Wednesday, January 22, 2014

10 Reasons Why Snowboarding is a metaphor for Life.

Ohhhh Haiiiii everyone!

Hope everyone's holidays have gone swimmingly. I won't pretend like mine weren't all over the place (maybe you read my previous blogs?) - but I WILL say that this rough spell is proving that I am stronger than I ever thought possible… as we all are. Mama Universe gives us just what we need! And I'm so grateful for the lesson.

A couple days ago, while snowboarding with my buddy Linds, I had some insights that I felt compelled to share. Maybe you can relate to them?


1) The brain sure can make a mountain out of a molehill… self-talk will make or break your experience.
So I have this heights-thing. I can look at a hill that looks just fine one second, and then my brain will suddenly - out of nowhere - make it THE SCARIEST HILL EVER. Honestly, I had this one time earlier this season where I suddenly got stuck on a steep run after bailing and had to get down. And OH MY GOD was my brain not on board! I was certain - CERTAIN! - that if I moved an inch, I was going to tumble and die. I started to hyperventilate and give myself a minor panic attack.

In that moment, the only tool that I had available was self-talk. There was no one around me to coach me through it. All I had was I could say, "You can do this, you can do this, you can do this" over and over and over again. It was, for all intents and purposes - my mantra.

When in LIFE are we put in situations where we need to become our own cheerleaders to get us through a situation?

2) It's all about velocitization… Confidence is EVERYTHING.
Honestly, if you take away one bit of this blog… this is what I recommend. This big AH-HA! on the mountain was somewhat of a game changer, and kinda influenced the rest of my day.

Urban dictionary defines "Velocitization" as: The condition where frequently driving at high speeds affects your overall sense of speed. You become permanently velocitized.

Meaning, my internal speed is determined by how fast I've chosen to go up until that point. I recently returned to boarding after a 7-year hiatus, partly due to a car accident. When I became physically incapacitated all those years ago and was healing an immense injury, I totally halted my speed - both physically and mentally. I got 'off the fast track' - because I needed to - and I slowed. right. down.

Now, all those years ago, this was the right decision. But then I began to stick myself in that slow holding pattern. Do you know that story of how the circus would keep elephants in captivity? They would chain baby elephants to a pole, and as the baby grows up learning they cannot free themselves, the circus handlers eventually completely remove the chain -- the elephant holds herself captive all on her own. I've recently noticed that I'm the same. Saying "no" to things - physically, emotionally, energetically - all those years ago was the right thing for then. But it's started to become uncomfortable.

Same with snowboarding. I didn't snowboard for all those years, and about 2 years ago I recently started up again. I had to go slowly - had to retrain my body to do things it had all but forgotten how to do.

That being said, the muscle memory came back WAY quicker than I expected… but the brain confidence took a while. I would notice myself starting to go fast, get freaked out… and start slowing down. I literally held myself back because even though my body could physically handle anything that came my way, I was just not used to going fast.

That's life. As I started to heal -- emotionally, energetically, mentally -- life started to throw more things at me. But I wasn't prepared to submit for all those auditions, write every day… because my internal speed pattern was slow.

4) You DO get better the more you do it!
This is the good news! That velocitization is staying with my body and mind, and every time I go up the mountain now, I feel myself get more and more comfortable with going faster and faster. I find myself taking more and more calculated risks… because I find them enjoyable, NOT because I feel like I "should" do them. And that's the difference, isn't it? Living life from FUN - not from other's expectations.

Like life… I find that I'm writing blogs, I'm starting to take more life and career-affirming action because I WANT TO, not because I need to prove stuff to anyone. Not anymore.

5) When things get scary, don't stop - keep going. It's easier… I promise.
Whew, this was a big one. There isn't a lot of snow on the mountains here in Van this season, so there's a bunch of ice hidden under man-made snow. When Linds and I approached a slightly steeper hill than we were prepared for, we noticed that it was essentially straight ice. Our first impulse was to full on pendulum down the hill… but this is a terrifying ordeal in itself (see #1).

And so, having all of these previous experiences under my belt, I tried a new approach - instead of stopping full-stop when I started to get scared, I acted "As If" … I decided to just barrel down the hill (again, with calculated risk… still felt somewhat in control of my body), and carve instead of flat out scraping down the hill.

And guess what?? IT WAS EASIER, GUYS!

That's right. Going with the flow - even when it's freakin' scary - was actually the answer. Who knew?!

4) Have your body Action-Ready for ANYTHING.
Keep your knees bent. Not only do the pros have to keep their knees bent as proper technique… I would argue that it's BECAUSE they have soft knees that they become pros! No matter what the landing of that jump, or conditions on the mountain, or size of the hill… curveballs can come at any time. So stay soft and open and you'll land more than you think.

7) You're gonna bail.
Kinda goes hand in hand with the previous one. So keep those knees bent.

5) Engage Your Core.
That shit's important.

8) Keep your eyes trained ahead on where you DO want to go, not directly in front staring at where you DON'T want to go.
You've all done this, right? Even if you don't snowboard… maybe you bike, or drive, and you're staring at the pothole that you know you shouldn't drive into… and 10 seconds later, there you are, driving into it. Or if you're riding, that one jerk who's fallen in front of you, you're caught up staring at them… and barrel straight into them?

It's so hard to train our brains to move from what we DON'T want to what we DO want… but doesn't it make all the difference in the world?

10) You may go up with friends, but you ride alone.
This one was a biggie for me. All that self-talk, all that inner game on the mountain… these are all MY musings. Sure, I have some company going up the lift, and standing in line, and sure Linds was there to appreciate the comedy as I rode straight into a rail (seriously it was ridiculous)… but at the end of the day, her experience that day was her experience, and mine was my own. Maybe that could be construed as a lonely part of life… but I don't think so. I think it's pretty magical, actually.

Well, there you have my musings over the past couple days. Comment, share and/or post if you feel so inclined… but mostly, keep living the dream, lovers. You got this.

With all love,

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