Monkey Mind on the Mountain
I’ve been skiing three or four times in my life until this year. The previous attempts didn’t end well due to my own self doubt, and my lack of training. I kinda just jumped into skiing previously, without lessons or instruction. When I was 15 it was to impress a girl, and later it was to spend time with my wife and kids who already knew how to ski.
This year I committed to taking lessons. I’ve taken two of four planned lessons. This weekend, I spent some time out of the lessons, and on the learners hill. I spent some time on the “bunny hill” going over my lessons and trying to make progress, in terms of figuring out how to turn, and stop. Also battling the monkey mind who was chastising me for being too old, too this and too that, and not enough of yet another thing to even try skiing at 47 years old.
Focusing on the skis, the snow, and the mountain underneath my feet helped me quiet the monkey mind. I was encouraged by my wife to go up the lift to the bigger bunny hill. I reminded myself to focus, and took three calming breaths on the ski lift. The first couple runs were slow, and somewhat steady. I was lucky to have my immediate family with me and I took much joy in skiing with them.
We went our separate ways after a couple runs. I stayed on that part of the mountain, and made the run on the big bunny hill 20 or more times. Somewhere around the 3rd or 4th time, my lessons clicked, and my monkey mind stopped chattering.
I’m not ever going to be in the Olympics or a racing team, but I now can get around on skis in a way that is safe and really fun. It’s not the speed of the hill that is appealing to me (although that’s fun). It’s the oneness with self and terrain and weather. Plus hanging out with family and friends on the mountain and in the lodge. I’m grateful that I have the means and opportunity to ski a couple times a season, and that I have people close to me to share it with.
I’m grateful that my monkey mind wants me to be safe and not take risks, there’s wisdom in that, in some contexts. I just wish the monkey mind was kinder to me. Perhaps the more I stretch the comfort zone, the nicer it’ll be, or I’ll be able to ease it’s chattering in better ways.