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Life Lessons From Skiing - Stay Present and Trust

I finally got back on my cross-country skis today. Despite the snow being half-melted and the fact that it was lightly raining, I still felt like I could cry from joy. The last time I had been able to go was 3 years ago when I was pregnant, and even then I couldn't really ski because I didn't want to fall and cause issues to our little bun in the oven. It's has been extremely hard to to do things like this since becoming a mom.

Note: This is an old image when the weather and skiing conditions were MUCH better.

I was surprised at how well I had retained my form and that I wasn't as out of shape as I had expected. I have to admit that it wasn't all pretty though. The track was bumpy and had a few icy patches which caused me to wobble and nearly fall a few times. But as I was gliding (and occasionally wobbling) along, I realized that there one important life lesson embodied perfectly by this sport:

If you want to get over the bumps in life without falling, it's imperative that you stay present and trust yourself to react correctly, because pulling the brakes or tensing in fear will ensure that you fall.

I learned to ski as an adult. If you haven't tried learning a sport like skiing as an adult, let me assure you that it is hard. The skiing itself isn't hard. Yes, it can be physically challenging, but it's doable and gets a lot easier with practice. It's the mental side of things which is hard.

Learning to ski as a kid is completely different than learning as an adult. At the age of 3, you have a very short memory. Your bones haven't fully hardened, so they don't break easily if at all, and your mental understanding for risk is still basically non-existent. When you're 25 years old, on the other hand, your understanding for risk is fully developed in the brain and you have a growing list of past injuries stored in the memory banks. There is a fear that is present when sliding down a mountain which can be crippling if you let it.

The moment that you allow that fear to take over, your body tenses up and a crash is coming your way. If you want to get down the piste in one piece, then the trick is to stay present and trust your body.

Succeeding in life requires a similar formula.

There will always be bumps in the road (or snow.) It's impossible to avoid them completely, but if you meet them head on and allow your body to react instinctively, then it will adjust accordingly and stay upright. When you go too much into your head and lose trust in yourself, however, you will tense up at the wrong moment and are sure to have a big fall.

If you can just stay present and allow your body to go with the flow - to take the situation as it is and adjust accordingly - then you will find it's way back to equilibrium.

I have seen this theme over and over as I go through my health coaching. The ones who just take the reigns and do without the fear of "what ifs" are the ones who move forward with their health journies and businesses. They don't worry about problems that can arise before they are there, and deal with the problems that do come as instinct tells them and move on without a hitch. The older you are, the more you will have to fight against your experiences to avoid the tensing up. You will have to forget the fear of losing the comfortable place that you've worked hard to build and trust that you will instinctively know how to react to the bumps in the road as they come.

It's a fight, but one worth having.

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