Falling behind in my posting challenge, but it’s all good!
February can be a challenging time for outdoor fun – and for me, I’m discovering that fresh air is vital to me feeling balanced.
Last winter I started learning to snowboard and loved it. This has been a tricky winter for keeping up with that since it was so warm for so long and then has been rainy and icy since our one, good, big snow… but I still try and make it out.
When I went last year, I would go with a couple of friends and some of the fun was in the singing in the car and the laughter. On the slopes, I’m more in my own world so that’s more of a solitary fun and then this year, I go by myself which is a different kind of fun.
Now, even the car ride is my time to retreat from the world, from work, from social engagements – to get away. I still sing silly songs in the car, I watch birds soar over the road, I look at clouds. When I get to the slopes, I get into my gear and take off. When I went last week, the snow was deep and soft (perfect for falling on, which I still sometimes do)! It was cloudy, but generally pretty quiet. Sometimes in the lift, I would be near groups of kids all shouting and being silly, but other times there was just the sound of peoples’ skis and boards, swishing down the mountain below and the creaking of the lift chair.
Riding is a meditation for me. My mantra: trust yourself. I set off down the mountain, pushing the edges of my comfort zone as I pick up speed. Breath through fear. Trust yourself, trust your board…. If I don’t, I panic and fall over.
Last week, I really linked turns for the first time. It used to be I could start to cut one direction, then as I tried to even back out, I would overcompensate and eat snow. This time, instead of thinking about the air I was hurtling into, I thought more about the solid mountain supporting me and oriented myself that way. I stopped thinking about the moves or trying to have my feet move separately from each other and I really settled into my board, freeing up my hips and shoulders to be the ones steering. I found a rhythm. I relaxed.
There’s something about learning something new – a childlike wonder takes over. Many of us block ourselves from that with expectations or judgements about where we SHOULD be and what it SHOULD look like. When we can drop all that and become present, when we can become completely absorbed in something, there is a joy and a freedom – play. There’s also something about using our bodies in a way that requires no thought. Just breath and movement. An intuitive dance. Potentiality and energy expressed. When we find that sweet spot between strength and ease, whether on our yoga mats or off, Flow takes over and that, too, is joy and play.
How do you play in winter?