Today I was reminded of a skiing adventure I had back in the early 90’s…
Imagine this… you have never been skiing before, but you’ve just spent a couple of hours out learning some new skills. You have mastered the art of snow ploughing, and the ‘pizza’ stop, and you now stand at the top of the home trail, feet pointing inward and poles ready. You push off. You are skiing down at a nice comfortable pace ‘feeling’ like you are in control. Your focus is on your ski position, adrenaline pumping with excitement “I’m skiing – what a buzz!”
You remember your instructor’s advice “Keep your eyes on your ski stance to stay focused on where you are at and just a few metres in front of you. Don’t worry about what’s further ahead of you than that.”
But after travelling a distance you take a moment to look up and what do you see? A pine fence ahead and the trail bends sharply to the left. You think “How am I going to take that bend? I’m not! I’m heading straight for the fence.”
Now imagine you’re a melancholy, you see the problem, you analyse it, and now you need to find the best possible solution. One problem: there’s no time for gathering information to figure out the best possible solution! This is now a crisis situation, in taking your focus off your skis, you’ve lost your stance, your skis now parallel have picked up incredible speed, and your legs are like iron that can’t be moved. So what else can you do but in a moment of panic yell “HELP!! SOMEBODY STOP MEEEEE!” in what seems like a slow motion voice filled with fear and anticipation as that pine fence looms closer and closer by the second. But nobody did stop you …
So you had to implement Plan B… to fall. Which you do! Well it was more like a ‘drop’… but not safely off to the side like you were taught, but with both feet parallel your feet come together, your knees go out side ways, your ankles buckle under you as the underside of your skis come together and you fall landing on your back with your spine and your skis in line with one another like some sort of magnetic attraction to each other.
Unable to move, you lay there, in the snow, thinking of all the things you’ll never be able to do again.
Several minutes later, feeling returns to your body, along with the pain, but you are up and walking down the remainder of the trail, carrying your skis as everyone skis right on by.
When you ski like me, at times life can feel like a ski adventure.
You think you’ve acquired enough skills to do something, so you step out and give it a go. You’re enjoying yourself… but along the journey, you take a moment to look up at what’s ahead (or maybe you didn’t look up to see) and ‘SURPRISE SURPRISE’ disaster is approaching fast.
In that realisation, you panic, now it’s approaching even faster, you cry out for help (or maybe you didn’t), but nobody responds, and so there’s nothing else to do but fall here and now. Because if you don’t fall now, the fall ahead is going to be far worse.
We don’t always know how to fall properly and safely so as to minimise the injury. We just anticipate that hitting what’s ‘ahead’ will be far worse than ‘dropping’ to the ground now … and so we ‘drop’ now awkwardly and painfully, but thankful to have avoided the anticipated injuries of what lay ahead.
Eventually feeling returns to your body, and while you might not ‘ski’ again till next season (if at all), at least you took the safer option of incurring the lesser injuries. The road to recovery is already much simpler.
Be encouraged on your journey, if you see disaster ahead … to act sooner rather than later, in the best possible way you know how.
Even if you get it wrong, you will still have got it right. Confronting a situation (real or perceived) sooner rather than later is always better for the outcome.