One Fall morning a few years back, when my younger son was only 3, he rolled down his window as we drove over the Banfield overpass and shouted at the still mostly dry cap of Mt. Hood: “Hey ski mountain, better get some snow, cause I wanna ski on ya!”
We are, as you probably guessed, a skiing/snowboarding family. That little guy was on skis as a toddler and we have to drag him off the mountain at the end of the day. Our legs are wobbly and exhausted and he is still ready to rumble. Skiing is a way that we meet our needs for adventure, communing with nature and good old fun.
When I was learning to ski as a teenager, I remember my instructor saying something that has always stuck with me: “Look ahead where you want to go. Your skis will follow your gaze. Look at a tree and you will end up crashing into it.” When I find myself getting too narrowly focused, looking down at my skis or on the sidelines for danger, I inevitably crash. But, when I am able to hold a more spacious viewpoint and stay focused on the trail ahead, I am in the flow.
Life is a little like that, don’t you think? When we get too caught up in the dangers that lurk on the outskirts or too worried about our own momentary problem, we lose the bigger picture of where we are going. In my life coaching work with clients, one of my jobs is to help them look ahead to see where they are headed. Like the Chinese proverb that says, “If you aren’t careful, you are going to end up where you are headed,” we all need to be reminded to take a wide, expansive perspective.