Now, I am not the best skier.
I can barely get beyond pizza-french fries with my skis, and I spend lots of time with an inner narrative something like, “Tailbone down! Now edges..edges..EDGES…turn, phew, keep your body downhill, core…engage your CORE, now turn..OH EDGES!”
You can imagine a tone in varying degrees of panic.
My skiing companion – a much better skier than me – noticed my focus with some amusement. As I pulled up along him on the slope, he looked off at the mountains.
“You know, Rach,” he said, “when pilots learn to fly, they spend a lot of time looking at their instruments. Because they think that looking at their instruments will keep them safe and let them know where they are. The instruments make them feel certain. But it’s not always true. So their instructors have to tell them, ‘make sure you look out the window sometime.'” He looked at me, “Look out the window, sometimes, Rachel.”
I paused and took that in, an then looked around at the gorgeous mountain-scape I hadn’t really noticed until that moment. I’d been so busy in my technique and trying to get things “right” that I’d forgotten to simply enjoy the process of being there on the mountain.
We do this in so many areas of our life, especially when we care about what we’re doing and want to improve. But our very zeal for advancement can hinder us from the real juice of the practice. And I say this with an enormous amount of love and respect for all self-improvement fanatics, because I’ve also drunk that kool-aid. If we ease up on being perfect, a landscape of possibility open up. Perfection is all or nothing; win or lose; ski well or suck. Possibility is mountains, unexpected encounters, seeing the sky change colors.
Let’s look out the window.