My plan was this: wake up at 6:30am to finish packing, cruise into the city and teach 3 consecutive private sessions, have the family pick me up on York Ave on our way to the cozy cabin we rented for our first family ski weekend. What actually happened was this: I woke up at 6:30am and spent the next six hours alternately embracing the toilet and lying on the cold tile floor. The rest of the day I stared at the tacky chandelier over my bed left by the last owners, learning to love it.
The next morning I was well enough to travel so we entered the address of the cabin into the GPS and headed out. When we arrived in Schenectady, I thought, “That’s funny, I could have sworn it was closer to Cooperstown.” I was right. We had driven an hour in the wrong direction. Eventually we found it. All was not lost. I was feeling better and we still had the whole day Saturday to ski. However, when we woke up Saturday morning whatever had ravaged my belly was now having its way with Nick. When he finally remerged from the bathroom he lay on the sofa staring at the less tacky antler chandelier hanging from the cabin’s vaulted ceiling.
This was not going well at all. Once I realized skiing was not in the cards I paused, I could have a small tantrum or I could get creative. I chose the latter. When Griffin went down for his nap I pulled my old skis out of the bag they’ve been hiding in for the past five years, pushed my post-pregnancy feet into my pre-pregnancy boots and walked out the door.
The cabin was nestled halfway up a long, steep hill with very few houses. Fresh, powdery snow covered the road; not a tire track in sight. So my dog Rosie and I hiked up to the top of the hill. I clicked into my skis and looked nervously out on my own private ski run. Was this road too narrow? Would anyone find me if I went careening into the woods?
Once I started gliding down the hill my mind settled. I felt that old familiar high you get on a cold, quiet day as you make your own tracks through fresh snow, feeling the weight shift in your feet, finding the right speed and arc of each turn. I felt like an eagle soaring. There was no ski lift on this mountain so Rosie and I hiked up 3 more times, just for those few minutes of total freedom on the way back down.
This is how it often goes in life- we make plans. They don’t work out. We make new plans and they don’t work out. We trudge up the mountain with all the heavy weight of our ideas about how things are supposed to be on our shoulders, and then, if we are willing to let go, we experience a few moments of blissful freedom. This is the yogic practice of Abhyasa and Vairagya, effort and non-attachment. It is the work of Manipura Chakra- to turn our desires into action and let go of the results. When we are able to do this we almost always receive something so much more spectacular than we were expecting.
The next morning we packed up our stuff to head back to the city. Nick was feeling better so he suggested I go for a few more runs. This time he drove us to the top of the slope. I held Griffin in my arms while Rosie chased and herded us all the way down. “I’m skiing!” he shouted.
This morning he declared triumphantly, “Mommy, I skied!”
“Yes you did, Boo,” I confirmed.
“I want to do it again!”
“Oh you will. You definitely will.”