Radio Network and is a certified health coach, speaker, and the author of five books including Shark Sense, Empowered Aging, Have Fun Getting Fit, Hey Sports Parents, and her newest, WIN at AGING. She is passionate about helping people take an empowered approach to life so they can have optimal health, happiness, and success at any age.

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