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.

Which run shall I take?nov83

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.

nov82

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.

nov8

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?

skiing

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Good and kind

“You made it seem so…” Hannah’s voice on the cassette tape.

Clay pulls off the headphones. “Easy? Is she kidding me? I was s— myself. She’s not telling the truth about the way things happened.”

Tony. “She’s telling her truth.”

(SPOILER ALERT)

The above scene is from 13 Reasons Why, a Netflix original series about a teen’s suicide, Hannah, and the tapes she recorded before her suicide. Clay’s tape was number 11. However, the late Hannah’s voice on his tape tells Clay he doesn’t belong as part of her reasons why as he is “good and kind.” But he needed to be part of her pre-suicide recordings to help explain why she did what she did. “I didn’t deserve you,” her voice tells Clay through the tape. “I would have ruined you.”

Clay wrestles with his insecurities that stopped him from pushing in, finding out why Hannah aggressively told him to go away before she died. He pictures a scene where he does probe to find out what is really going on instead of walking away with an ego bruised, and hurt feelings.

This past summer I found myself the centre of a Circle of Trust. Based on Parker Palmer’s teachings, the circle is a sacred space where one can show up exactly as they are. At first I was uncomfortable with the idea of no eye contact when speaking, yet the freedom from not judging or trying to read others while I talked let me show up in an authentic way I had not experienced before. And when I respected the space of others by listening only, I allowed them the safe space to be open, vulnerable, and true.

Nov1five

Continue reading “Good and kind”

An upside down kind of way

Oct112

“No one does that anymore,” my eldest sister replied. The fall day was hotter than summer, some tree leaves green, holding on to bonds of chlorophyll, and I wondered if  maybe even confused. The summer season had brought rain and temperatures a season ahead, while now this mid September morning we walked a park trail, sleeveless and sandal footed, a ‘record breaking temperature day’ with heat warning announcements. Summer was fall, and fall is summer.

An upside down kind of day.

Continue reading “An upside down kind of way”

Just a little bit of happy

Aug236

“I can’t stop laughing,” said my 8 year-old granddaughter. And her candy-coated laughter continued to erupt as she stayed on her feet while propelling usbubble in a jumbo bubble-wrapped balloon of plastic. Meanwhile I was on my knees trying to stand up (which is where I spent most of my time). Back at the starting point, tumbling out of the bubble’s door, we both wiped sweat from our foreheads. Her laughter burst on.

I giggled with her, her joy positively contagious (even though I wondered if I needed to call a chiropractor).

Ahh…Joy. Webster definition of this noun includes a feeling of great happiness.  When was the last time you did joy? Sometimes it needs to be almost intentional, doesn’t it? Or we might feel we need to get our work done, our relationships right, our finances balanced before we allow ourselves to experience joy.

But….look here! How, in His word are we directed to do joy?

Ecclesiastes 9:7 Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for God has already approved what you do.

He’s already approved what you do. You can do joy….now!

Doing joy could be making a cake, decorating a sugar cookie, drinking sweet tea on a park bench, visiting a bakery store with your favourite macaroons, or dining at that awesome ‘only the locals know about’ cafe.

IMG_0330IMG_0198IMG_0137IMG_0113Aug238

Ecclesiastes 3:12  I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live.

Joy could be doing a little bit of silly to make some happy, like having a (fun) battle at a wedding.

Aug2388

Joy could be doing a bit of crafting, to create something for a smile of another.

IMG_0471

Joy may even be had after a long line-up for a once-in-a-life-time meet-up of Lightening McQueen.

IMG_0244

Joy could be doing a little looking at some shiny bling, or in that moment strapping on that luggage for the road trip.

Aug233Aug232

Aug23

Joy could be in the doing of a little watching of feline creatures.

IMG_0459

Or in taking the time, that moment, to pick up that hobby you’ve left behind (but oh so wants you to be happy).

IMG_0369

And doing joy could be while doing good when volunteering. And even sweeter joy meeting ‘the band.’ (Tim and Glory Boys at Youth Conference 2017, Red Deer, Alberta)

IMG_0272

What is your list of joy, my friend? And what is one thing you could do today, even if small or silly, to “to be happy and to do good“?

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

A place to re-start the party-FMF

Lynnblogheader

I’m linking up with Five Minute Friday where we are instructed to “Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation. Just write.” This week’s prompt is “Place”.

