The regular readers of this blog will already have seen two sides to me. The working Corporate City type, and the yogi type. There is, however, another type that those close to me know well – the Class A skiing type. In fact, the skiing side to my life pretty much dominates the winter months as I gear myself up to be amongst the mountains in utter samadhi (spiritual bliss).
To ski is to meditate. Because when we ski, we have to focus on every turn, in order to keep us safe. When we look at our surroundings in moments which allow us to relax, we are in awe of nature, and in tune with it. If we are in tune with nature, then we know that we are truly flowing with the way life is meant to be – free from our minds, and connected to our true experience of being.
As we contemplate such a profound realisation, what can we learn from this, for those of us who work in the City?
1. It’s important to Let Go
When we escape the “chains” of our desk, we realise the turbulence of our working lives. As we observe our blackberries during such free time (as we often do), we see a stream of emails constantly coming in.
In such moments, we remain helpless but also free, because some of those emails are for our attention, but the space we have given ourselves, away from the office and in the mountains, means that by choosing not to respond to them, we liberate ourselves from the self-imposed prism that defines our working lives.
Of course, being responsive, mindful and proactive are all hallmarks of a successful worker and/or manager in the workplace, but those traits can come at a cost to our wellbeing if we do not detach and let go once in a while.
One of my companions on the ski trip observed at one point that he had just received over 100 emails in 2 hours. The look of bewilderment was priceless – equally was his nonchalant response that looking at and responding to such emails was for another time…
2. Nature Brings a Fresh Perspective
Whatever work or personal issue we have, getting away to the mountains is a great way to resolve it. The deeply rich, oxygenated air, free from all the pollution that we breathe in the City, the physical exertion that we endure as we ski and use muscles that we rarely need during the rest of the year and the pure exhilaration that we feel as we conquer a slope or run in our desire to improve ourselves on the mountain, all combine to give us a fresh perspective on whatever we have on our minds.
As another member of our group recently remarked and chose as the title of our Facebook group – when we ski, we ‘feel the mountain‘. When we feel, we are using our kinesthetic sense, anchored in the body. In our bodies lie many of the answers to the issues and questions that we have. Our ‘gut instinct’ is often our most reliable indicator. By being in the mountains and going with the flow of the skiing we may develop new realisations on matters we would not otherwise had insights into.
I should also add that our friend added ‘taste the mountain’ to the title of our Facebook group. In my case, a strudel a day was not what I had intended prior to the trip, but it just happened that way. Sometimes life just works out like that. My gut may have a different ‘perspective’. 🙂
3. Make the Most of the Divine Space Around You
Away from the trading floor and busy chatter of the modern office place, we open our senses to new experiences – as we stare into the snow when the chairlift takes us up the mountain, when we look around us and admire the pure physical beauty of the snow-covered mountains, when we take off on our run and hear the grating of the edges of our skis in the snow as we make each turn, we create a new space for ourselves – a space that we own for whatever we wish to use it for.
That space may simply be getting away from the office, for others it may be working through an issue. For those really in the zone, it provides an opportunity to spawn a whole new level of creativity. Whatever it maybe, it is a precious space, similar to the sukha of our yoga practice.
Time out on the slope is a special time in the calendar year. For me, it defines it. I am fortunate in that I have found divinity out there – divinity is available to all of us though. You just need to look deeper within. Lucky for me, my skis have guided me to this special place.
‘When we ski, we are free,
When we are free, we are being,
When we are being, we are living‘