How often does lightness show up in your life? When was the last time you did something just for the sake of the adventure or the joy of it? When was the last time you did something not just to get better at it or to prove yourself good enough to someone in your life?
It’s funny. I’ve been a ski instructor for the last 7 years and worked very hard to improve my skiing so I can get my PSIA level 2 certification, to get the higher pay, higher level classes, and the respect and prestige associated with it. Sometimes I can let those goals go, but a lot of the time I over-analyze myself, critiquing my balance, my tipping, turning, fluidity, and confidence level in every single turn……
It almost makes me forget why I love skiing. When I started teaching, I was barely skiing parallel. I made it down some black diamond runs without falling, but it was incredibly slow. I laughed every time I went out. I laughed at myself, laughed at the snow falling on my head from the trees as I skied through them. I laughed so hard when I fell that sometimes I would just lay there, making snow angels until I could stop laughing and find my skis that were buried in the snow somewhere uphill.
Even when I got my level 2 last season, I was so burned out that it was an effort to put my boots on int he morning.
Today, I bought an innertube with the intention of exploring the irrigation ditch next to my house. My neighbor asked where I was headed off to, and I told her of my plan. She looked concerned. She asked “Isn’t that water poisonous?” The though had not occurred to me. I’ve waded in that ditch for 2 summers now, and my legs haven’t fallen off yet!!!
Sure, this irrigation ditch is for all of the agriculture to the east of the city and thus may have pesticides and fertilizer and who knows what else downstream… But I’m not planning on drinking the stuff! Not to mention that I don’t believe that there is much agriculture upstream of me.
The scientist in me wants to test the water to see what I can learn. My first reaction, though, is that nature is not anything to be afraid of. If I was too afraid to go outside at night because a mountain lion might eat me, I might miss the howling coyotes and hooting owls, and the cool night wind.
Google maps is possibly the best resource I’ve ever found for dreaming up expeditions near and far. My irrigation ditch is the drainage from Sixmile Reservoir just south of Boulder Res. It heads east past my neighborhood, then swings north to Niwot, then east again for a few miles before finally turning south in a cement lined ditch that leads back to Boulder Creek. It looks tubeable at least through Niwot and possibly beyond. It winds through suburbia until it passes out of town.
I started my exploration where 2 ditches meet, just downstream of the ditch that flows between Twin Lakes. I slipped my tube into the water, knowing some of what I’d pass, but there are parts that are too overgrown to see from the path. The flow was slow, and I had to wave away the cobweb and debris-covered branches that hung over my head. Only a few people passed me on the trail. The first man that passed did not notice me. The family that walked by a few minutes later smiled and waved.
When I was a child, I always wished that there was a stream behind my house. I loved my little patch of poison-ivy filled woods, where I played and swung on vines and built forts and ate berries. I loved it! But I always wished there was a stream to explore too.
I put my tube in the water for no other reason than to see what I could see. I didn’t find any secret hideouts, animals, or any other major surprises. That wasn’t the point though!
Play just for the sake of playing. Kids do it all the time (as long as their parents let them of course), but somehow we lose that desire as adults. That is, until we remember.
In the last year, I have encouraged every single coaching client I’ve had to find something to do just for the sake of doing it. Just for the sake of bringing lightness into their life, to balance out the heaviness of the stress in their lives. It’s amazing how their perspective changes, just with a night of dancing or a camping trip.
I am going to float the section through the golf course next. I wonder if that’s allowed? I suppose I’ll find out!!!