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Getting Started Towards New Beginnings

About 2 years ago, I was freezing cold in Vermont attempting to become a more proficient skier to keep up with my family. To me, learning to ski as an adult has been stressful and a little scary. The skis just seem to glide out from under my feet with no brakes attached. I have had trouble making turns because I just kept digging in my ski into the snow to try to gain some control. That day, the ski instructor said to me, “If you want to make a turn, you have to be willing to point your skis down the mountain.” In other words, I had to give up control, face my fear in order to change directions and ultimately take back control. I thought to myself, “this is good advice for life too.”

Just as it is for skiing, actually performing the technique you are aware of can take patience and practice. Sometimes it can be difficult to know even where to start. I still needed help picking myself up out of the snow, and definitely wasn’t able to ski the black diamond, but something clicked in terms of the mindset I would need. I had a new awareness. Now, how do I start to face my fear of pointing my skis down the mountain and break the bad habits of digging that ski in that I felt has protected me all this time, knowing now that is really holding me back?

The status quo can become comfortable, even when it isn’t ideal, or even when it is harmful. Understanding this, and giving myself some space and grace around my natural resistant thoughts and reactions helped. When first perceiving change, we tend to focus on all the things that we have to give up, and how hard it will be. When we are operating out of habit, the brain expends less energy. We naturally have some resistance to spending more. But, starting to imagine what things will be like after the change can help us get started seeing the benefits of the change and learning the “why” behind the change. The effort of digging my ski in, and the stress of making the turn this way actually takes a lot more energy than if I could lift up and face my skis down the mountain. Imagining feeling free and confident help set the intention behind my reason for change.

It is now time to face my fear and let go of control. Surrender means to stop fighting. Stop digging my ski into the mountain. Trusting that there can be more than one “right” path, not just the one I am holding on to. This shift in its entirety can feel daunting and overwhelming. Breaking it up into a bite size piece can help get me started. I practice my new technique on the bunny hill where I still have the resources to be attentive to any old habits creeping back in and redirect. Just like a sled going down the slope, the brain likes to fall back in line with the tracks instead of paving a new path. We need to spend some more energy bringing it back to the desired path until a new track is laid down. One way to help ourselves keep devoting energy to this new path is by acknowledging and celebrating these small successes when we realign with our intention. I work towards giving myself credit for the work I am doing and that growth isn’t always linear.

All of this is still a work in progress for me when it comes to skiing and just in the earliest stages of unfolding for other life experiences. The new year is a chance to reflect, become aware, and set intentions for change, a reminder we can start fresh. Maybe it is a new skill or healthy habit, or seeing things in a new framework or working towards feelings of acceptance, forgiveness, worthiness or whatever else your heart may be aware of. I encourage you to give yourself the gift of this time of this introspection and discovery.

“We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Cheers to your health and

With Sincere Gratitude,

Julia Snyder

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