This past weekend we went cross-country skiing at a nearby lake. It was a gorgeous day—not too cold, no one around, the unfrozen stream trickling over rocks as a pause in the quiet serenity of a snow covered landscape—just breathtaking.
Gliding along, rhythmically pulsing back and forth, back and forth, I fell into a breathing harmony with the skis, which held me steady in the present moment—out of my head and into the presence in my body. The simple ease of cross-country skiing allows me to leave behind concerns of life and tune into the peace and beauty surrounding me. Nature is such a great, accessible source in this way.
The snow was deep in spots from drifts, which as long as I stayed upright on my skis was no matter. However, going fast on a downhill, a sticky spot of snow grabbed my ski and I fell. The soft pile of millions of flakes cushioned the impact and made falling pleasurable. Where else can we let gravity take over without serious repercussions?
After the fun of falling, came the rigorous task of getting up in four feet of snow, standing upright on top of the skis without taking them off. Taking them off sets me up for an even more impossible task of then having to put them back on in deep snow. The mathematical equation of the narrow blades times the long length seems almost magical in how it keeps one gliding on top of the snow, no matter the depth. However, as soon as the foot loses the ski, it sinks like a stone down through the soft pile to solid ground.
So after quiet a bit of effort, struggle, lots of laughing and a grateful hand from my partner, I was upright and gliding again. All in all, a great workout in a season when running the roads for aerobic activity is nearly impossible. And a definite way to go from the attitude of “Oh no, more snow!” to “Yes, lets go have fun in the snow!”
Except for one fall, I made it successfully down the other downhills. As I approached the challenge of a fast downhill, rather than allow worrisome, anxious thoughts to take over, I stayed mindful of the skis direction in the snow and successfully navigated the path with enjoyment and ease. I am aware that in this as in all other activities, it matters where my mind is and what it is doing.
The mind is to be in service to the moment, the heart, not to take it over and project disaster into the future. When the mind serves the moment, it brings to it clarity, creativity, imagined possibilities and supportive solutions, functioning at its highest.
How are you using your mind to serve the moment, your heart? How are you enjoying the winter? Any good stories?