I've always found parallels between life and the activities I enjoy. There's a striking example that comes to mind when I think of skiing: When skiing through trees, focus on the spaces between; not the trees themselves. In life, as in skiing through trees, it's best to focus on the spaces in between, lest you are stopped cold by something much larger than you.
I've not talked about negative things in my personal life on this blog for one simple reason: they represent the trees in my life and what one sees when they view my blog, are merely the spaces in between. The photos and words about my adventures on dirt, snow and jam are exemplars of what could figuratively be considered, the best continuous tree-run on powder snow ever. However there are very large trees in my life that I am forced to focus on, yet need to avoid nonetheless if I want to continue having a great run in life.
My wife has anorexia. She has struggled with this all her life, but like an alcoholic; one can be a recovering anorexic and occasionally fall off the wagon...or to keep the allegory rolling....smack into the trees. About a year and a half ago, Mrs. Maadjurguer smacked into a tree and to this day, continues to struggle to find the spaces in between. As her partner, I've struggled and failed to keep her moving through the forest. I have at times guided her mistakenly into trees too dense for her to navigate successfully. What appears to me as an easily skiable glade of old growth aspen......
.....is to her; an impenetrable tangled mess of trunks, branches and icy dead-fall which scratch, claw and maim her as she struggles to keep moving through the forest.
At the same time, I also find myself struggling to weave through the trees. I recently lost my job of 13 years and for the past few months have struggled to find my rhythm. Rhythm when skiing through trees is as important as focusing on the spaces. The two are interlinked; one cannot exist without the other. Once stopped in the trees, it's hard to return sharp focus to the spaces in between and reestablish a rhythm. This is what makes the first turn after stopping, the hardest. Once stopped, ironically; one has too much time to process the various options in front of them.
Once at speed, I find that it's easier to make a snap judgment as to which space to shoot through and adjust from there. Each decision is made with each turn, in a rhythm that repeats itself over and over again; turn after turn, from one space to the next. It occurs to me that once at speed I tend not to focus on the smaller spaces and am able to identify the largest space with the best potential and choose it without hesitation. However once stopped, the mind goes into overdrive; processing every permutation to every potential space arrayed before me.....the process is never ending until you choose one and commit.
I struggle mightily to find good lines through the trees these days. Skiing much too slow to gain the momentum I need to gain any rhythm; I am forced to stop short repeatedly to find a new space and avoid smacking into the trees. At the same time, I also struggle to keep my partner from getting lost completely. Realizing that I'm responsible for my partners safety; and she of mine....I can't ski for my partner. I can't point out the spaces and expect her to ski them as I would. She needs to find the spaces herself and ski her own line.
The lines that we each choose through the forest are not solely defined by our expertise on skis, rather; they are primarily defined by our fears and our confidences, as reflected by our past experiences and our future expectations in life. When these four forces are out of balance, we lose focus. When our fears outnumber our confidences....we lose the ability to see the spaces in between and focus more on the trees. When we dwell on our past experiences exclusively, at the expense of our desired future; we lose our rhythm.
One could say that in life, there are no guarantees, no timelines; only expectations. These expectations are as often realized as they are left unfulfilled. I'm not sure when we will find our rhythm again flowing from space to space. In life, just as in skiing, momentum is everything. And while momentum can lead you as easily to a tree as it can a space; the lack of momentum leaves one no choice, but to stare at trees.
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