Stay Present – what I learned from Snowshoeing
Yesterday, my husband and I went snowshoeing for the first time this winter. We’ve barely had any snow this year, but driving up to Crystal Mountain Ski Area there was certainly an abundance of the white stuff at higher elevations.
We signed in (they keep a log book in case anyone goes missing, or gets injured on the trail, and they need to send out a rescue party) and bought our lift tickets. I feel like we always get a few odd looks, standing in the lineup for the chairlift, holding our snowshoes under our arms, with everyone else on skis or snowboards. It’s mostly teenagers – maybe they are just anticipating the fact that the lift attendant will have to stop the chairlift for us to get on and off, thereby delaying their youthful gratification for a few precious seconds.
Some of you might be thinking that there are plenty of places to snowshoe that don’t require a fee, or riding a ski lift. We’ve tried snowshoeing at Telemark, a few minutes down the road from Crystal Mountain, but for me it’s not the same. What I LOVE about snow-shoeing at Crystal Mountain (or Big White or Silver Star) is the ride up the lift – it’s like paying for a ferris wheel ride at the fair, only longer, and with a better view. It’s part of what I enjoy about snow-shoeing, because I’ll freely admit, that for me any exercise has got to be about the view. That’s my reward for getting out and doing it.
While I really enjoy getting out there, on one of the first lifts of the morning before the rest of the world has stumbled out of bed, I often find myself with a case of the grumpies as we start walking. That little voice that thinks I’m going to tumble down the mountainside and the rescuers won’t be able to find us; we’re going to get lost and get frost-bite; my hip aches – this was a dumb idea; I don’t have time for this – I have to prepare for that presentation, oh yah, which means I need to contact so-and-so, and then I’ll need to prepare a report, and so on. And pretty soon the scenery that I came here to enjoy is passing me by. You know those voices, the irrational little annoyance in the back of your mind that many of us have – the Gremlins as my friend Cynthia calls it.
After 15 minutes or so of muttering in my head – while my husband strode on, blissfully unaware of the hoard of gremlins chasing me – I stopped for a moment and stood, simply enjoying the heavy silence, and the fragrant scent of the evergreens. We carried on, and by the time we got to the top, having a quick drink while taking in the view – all the way to Little White – I realized that my hip wasn’t aching anymore.
I took the lead on the plateau, and headed down towards the ski lodge. I like going down – I tend to power walk, looking kind of like the abominable snowman thundering down the mountain. (Here’s my dirty little secret – I also like having big Tubbs snowshoes that I can sit back on the ends and sled downhill, between the trees – it’s totally fun, though I have yet to meet anyone else who’s done the same. Or to ADMIT that they’ve done it – maybe everyone is doing it secretly, hoping no one will catch them in their child-like glee).
Lessons from today
One of the things I’m trying to be conscious of this year, is being present. It’s part of my “Kickstart the new year” challenge – working on FOCUS. So much of our energy is wasted thinking about the past – what we should have done, what we shouldn’t have said – or in the future – the chores we have to do, the work we’re procrastinating about, the people we should call – that we are missing the NOW. It’s toxic.
Part of that affliction is the illusion that we don’t have time. What most people don’t have is focus – what everyone self-diagnoses as ADD. It’s hard because there is so much noise – on TV, the people around us in the office, on the internet, even in our heads.
Goals Attained Today
Balance (exercise, spending time with family);
Focus (staying present);
For the next month, take a challenge. Remember one of my goal words? It’s focus. I get derailed sometimes (ok, very often). I have negative thoughts. It’s all wasteful.
Check-in with yourself often – be conscious and aware. Ask yourself: Is what I’m doing really necessary? Is it accomplishing any of my goals or is it just a make-work project so I FEEL like I’m doing something, and avoiding the difficult tasks of the day.
Make a real effort to live life consciously, with purpose – and stay present. You’ll accomplish more.
Have a great week. Happy Gremlin hunting!
P.S. What are you doing to stay focused? What are your biggest Gremlins? What do they look like or sound like? I’d love for you to share your comments below.
P.P.S What I’m really DYING to know is – have you ever slid down the mountain on your snowshoes? Not tumbled down accidentally, but purposely sat down like your snowshoes are a sled and purposely slid down the mountain? Are me and my husband the only ones???