So last week I was on holiday. This was no ordinary holiday – this was a skiing holiday.
First of all wasn’t sure why I was there. I had never had a desire to ski and skiing holidays are quite expensive.
But life is short and I thought ‘why not’? Little did I know how life changing it would be.
When we arrived and went about getting skis and boots, negotiating how to walk in the snow in these contraptions, my anxiety levels started to rise.
Then I could see that not only was I walking in heavy, unfathomable boots, I was to attach them to long pieces of plastic – and learn to ski (that’s me in the red trousers above btw).
First thing I noticed was how important it was to be fit and balanced. “Thank goodness for yoga”. At least I was staying upright. So far so good.
What was amazing was watching toddlers/kids ski past you without a care in the world and realise that their lack of fear and lower centre of gravity was giving them a sure advantage.
As I started, I realised that I had a tangible anxiety and fear about doing this. But I had a week of ski school looming ahead of me (3 hours a day) so I either did this or would have to give up.
So I started to use my life tools.
I used meditation – to reflect on what was coming up for me. Why was I so scared? What was causing the anxiety? What was the problem with falling or being out of control?
I started to remember that I had tried skiing as a young teen and nearly had a big accident – my body was carrying a lot of trauma and emotion that I hadn’t dealt with and it was now being processed – uncomfortably.
As I was trying to ski, I used the Ganesh mantra (it is the remover of obstacles) – often we look at life as being the obstacle when really it is our perception of it that is the obstacle. I was being the obstacle to my learning to ski.
After a few days of anxiety and fear, I realised that I had to trust my body. In fact I kept saying this to myself every time I tried to make a parallel turn “I trust my body”, “I trust my body”.
And that’s when it hit me. The fear and anxiety I was feeling was similar to what people feel when they deliver their first meditation to kids. What I was experiencing was what my students feel every time they ‘think’ they can’t do it and yet the moment of mindfulness that helps them be present, centered in their body and trusting the process teaches them that yes they can do it – and it yields amazing results.
The other lesson I learned on this holiday was about the power of being truly present in the body and offering it the chance to show me what it could do.
If you spend a lot of your day thinking (like me) it can be difficult to tune into the body and see what it has to say. If we learn to listen in, we can hear where we hold our stress and anxiety and what it relates to. We can have a conversation with the wisdom of the body to see what it can teach us about balance and health.
I was listening and I was fascinated.
Then came the realisation that when I truly bring my attention totally into my body, that there is a deep sense of peace in every moment – whatever the outcome. If I can stay present with the body, then my mind can watch the results but doesn’t have to analyse nor make sense of them. It is what it is.
When you learn to teach meditation – particularly young people – you can ‘think’ you are present… but you are not. When you are present, you watch, feel or sense each word of the unfolding meditation journey appear in your awareness – and you share it.
Teaching meditation is a journey of trust. It is a fantastic method for teaching us this, helping us to do this.
When we trust, our heart centre is open.
When we trust, the young people who hear our words, feel the vibration of trust and love within each word.
Teaching meditation this way becomes a learning and sharing experience for all.
So I learned to trust my body more than I every had. I learned how to use my mindful tools to help me through moments of great stress and anxiety. I learned to step beyond the comfort of my self imposed boundaries and enjoy the bliss of realising I could do this.
And of course, I learned how to ski! 🙂