Everything is symbology in my life; that is just how my brain works. There are undeniable parallels to be found in the way I often tackle difficult terrain while snowboarding, and how I face each new morning without my deceased children. I know of NOTHING harder than to get up each new day, feeling anew the pangs of sorrow and longing… They sometimes manifest in a sudden burst of tears the moment I come down the stairs and begin to rekindle the fire in my wood stove. The sound of my children’s absence is deafening and all-engulfing.
Fortunately, those moments, as torrential as they may seem, quickly pass, and I am left with an abiding feeling of love and peace—stemming from both the immense love I hold for them, and also the tender love they render me as they swoop in to my rescue—enveloping me on all sides. It is most sweet and beautiful, but also tremendously agonizing, all in the same instant.
As the snowboarding season is well underway, and my focus shifts to teaching others how to navigate a wintery wonderland while riding on top of a “glorified stick of wood,” I have acquired many tips and tricks over the years. One of the most useful tricks has been helping beginners to focus on making “just one turn at a time.” When the terrain begins to look too daunting or intimidating, this tactic of “dialing it back” helps slow things down to a more manageable pace.
Of course, this is certainly not a way we want to ride down the mountain every single time for the rest of our riding days, but it is indeed helpful when things have become more complicated, and we are learning something new or even a bit scary—like pointing your board straight downhill, which can create a lot of speed we are not yet ready to handle. Little by little, one turn at a time, students can begin to connect those turns into a more fluid whole, until eventually they can make it all the way down the mountain with confidence and even great joy.
Today, while I am feeling a bit stifled by my brokenness, I can take this lesson in dialing it back to help me focus on making one turn at a time, and doing it to the best of my current ability. It may be ever so slowly, but I will complete each turn with a gentle pause, as I remind myself to breathe, feel the love, and look ahead to the next one.
Today might seem a little (or even a lot!!) fragmented, but eventually, I expect my turns to come together into a more fluid line. For today, I am making progress. My pace and system may be different than those around me, but I am not comparing my turns to anyone else’s but my own. These lines are unique to me, and one day when I look back to observe how broken and un-smooth each turn was, I will feel great strength and confidence in reminding myself how far I have come.
Sometimes, you just gotta dial it back!!!!