Over and over for the last few days, this is the theme that keeps coming up. I’m being called to learn how to surrender at deeper and deeper levels. And let me just be frank – surrender has never been one of my stronger attributes, even on a good day.
The Universe has been putting situation after situation in front of me where I’m required to let go of what I want, let go of needing to control, and give up the how. I keep hearing this little voice in my head saying, “You just take the next step. We’ll do the rest.” I am familiar with that voice – it’s the voice that always tells me the truth and has never, ever led me astray. But do you know how freaking HARD it is to follow that voice when it’s asking me to LET GO?!?
Case in point: last Friday I had an amazing opportunity to go skiing with the Adaptive Sports program at Bretton Woods. I’ll be writing about what they do for the newspaper. I interviewed several of their volunteers, some of the parents whose kids are in the program, and the executive director. A thoroughly fantastic group of people.
Then came the moment of truth – going out on the ski slope and taking photos of a team skiing with an 11-year old girl who has cerebral palsy.
Let me interrupt this story to give you a couple salient pieces of background – I grew up in ski country and learned to ski as a kid. Due to the competitive nature of the ski program we were in, it was never a good fit for me. Since graduating from 5th grade I have been skiing exactly ONCE. More than 15 years ago.
After all these years, my body still more or less remembered what to do. Not perfectly by any means, but my body knew how to get me down the mountain.
My brain, on the other hand, was in full panic mode. It was screaming, “WE’RE GOING TO DIE OUT HERE!!!!!!”
We started and stopped a bunch of times to position for good pictures, which meant that I went down the trail in about six or eight short hops.
During some of those hops I was constantly repeating to myself, “I’m okay. I’m okay. I’m okay. I can do this. I can do this. I can do this. I’m okay. I’m okay. I’m okay.” Just like that, over and over. And in the moments when I was doing that, I was petrified. I was distinctly NOT okay.
But during a couple of the other hops something remarkable happened – I surrendered to the experience. I let my mind go and let my body take over. I wasn’t terrified. I was just along for the ride.
I was aware of the switching back and forth. “Surrender” kept running through my mind. When I went into panic, I would say it to myself as a command: “SURRENDER!” Which obviously did no good – in fact it just added to the stress.
But when I stopped thinking and let go of the how of getting down the mountain…that’s when the surrender actually happened. That was the moment of the miracle.
Many thanks to Jonathan, Phil, Carl, Warren, Bobbi, Owen, Bella and everyone at Bretton Woods Adaptive Sports & Recreation. You guys are phenomenal!