Start

In the slower days of summer, I am led to thoughts that create new adventures. I sometimes though ponder the thoughts of measuring how well something was doing in the past, and why now it seems to have changed, along with my passion for it. Or, a better description may that my intention is changing.

I ponder about going back to a place where it seemed more productive, more passionate. Don’t get me wrong though! Even with those essential “P” words, the place could be hard work full of sweat and tears too.

This place was in the days when I was awake at 4 am and writing. I was writing my teenage novel at the time, as well as contributing at least 3x per week in a new forum to me–blogging. My first blog was call Connecting Stories, over on the blogger platform. There I met, never physically, but through many words and correspondence via comments mainly, other writers. Most were fiction, as I inspired to be, as well as teachers of writing. I even entered contests and received a honourable mention at one place, won others. As well, it was a time where blog awards were given by other bloggers–fun badges you could post on your blog like  “encouraging blogger”, “sweetest blog,” and “amazing commenter.”  And blog hops were hopping, and popular!

It was a time where no one seemed left out of the party too. If someone visited your place, then you would for sure go to hers/his, and leave a comment, making a new or cultivating a connection. I still have a handful of bloggers from those days that I connect with today and consider friends. So, lately I’m feeling somewhat nostalgic for that other place of mine, Connecting Stories, and considering writing again there with the focus on writing!

Stop

Do you write on multiple blogs with different focuses? Do you feel it important to connect by commenting on the blogs of those who left you comments?

#FMF – Click here for more!

Being lovely

It was such a lovely day, and the sky and the sea were so blue. They sat eating and drinking, gazing out at the sea, watching the waves break over the rocks…Enid Blyton, writer (1897-1968)

Aug9

Our prairie waters in my part of the province do not have waves breaking over rocks like the seas on the east and west coast. However, the glass-like shimmer of calm lakes under an aqua coloured sky dotted with milky clouds can make for a lovely day. I’ve had those lovely moments this summer while spending weekend time with family in campsites of tents, dirt roads, and mountain ash trees. Or while paddling in my small (and very stable) kayak.

You have to schedule time for yourself even if you have no idea what you’re going to do with it. Susie Bright, author 

Aug91

The summer season has been a new time for me, with no two week vacation planned, or scheduled days off work. Instead, when no festival or camping outing is on the agenda, it’s been working on checking off lists of projects left to the long days like house painting, cupboard and closet organization. Although, even with all the time that seems to be, all the time I let open for completions, many improvements are still to be.

And, it’s okay.

We constantly feel like we need to improve ourselves, but in fact, we’re already pretty great. We just need to see that. Leo Babauta, writer

Aug94

With our social media feeds bombarded with how to be more productive, with our bookstores that dedicate sections to how we can be richer, be skinnier, and be faster achievers, writers, and cooks, sometimes it can get confusing of what is it to really ‘be.’

Yet, it can be so much simpler, can’t it?… of how we are to be, when taking in the words of Paul.

 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8

And being in that way can make all days lovely indeed, yes? And remind us no improvements needed when we look to who we really are.

Linking up with Patricia Holbrook today! May you be recharged by all these lovely writers by clicking the link below.

Soaring with Him Ministries

Don’t try so hard-Five Minute Friday

whispersMay2

I’m linking up with Five Minute Friday where we are instructed to “Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation. Just write.” This week’s prompt is “Try.”

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14

I remember it like it was yesterday. Many years ago I woke up, swollen eyed, and stomach caved in from an emotional meltdown. My roommate at the conference centre where our retreat was being held, pulled out her cell-phone.

“I think the Holy Spirit is telling me I need to share this song with you,” she said. And from the speakers of her phone, Amy Grant’s voice sang, “Don’t try so hard.”

Well, of course tears sprang to my eyes more! Yet, also a comfort. The Spirit was letting me know that all my trying to be okay, to be better, and more perfect was unnecessary. I was (am) okay just the way I am. At the time I was trembling in comparison, and in insecurity, believing I could never be perfect enough, and my inner critic was telling me “there’s something wrong with you!”

But Amy Grant’s words spoke the truth I needed to hear.

“He gave you His love and He’s not leaving
Gave you His Son so you’d believe it
You’re lovely even with your scars
Don’t try so hard”

The goal, my friends, is never to try to be perfect, but to press on toward the knowing of who you ALREADY ARE as His beloved–loved just ’cause you’re you.

Visit Five Minute Friday for more inspiring reads from fine writers!