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Old Dog, New Tricks

A couple of weeks ago, my sweetheart and I went cross country skiing at one of our favorite ski areas here in central Vermont. Sleepy Hollow in Huntington Vermont is gorgeous, off the beaten path, and is also a great wedding venue in case you’re interested. There are lots of easy trails so it’s great for families, but you can also head pretty much straight up, which is what we do.

Trust me, I know how crazy it sounds, but when we strap on our skis and begin trudging uphill, my heart starts to sing. It positively feeds my soul when we find ourselves on a bluebird day, with white puffy clouds against a super blue sky, surrounded by trees all dressed in white. I love the muffled quiet in snow-covered woods. Heaven.

While I’ve been cross country skiing intermittently since I was 21 when my first serious boyfriend took me to the base of Mount Rainier for my very first outing on cross country skis. Every year when I get out on skis for the first time I think of Guy and send him a little gratitude missive straight from my heart.

Anyway, this time, for the first time, we decided to ‘enhance’ our time on the slopes with a little THC. Skiing will never be the same.

We imbibed our THC in the form of gummies, and they hit just as we ascended above treeline and could see Camels Hump - which btw is the very same mountain featured on the Vermont state quarter! Because this is Vermont, there is an outhouse with the very best view imaginable, as seen in this blog post photo. Whenever we go uphill for a long distance, I can get nervous about coming back down. It’s pretty standard for me to be careening downhill whilst loudly whispering to myself “You’re doing great, you can do this, It’s ok, It’s ok. You’re ok.” I think you can pick up the anxious vibe, right? Sometimes all this is followed sharply by “Oh crap!” as gravity takes me over and sends me to the ground.

Well friends, the voice in my head completely changed with those gummies. It sounded more like Queen Latifa in my head quietly saying “You can do this any way you want. You got this, babe. Any way you wanna do it.” I believed her and she was right.

Magically every single coaching tip ever offered to me by well-intentioned friends coalesced in my brain and I experienced a complete body mechanics reset. Seriously, a giant light bulb lit up in my head and I began skiing much differently, primarily I shifted my center of gravity much lower and I basically skied down in the athletic position, knees a little bent, butt way back like I’m about to sit down. AND, on the level parts where we could really glide, my glutes were fully engaged and my quads were burning. I was faster and I felt much more sure and confident as I moved around the mountain.

I felt in control as I came down, I never went faster than I wanted to and I pretty much just chilled my way down the mountain. That voice in my head made such a difference. With the calm steady voice, it was as though everything slowed down. Going down the mountain seemed like it was happening at Pam-speed. That’s what I’m going for in my life right now, for things to be going at Pam-speed and not one second faster.

I know this was an ‘enhanced’ day of recreation, and I truly am not recommending that we all get baked and see how life seems from that vantage point. Seriously, I’m not. But a new perspective was transformative that day.

More good news, I’ve been skiing since then, it’s all sticking. I now feel like an athlete! That’s new!

I guess I think that it’s worth noting that when my resistance was down, there was room for that new perspective. In my thoughts, I keep exploring that opening and noticing all the places where resistance lives in me. A good tell of when there is resistance is whenever I’m feeling like I know. Especially when I feel compelled to convince someone else of my rightness. There is no opportunity for a new perspective when I’m holding onto my opinions with all my might.

So, I’m offering up my experience of learning new tricks at 62 as encouragement for us old dogs! Woof!

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