The Planks.

 

I feel myself plummeting down this narrow sketchy patch of snow and ice, the lift line at the bottom of the run is approaching a lot faster than I would expect or like. I know I don’t want to skid my turns, like some of the seemingly cool kids do with a roost spraying off the trails of their skis, I want to be in control, riding the edges and using controlled turns to bleed speed the whole way down, however, that is not working. My brainstem is going crazy and relentlessly firing up my reflexes, I start leaning back, fighting gravity and turning away from the fall line. On a black diamond slope, things are happening so much faster, the stakes are higher and time for recovery is scant. I am rattled now and questioning my decision to turn down this trail, the next pitch is coming up and its much steeper.

The common thread that weaves through all these events, actions and reactions is the ever present “Fear”.

I read somewhere that there are only two emotions: Love and Fear. All negative emotions come fear, fear drives us to run, it dissuades us from inching closer to the edge, and taking the plunge, it keeps us grounded in the safe and predictable. We standby, watch others riding the waves, making the turns, airing it out and tell ourselves things like: “they have less to loose”, “they are much younger”, “they heal quicker than I do” when we see someone crash we hang on that as justification for our “caution/fear” Missing the point would be thinking that I am saying to endanger yourself, however we must be reasonably uncomfortable, a state where we feel more, are more vivid and embody a more intense version of ourselves.

After getting in the back seat a couple times, and unsuccessfully forcing my skis to turn before the edges engage, I stop!

At the edge of the trail, I take some deep breaths and acknowledge fear, yes this is dangerous, but it is not ever going to be, this trail is never going to get less steep just like I am never going to stop wanting to ski it, so today is as good a day as any to do it. I keep my eyes ahead – looking where I’m going and not where I have been, drop into proper squared up stance, I feel for my shin against the tongue of my boots and tell myself to keep them there, I loosen up and let the planks ride, carving Ses in the snow and ice. Fear is calling but I’m really not listening, just letting them skis ride, all the while loving not fearing.

Thanks for stopping by

The Cost of Awe

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Most people come to a point in their lives when they ask the universal question “What am I here for, What does my life mean, Is there more to life than this”? In a way these seem easy and expected akin to those teenagers ask about their bodies during puberty. They also seem easy because for most of us this stage of curiosity does not last. It is quickly stashed away by the buzz and routine of life, melancholic moments overshadowed by activities, laughter, routine,  they down into the background awaiting rekindling when life slowly drifts to sleep.
The harder and I dare say more important question is “Why do we do the things we do”, why do we stay in routines that have long lost their meaning, why chase a dead-end job or even worse ascend the corporate ladder that provides material wealth inversely proportional to the wealth of the heart? Cliché you say? How about why do you go out and run that 5miles even though today its stinking hot and you really did not feel like it, why still go to the gym when all your mind, muscles and adipose fat in unison yearn for a retreat on the couch glued to the tube? Why do you pedal up that climb doing intervals on your bike….

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Even the things we think are fun and we do for recreation often times turn into routine void of our first love and enthusiasm but we keep on doing it without thinking about… so apt to autopilot “it”…I think many a times we subconsciously deny ourselves the options of asking why, we feel the question  more than we think it but we fear to expose it to our consciousness… we fear to explore it for what answers might be buoyed to the surface.

Every once in a while we experience Awe for cheap… Get lost and end up on a beautiful scenic mountain road, hook a Rainbow Trout on the line, the first time we descend a 1000ft climb with a tailwind and no traffic, the first time we nab a PB on a 10K…. Obviously there is the price we pay in effort, resources, training, practice and the likes but that cost when compared to the result the first time is unequivocal, the awe factor far outweighs the cost. We are designed to be leaky vessels, God fills us up and we immediately start leaking, we have to continually return to be refilled, it might in some cases get easier to refill but we might start desiring a taste for something else. This is as true in our spiritual lives as our physical. That Job we were overjoyed to have starts becoming unfulfilling, yes we enjoy running a 10k but dang motivation is now at a premium, yes the view at the top of this climb is great but I do not feel like climbing….

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For us to really experience Awe, we constantly have to reevaluate routines and be brave the question why…why should I do this again… is it time  to initiate change? We have to be willing to put the effort in to earn the experience. We have to be willing to climb a different hill if the view is no longer enthralling, fish a different stream if the fish are no longer biting. We have to be willing to tarry and wait for God to reveal himself if we feel he has gone silent. As important as it is to ask the questions it is even more important to accept the answers, Oswald Chambers put it this way “we all have those times when there are no flashes of light and no apparent thrill of life, where  we  experience  nothing  but  the  daily  routine… The routine  of life  is actually God’s  way of  saving  us  between  our  times  of  great inspiration  which come  from  him.”