Cross country skiing, like cycling, simply makes me happy.
As part of Project Winter Love, I have strapped the slippery sticks firmly back onto my feet and found myself sliding through the Edmonton River Valley on a consistent basis. It has been a few years since I have been skiing and I couldn’t be happier to be falling over on a consistent basis.
The moment I clip into the skis, a smile spreads across my face. Apparently there is something about sports where I get to attach things to my feet, whatever the case I love the mix of hard work, nature, community and solitude that come with both sports.
Have I mentioned that I am rather hilarious at cross country skiing?
Despite my loving every second of it, I have yet to realize my full potential. When the 78-year-old women pass me, I simply wave and smile and remind myself that form is everything and I still have yet to develop good form.
This morning I attended a cross country ski lesson in an effort to help me ski faster than 4.8 kmph and not die after an hour of skiing. After 4.8 kilometers, I am nearly dead, carbs are required immediately and I could give a camel a run for its money with the amount of water I consume.
While learning how to give the cross country skiing grandmas a run for their money and dusting snow off my arse, I was reminded of six good life practices.
#1 Get up, don’t give up.
Have you ever found yourself knocked down, looking at the sky wondering what happened to you? This is not the moment to take your skis off, it is the moment to get up and try again. You failed. So what? Keep going and leave the hill when you have accomplished something. Becoming proficient or successful at something requires going through a whole lot of ineptitude and failure.
#2 Don’t confuse hard with hate.
I love skiing and when I am around the other skiers on the tracks, I consider everyone a friend and am happy to talk to anyone and everyone because we have a shared passion. And it is hard. Some of the best and most enjoyable things in life require hard work — a great job, building a business, creating lasting and meaningful relationships — just to name a few. Don’t complain about it being hard, simply enjoy the work and the people who are working alongside you and celebrate the power and strength you build over time.
#3 Look forward, not around.
Always look where you want to go because where you look is where you go. Keep your head up and point yourself in the direction you want to go, not where the other skiers are sliding around. As soon as you start comparing yourself to others, get distracted by other paths and worry about the exact angle of your skis, you’re most likely going to fall over. Be you, do your thing and go where you’re supposed to go – the more you focus on your progress and form, the better you’ll become and the quicker you’ll get to where you want to go.
#4 Loppet it or lose it.
Beyond the sport itself, I love that they have a fun name for a day of racing in the snow. What woman doesn’t want to loppet? Exactly; especially when there are cookies and hot cocoa to consume along the way as you loppet. You have to use what you learn – practice, become proficient at all the techniques and small things that make a huge different. Integrate what you learn into your life so you don’t have to keep starting over. And if you get offered a cookie for making a lap, savor it and don’t consider the calories.
#5 Practice falling over.
Sometimes you need to abruptly stop and the best way to do that is to fall over. Become proficient at failing in life. Learn how to fail quickly, without breaking anything and then get right back up. The best skiers are quick to fall over when they need to and know how to get right back up and keep moving.
#6 Do what makes you happy.
Life is so much better when you’re happy – and the best thing you can offer to the world is a happy, healthy you. Let yourself enjoy, laugh, tease the other skiers, and go on adventures in life. Some days the last thing I want to do is suit up, but as soon as I am out on the snow, I can’t stop smiling. Filling yourself up with happiness until you’re overflowing only brings joy, love and kindness to your work, family and friends – learn the discipline of doing what makes your heart happy because we all live from our hearts.
Sport doesn’t just keep my body healthy and strong, it teaches me about life, shows me who I am, reminds me what I am capable of and builds the discipline of continuing to grow and challenge myself. It has taught me to do things afraid, failure isn’t fatal and to keep learning, trying and growing as I go about my life and goals.