In both skiing and life, it is all about grace, flow and letting go! I had the honor of once again being a participant in a five day, ten hour a day, ski program entitled Magic of Skiing (aikiworks.com). I have taken this camp 13 times. It is so much more than just skiing and we spent a few hours a day immersed in mind, body, balance exercises and discussions (off and on the mountain).
What struck me more than ever this year is how much skiing is a metaphor for life. So many of the instructions from our pros about skiing also apply to our day to day lives. The following were quotes from the camp about skiing.
“Life is a series of grabs, you either dance with those grabs or you get stuck.” We all know how this happens. Something happens and we take refuge in our story, and get stuck or we can chose to look for the gift and lesson and push forward. We have these grabs many times a day on the mountain as well as in life.
“Maximum joy, minimum struggle.” Each moment the true warrior cuts through his or her story and steps forth from their vision. They embrace the mystery, cut through their story and create a new habit. In skiing, we learn to leave our story behind us. Examples of our stories are: the temperature, our last fall, the noise of skiers too close to us, flat light, blizzard conditions, hills that are so steep, bumps or ice.
“Every bump is not an obstacle but an opportunity”. The bump in front of you can help steer you and move you forward. You ski in to the bump and lean in to it and accept what it gives you. This creates flow. You push your feet up in to your body and fold in to it and you can come out of it the way you want to come out of it. If you go in to it afraid of what it will do to you, you will come out all bent out of shape and there is no flow. Growth comes out of struggle. If the path is easy, it is usually not the right path. Groomers are great but big growth comes from handling all the obstacles you learn to manage.
The mind is your battlefield. The monkey brain come from all our stories and excuses that keep us stuck. Stay centered, stay present, stay mindful. Turn off the noise by using your breath and centering your body.
“You can’t come in to any situation from a static position. You have to always be adjusting”. Flexibility is an important quality to embrace in your life. Being stuck, will keep you static and uncompromising. It will not serve you.
We did an exercise in which you leaned back to back with a partner. When you leaned in with all your weight, and the other person pulled away, you fell. However, when you leaned in but stayed centered with your own body you were able to stay standing when your partner pulled away. I saw this immediately as the difference between being co-dependent in your relationships or staying balanced and centered in your own wholeness. You have to be centered and in love with yourself to be the partner who can lean in but not fall over. This is the challenge for most of us. Stay centered in your own truths and keep yourself grounded so if your partner pulls back, you are still standing; even after a moment of needed realignment.
The last quote from my pro, which I leave with you, is:
Go down faster,
Go down deeper,
Stay down longer.
Peace and light,