The Mountains have been my best teacher
It is in nature where I have come to know who I am. As well as, who I am becoming.
Undoubtedly, I had to learn to understand my weaknesses, before I killed myself making the same mistake over and over again. The mountains demand our presence & attention, they beckon us to learn from our mistakes. Natural consequences help guide us along the way.
Here I want to share with you some of the life lessons that I have learned in the mountains. They help me everyday, whether sitting at my desk, playing with my son, or guiding in the mountains.
I am lucky to be alive. Humbly, I admit that I have made many mistakes in the mountains. Fortunately, I learned a few things along the way in time to not fully wreck myself.
One of the biggest ones was believing in me. The mountains gave me the opportunity to see the importance of this over and over again. Certainly, my adventures in the mountains have been about learning to trust myself, listen to my intuition, to be present, to cultivate patience, to have fun, to laugh, and let life be easy.
Admittedly, I got tired of getting the sledge hammer so I started to LISTEN. I began to ask myself questions like, what was going through my mind in critical moments of injury or mistakes? What thought or belief might I need to change? Then I began to understand my own weaknesses as well as my power. Eventually, I became a powerful healer of my mind and body. This article is to share my top 6 mindfulness tips with you!
You have a deep inner power within you waiting to unfold!
Top 6 Mindfulness Tips to get Started
1) Let go of the Ego
Seeking approval from others nearly killed me. I let my EGO run the show, and this got me in trouble. However, it is not all the EGO’s fault. The ego helps us define who we are. It also seeks to protect us. Just like your anger, fear, worry, and doubt. So, what is the problem then? When the thought/belief no longer serves us, then it is time to move on.
Multiple times in my life, I have had close calls or bad injuries because I was trying to show off or impress others. Once, I didn’t speak up once because I was afraid, and it nearly cost me my life in an avalanche.
What does it cost you in everyday life when you try to impress others, worry about what others think, don’t speak up, or don’t ask for help?
We can suffer when we seek approval from others instead of finding it inside ourselves. Because we can never be good enough for another person. When we seek it outside of ourselves, we can never get there. Therefore, decide today to believe in you. Undoubtedly, seeking approval has helped us survive as humans. We had to fit into the tribe. Yet, it can hold you back too.
Awareness is key. Get to know your Ego, how it helps you, and how it gets you in trouble. Once you can see it and understand it, then you can use it to serve you.
Practice noticing thoughts that no longer serve you. Understand where they come from and how they help you. Then choose to think the highest thought you can come up with in the moment. Choose the best feeling.
2) Trust Your Intuition
A flickering of an important idea crosses my mind. However, I hesitate and my mind comes up with reasons not to do it. Then I carry on, as the ideas fades out of sight.
Like the time I went to rescue my husband out of a crevasse. The last words I heard him yell, were, “Winslow, help!” And then there was silence, no response. I had an inclination to build an anchor, but in a rush, I decided it would take too long. Unfortunately, I ended up in the crevasse with him, and we are lucky to be alive today. If I had listened, I may be telling a different story.
So if I can give you one gift it is this: Listen to your Inner Voice. Be still, slow things down, breathe, clear your mind, and listen. Undoubtedly, let the magic of your intuition be heard. It is speaking to you all the time. Listen! Ask it, what it has to say.
3) If you are going the wrong way, STOP
At the top of the slope the heat beamed down. The snow felt heavy. I could see the boat waiting in the fjord. I was too embarrassed to admit we were too late. We should have turned around and gone all the way back another way. But, I thought perhaps we could get down ok. Afterall, I didn’t want to be wrong. I poked out to do a ski cut and the whole slope went big, avalanching nearly down to the sea. It was a close call.
Note to self: If you are on the wrong path, if it doesn’t feel right, STOP, and go another way.
“When it comes to a hard truth or a small lie, most commonly, the human brain will choose the small lie.”paraphrased from Macia Reynolds
- It’s ok to make a mistake
- Don’t force anything
- It is better to be wrong and turn around than to plow ahead to a bigger disaster
- Courage helps you choose the hard truth
- Your Intuition is trying to help you
- Be Humble
- Be Vulnerable
- Be Brave
4) Have Fun
I was taking life way too seriously. I would forget to have fun. For example, when I was crying on the side of the slope, thinking I wasn’t good enough because I wanted to be a better tele skier. Surely, this sounds silly. But yes, I did that multiple times. I cried with frustration and anger. I lamented that I was not as good as my husband. I chastised myself for not being better.
Then, my husband suggested that I just try to have fun. It took my awhile to embrace the idea, and then more time to practice implementing it. Finally, I shifted. When I intently guided my focus to having fun, then, I was able to have fun. I laughed at my imperfection, I smiled, I breathed deeply, I looked around at the beauty of the mountains. Excitingly, I began to enjoy the process!
Now, I help guide my 7 year old, who often gets mad when he can’t master something right away. I can understand his anger, and I try to help him have fun, be kind to himself, and relax.
If you are forgetting to have fun in life, try this:
- Stop and smell the roses
- Set your intention to have fun
- Laugh at your imperfection and life’s imperfection
- Take imperfect action
- See the beauty around you
- Enjoy a sweet deep breathe
5) Let It Be Easy
Sometimes I find that I am trying too hard. Like the other day, I was skiing down some variable snow with my hands gripped tight trying to control things too much. I said to myself, “Let it Be Easy!”. After that, I relaxed and found myself floating effortlessly down the mountain.
It happens all the time with clients, where the stress they are feeling, due to their thoughts, is causing them to be tense. This waste a lot of energy, lowers the immune system, and decreases our creative thinking. I encourage them to relax, breathe deeply, and have fun.
What are you struggling with? Are you forcing something? Trying too hard?
You could try this: LET IT BE EASY! It is a conscious mindset you will have to remind yourself of over and over again.
You got this. I believe you are creative, resourceful, and whole. I see your power waiting to unfold.
6. Speak up
It took me a while to believe that my voice was important.
In everyday life, not speaking up, may not be a life or death decision. However, the day I thought there was an avalanche risk, and I didn’t say anything because I was with two way more experienced people than me, was the closest call to being caught in an avalanche I have ever had. It nearly cost me my life.
What does it cost YOU? Perhaps your peace, your space, or your needs not being met?
You are important. I want to encourage you to speak up! Ask for what you need (from a place of love), as many times as you need to. Be patient and persistent as it takes time for change. Trust your voice.
Likewise, make time and space for you and what you love! Let PLAY be a part of your day.
I love your VOICE!
7. Look at the openings, not the obstacles
The mind thinks: “Oh no, don’t hit the tree, don’t hit the tree.”
The eyes: Focus on the tree
The body: Heads toward the tree
Would you like to know the secret to skiing in the trees? Focus on the spaces in between the trees, not the trees. Look at where you want to go, not where you don’t want to go.
I have found this is so relevant to my life. When I find myself focusing on what I don’t want then I try to quickly catch the mind, and shift my focus back to what I do want. It works!
For example, once I had a realization while stretching that my back pain was caused from not engaging my left big toe. My first thought was, “Oh great, this is going to be hard to fix, I have been doing this for over a decade.” However, I did not want to live into that story, so I caught it immediately and said this instead, “I can shift this quickly and easily.”
The next day, I was guiding Mt Olympus and I focused on the engagement every step of the way. I kept my focus, and within a month, my back pain was gone.
What you say in the mind, the body will follow.