Lessons I Learned from Skiing

It’s that moment, ski poles gripped in one gloved hand, other circling steel pole, body shimmering up to edge of chair, waiting, waiting as elevating and then levelling. Point ski tips up, loosen grip from steel pole, push off, disengage. Skis hit flattened snow, bend knees, lean forward, let pressure off right leg.  Empty chair circling right, poles pointing down, skis coasting left, stop, plant poles in loose snow. Skis point just slightly downward, hill trails ahead, signs with coloured circles of either green, blue, black.

And then that first interruption from complete engagement with the moment.

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Whenever asked when was the last time I felt completely in the moment, I don’t have a specific one time. Yet while down-hill skiing, that moment just coming off the chair lift, or navigating the turns, the bumps, the bare spots, and powder while skiing down the mountain, I can’t NOT be in the moment. Plant pole, turn, plant, turn, plant, turn, bend (for speed), lift, plant, lean right, wide right turn, plant, turn…

And then there is the wind that caresses my bare cheeks under googles and over my neck warmer, the swoosh sound of skis on snow, and my mind, my body, even my soul gliding in the moment feeling fully present and purposeful.

Aware and engaged.

Alive.

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Honestly, it has been a couple of years since I last pointed my feet into stiff ski boots, and snapped them into bindings, and then feeling that awkward body position where lower body is forced forward and upper needs to lean back for balance.

But, ah, I miss it!

However, maybe it’s more the feeling of my body and my mind needing to be fully present– focused– so to see the trees ahead, to move my body correctly to navigate the bumps, or to tune in my hearing to what is coming up behind–that I crave, rather than gearing up, bearing cold temperatures, and sliding down a mountain.

For it is in the missing of details, when my senses are dulled, when my mind moves away from the moment, that could lead into snow up my back, googles skewed on my face, poles lost up hill, bruised limbs, and a very sore behind!

When skiing those in-the-moment details of sounds, sight, and touch not only give me a bolder experience but also, I can see now, keep me safe.

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So what’s the trick? How can we be fully present, aware and  engaged, alive,  without needing a mountain to transcend? What are ways we can create a presence of ourselves that navigates the ordinary to boldly experience every moment?

We can….

  1. Stay Focused:  Focused on what is happening now, and navigating each bump and turn with no worrisome thoughts invading. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34
  2. Be Content: Content in the moment, tot struggling against or wishing we were on a different mountain. But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, as we can take nothing out of it. 1 Timothy 6:6
  3. And Thankful: Thankful for our senses, alive and firing to fully experience the all in the moment that is a gift to us-now. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

   “The greatest moment of your life is now. Not because it’s pleasant or happy or easy, but because this moment is the only moment you’ve got. Every past moment is irretrievably gone. It’s never coming back. If you live there, you lose your life. And the future is always out there somewhere. You can spend an eternity waiting for tomorrow, or worrying about tomorrow. If you live there, you likewise will lose your life. This moment is God’s irreplaceable gift to you.” ~John Ortberg,“God is Closer Than You Think.”

Do you have something that has shown you how to navigate the ordinary to boldly experience each moment, engaged and alive?

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10 thoughts on “Lessons I Learned from Skiing

  1. Hi Lynn,
    I’ve never been skiing but through your words, I now feel as if I can experience the thrill of it! (Love the photo of you, too!) So often my thoughts or desires are focused somewhere else — the past or a future I’m dreaming of — instead of experiencing the present moment, this day, that God invites us into. I love your reminders to be engaged and alive — perfect for this season! xoxo

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    1. Hi Val! Yes, to be engaged and alive is perfect for this season too! I’m always moving in and out of the present moment, and need to continually be reminded. God seems to prompt me to write about what He wants me to remember. 🙂 xo

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  2. Well, you’re brave and courageous, friend! And while I’ll never find myself sliding down a hill {except by accident!}, I surely can take those 3 important learnings with me today.

    Gratitude has become a lifeline, a go-to mode, a faith stretcher. Your post has given me additional encouragement to keep heading in that direction.

    Thank you, Lynn.

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    1. Hi Linda, Staying in a heart of thankfulness no matter our circumstances is something God sure shows us, doesn’t He? ‘Cause He wants us to be present as His present to us! It’s a direction into the light for sure, and I like how you see it as a ‘faith-stretcher’ too. I hadn’t thought of it that way! Thank you!

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  3. I have never done any skiing, Lynn. Only sledding as a kid. 🙂 Your description makes it exciting. I can just feel and hear that wind whooshing by and the snow crunching. And what a great analogy to life. I especially need to work on staying focused on the present things to be thankful for instead of worrying what might happen tomorrow. God reminds me that He has taken care of the sparrow, and He will take care of us. I’m so forgetful though. So thank you for this reminder. Love and hugs to you!

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    1. Hi Trudy! I can forget too! I think God prompts me to write about the stuff He wants me to learn more so I can have the peaceful mind and heart He longs for me and for all of us. Sledding is fun too, but can sure lead to a sore behind! lol! Hugs back to you.

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  4. Thanks for the reminder Lynn to enjoy the moment and NOT worry about the future. God reminded of those same truths just this morning during my devotions. (-: Ker

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  5. Hi Lynn! My word for the year is ‘now’, so this was a great reflection on that subject. Thank you!
    I used to ski, but now the idea of zipping down a mountainside sounds terrifying. I’m so glad you can still do it, and remain in the moment and alive in it.
    Focus and be thankful, I do like that. And I know I can do those things too, if only I’d be better at remembering.
    Blessings,
    Ceil

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  6. Exciting! Imagine where you would wind up to if you’re not fully present, engaged at the moment. We tend to magnify the worries we have for tomorrow that we lose our capacity to enjoy the here and now. It’s something we need to let go. Love that quote from John Ortberg!

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