Skiing in the Shower

Confessions of a Mountain Girl

So the fun part for me is learning to enjoy the bottleneck. When the movement isn't changing. Or when I've felt the change, but I can't keep it for some reason. It's like walking into a wall over and over again. And you want the change, and you've put the time in, and you've been so disciplined about sticking with no other thought in your skiing other than this one singular piece.

You have digested it, turned it over and inside out, broken it down into pieces and put it back into its whole again. And you can't own it. And you have a choice. You can say, screw it, this is frustrating, I need to blow out the cobwebs, or I'm going home, or I want to play in the bumps. Or, you can find a creative way to back off but stay with the thought.

This movement pattern is important, fundamental, and I didn't want to take it off piste or in the bumps until I had made, and kept to some extent, this change in my skiing. I kept bumping into the opportunity to see if I could stick with it.

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We are here to make this change. So I begin to look for the thrill in the idea of pushing, though. All the emotional stuff comes up. I suck, I've gotten as far as i will get. I don't get it. I may never get it. And we go out and drill again. I have learned, over time, to observe these emotions with curiosity rather than with judgment. I know when I hear those voices that are telling me to back off that I am getting close. That becoming comfortable with that place where I am SUCKING at this is the place where the learning takes place, it's the place where's the beginner's mind is. It's a scary freaky place!

And it's a place that not a lot of people understand. "Why do you take this so seriously, Howe?" I hear this a lot. "you need to just go out and ski. Stop thinking."

The thing is, that doesn't really work for me. I like this part! I don't have a problem not focusing, that's the easy part. I don't have a problem going out for a fun run. But nurturing the discipline to problem solve my way through the bottleneck of frustration leads to the most wonderful openings and deepenings.

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There is bliss on the other side of frustration. And feeling the frustration as an opportunity to grow even more specific and disciplined is where the lesson lies for me this time.

We had to go back days in a row before we could pick up where we left off. But my understanding changed, and my skiing changed. And I skied it for another three days, just to be sure that I got it, from all sides, and then, oh man, I took it off piste. I had my fun runs. And it was like eating desert.


Posted by Tuesday, March 20, 2012

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