Lessons from Skiing

I’ve delayed posting anything after my first entry in paralysis over perfection.   Maybe I am terrible. Maybe I have nothing to say. 

Maybe I need to care less about what others think and more about what it means to me.  

Just do it.  Move forward.  Move anywhere. There were times in my life when I have thrown the cards up in the air, feeling them fall all around me, hitting my face, shifting my glasses.  A right mess.  I have crawled on my knees to pick them up and reorder them.  Sat crying in the disarray, not knowing how to move.  

Not knowing is the hard part.  I am not comfortable with being wrong, despite being so far more often than being right.  And I did move forward each time, surviving to live another day, make more mistakes.  Learn a bit more.

I learned to ski late in life, in my mid-forties.  I would watch the ski schools with their tiny students, 5 years olds following the instructor like ducklings, fearlessly flying down the mountain, as I crawled along, worried how I would be transported if I should break a hip.  

What I’ve discovered in skiing is that the more you try to control, the tenser your muscles grip, the more likely you are to fall and break a hip.  

There is much to learn from activity, from physicality.  When we let things happen, they happen as they should.  When we breathe and relax, we can flow into that movement, whether it is skiing or running or living.  

So I decided I would leap out there and throw up posts like so much bad graffiti.  Hell, there’s no one reading them anyway.  I haven’t told anyone about this.  So what am I afraid of?

Mustard Seed

Tuesday Feb 25 2020

Somewhere back in time I started growing this dream to go to Nepal.  

I’m not certain when or how that mustard seed got planted or why Nepal of all places or even what I hope to gain by it entirely beyond the simple experience of travel.  Nevertheless, I’m going.  Come September 28th, I’ll be lacing up my most comfortable hiking boots, slinging a daypack over my back, and heading off into the foothills with a group of strangers.  

I should add here, I am not a particularly courageous person.  My persona belies that truth.  Many people have remarked that I give the appearance of someone much larger than my shorter than average frame.  I can exude enough confidence and warmth to inspire belief. In my heart of hearts, however, I am still childishly shy, fiercely guarded, and afraid.  

In one fell swoop I’m going to buck all three.  Along the way, I also have to get myself into shape, save up a boatload of money, and plan the details.  These activities are likewise not in my wheelhouse.  Despite the appearance of organization, I’m a flake.  Financially I’ve always managed to have enough to pay the bills, but not with much fat to store by.  The only part I have down is the fitness.  For my age, I’m in reasonable shape, saving the proverbial 10 lbs everyone wants to shed.  I have never spent much time in any altitude, however, nor will I have the chance prior to my trip, making that a great unknown.  

To do anything new and big, you have to be comfortable with the unknown, don’t you?  

For years, I counted myself an atheist.  Rational, experiential, a bit arrogant about it.  What I have come to realize was that my definition of God was far too limited – and maybe most of our definitions of God are too limited because as simple humans we have no choice.  We’re limited in scope, whereas God by definition is not, and that is not a concept we can entirely understand.  

So I’m going to Nepal to seek answers for a whole lot of questions.  Many of them will be answered along the way, some when I am there, some afterward.  Some never. And that’s ok, because although my physical composition has an endpoint, the parts of it do not.  Learning to live, to be at one with unknowing, with incompleteness, as well as with eventual finality, that’s what the journey teaches us.

Time to get started.