I am presented with a singular, yet universal challenge today. The particular experience bringing up my internal controversy is that of Vail's opening day on Vail's 50th Anniversary. While a small blip on the screen for anyone outside of the winter sports community, it's kind of a big deal around here. Since I moved here in 2005, I have grown to love this place and riding my snowboard as I do yoga and sitting in meditation. Sometimes, on the really hectic days, all I can think that might center me is to put my board on the snow, strap in and find that zen place of quiet turns bathed in bright sunlight. I particulary love those days when the tourists and day-trippers are minimal, and I find my favorite stashes pristine and awaiting my plunder. Sometimes I ride to a favorite spot, then lay down in the snow, by myself, and let the overwhelm of this place, and it's majesty wash over me - putting me back in my place of small fry in in the scope of big Mother Nature. Sometimes it's refuge makes me cry.
Now I am pregnant though. Many women have regaled me with stories of their fearless pregnant winters strapped into their board or snuggled into their skiis, carving sweet lines down my favorite mountain. With adventurous spirit, they have tuned into their centers, found their balance and gone for it, baby on board. I admire that a lot. But I'm not sure I can do it. Don't get me wrong, my friends and riding crew would say I'm pretty alright at at it - I'm not afraid to drop a clif or slide a rail in the park, I adore the swish of the trees on either side as I slide in between a deeply forested line and I'm not too big a fan of putting on the brakes. But because of that - I tend to fall down now and again - in the exploration of what exactly I can do and how hard I can push it. This, thankfully has only landed me in surgery on a knee once, and I'm just a soldier about my shoulder dislocating here and there. But am I able - or maybe the better question is willing, to only make a few turns down a mild slope just to say I was out there? Would I feel even sadder that I couldn't track down my favorite terrain in exchange for saying I put my board on this season?
As I write it, it even seems silly - that this is my big dilemma. To ride or not to ride - that is the question. But as I packed my husband up this morning and sent him off to meet up with all the people I love to ride with (him especially), I felt a pang of envy, I'm not gonna lie. An opening of what could become a deep crevasse of loneliness. Not just without him or my wintertime community of fun-loving, merry pranksters, but also without the mountain. Without the snow. Without that floaty feeling of long, languid turns and the quiet crinkle of the snow underboard.
This begs the question - how often do I let my selfish cravings take over my responsible and reasonable mind? How often do I choose to indulge in what I know to be less than my highest good for the sheer satisfaction of getting what I want in the moment? I think a lot is my answer - judging by how hard this is. I mean, if I would even consider putting the health - and even survival of my unborn child at risk for me to get that heady feeling that I get on my board, then there's got to be some spoiled child inside of me kicking her feet and screaming right now, as I say no - I will protect you, baby. I will be the cocoon to your butterfly, and I will take good care of myself, stay quiet and be gentle. I have to begin to get a little deeper about it, and examine where that loneliness might be coming from - that need to get outside and go fast or get the thrill of flying through the air - why is that my drug and can I be contented with myself anywhere, doing anything? Can I sit on my cushion and channel that same sense of spaciousness that I get on my board? Can I find refuge inside of myself instead of looking externally to my drug of choice?
Well, yes, I think I can. It's going to take work and it won't come without struggle. You see, surrender doesn't always come easy. Sometimes it's easier to put in effort than to loosen our grip on our mind. So when I go sit, my focus will have to be surrender. It'll have to entail not holding on to my sadness and loneliness, but opening up to the grace of my own breath creating that space inside that I always look to my mountain and sun to provide.
Happy Opening Day and Happy Anniversary Vail! We will meet again. And in the meantime, I will meet myself.
As a student of yoga, massage, meditation , poetry and other such introversions, I figured some of my inspirations might also touch the hearts of others. Read, ruminate, digest, create...always returning to this well of deep love inside to renew ourselves and rediscover what we are. Enjoy!