“I think fear is a liar,” Nik Wallenda, King of the High-Wire told the hundreds who gathered at Sarasota’s Nathan Benderson Park.
What he was referring to was the Feb. 8, 2017, when he was part of an eight-person pyramid on a high-wire for Circus Sarasota. Five of the performers, including his sister Lijana Wallenda, plunged about 30 feet to the ground. Nik grabbed the wire so he did not fall to the ground. Unfortunately, Lijana was one of the five who fell. Thankfully, no one was killed.
Weeks following the fall, Lijana, speaking through a wired jaw, told the Today show on NBC she broke every bone in her face. She was repaired with three plates and 72 screws.
Facing Fear Head On
It was a June evening and Nik and Lijana were practicing for their June 23 high-wire walk over New York City’s Times Square. Called Highwire Live in Times Square with Nik Wallenda, they will walk 1,250 feet, starting at opposite ends, 25 stories high, on a wire 3/4” in diameter.
When they meet on the wire, Lijana will sit down, they will exchange clips for their tethers (mandatory requirement, although the Wallendas pride themselves for performing without a net or tethers), Nik will step over her, and both will continue walking forward to the opposite end.
A Living, Walking Miracle
During the Sarasota practice, Nik said the fall shook him and fear attempted to paralyze him and his sister from moving forward in life. Fear made them question their high-wire capabilities. Fear has also inspired him to write a second book focused on overcoming it. Preparing for the Time’s Square walk as has helped the duo face those fears and push them aside.
“She is truly a living and walking miracle,” Nik said of Lijana, “You showing up is part of her healing process.”
“If we don’t remove those negative thoughts from our mind, they will defeat us,” he said, and added, “with a positive mind, anything is possible in life.”
Lijana Wallenda is a costume designer and when I asked if she will design her attire for the Times Square walk, he told me should will have something to do with the design. When I asked what he will be wearing, he said probably a T-shirt and jeans and will head to the mall to pick those items out. He trained in the foot attire he will be wearing in New York. His mother made them.
How to Watch the Wallendas
“Highwire Live in Times Square with Nik Wallenda” will air on ABC as a live, two-hour televised event on Sunday, June 23, 2019 at 8 p.m. ET with a delay.