What goes up must come down, right?
Call it the law of gravity. Up is pretty much the exact opposite of Down, can’t get more black and white or yin-yang than that – it’s a scientific fact, a universal principle of physics, or is it?
In Yin-Yang terms, you could say that Up and Down are complimentary opposites – yet you don’t hear the saying reversed – ‘What comes down must go up’. But in the nature of change, that is the way. Nature is always on the move, waxing, waning, see-sawing. So when things really are down ‘The only way is up, baby’. Really.
The implication is that ‘going up’ is always better than ‘coming down’. That might be so if you’re chasing a drug-induced high. But I beg to differ. Case in point, skiing.
Enjoy the ride – don’t be afraid to fall
When we hit the ski slopes, it’s not the ascent in a gondola or chairlift that’s so exhilarating. It’s the descent – skiing back down the mountain, hopefully with enough skill so that you don’t totally succumb to the forces of gravity in a spectacular flailing, floundering, falling kind of fashion. I have been known to fall, and to get back up again. That’s life.
And there’s something liberating about surrendering, letting yourself be taken downhill, when so much in life feels like an uphill climb – always striving ever upwards (higher education, better job, higher pay), clambering, scrambling, overcoming challenges. Mountaineers will tell you that’s the whole point. Yet even the most ambitious mountaineer wants to make it safely back down the mountain, to actually enjoy the descent. To celebrate back home, sated, surrounded by family and friends.
I’m a fairly basic intermediate skier, who has been known to resemble an awkward stick insect, all ungainly arms and legs at times. Yet I love skiing, and sometimes I’m not too bad.
The lessons I learned from skiing (as opposed to the lessons I need in skiing) are simple:
1) Enjoy the view – on the way up in the chairlift when there is time to appreciate it, but also on the way down as the wind rushes through your ears and even as others rush past you. Such show-offs are probably going far too fast to savour the view. Remember you are going with the force of nature. Feel FREE.
2) Admire the view from the bottom – it’s just different from the view from the top. Looking up at something can be inspiring.
3) Admire the view from the top – it’s just different from the view from the bottom. Looking down on something can be awe-inspiring.
4) Surrender sometimes – let gravity do the work for you, let the universe work through you – all you need is a little courage (a little skill definitely won’t hurt).
5) Be prepared to fall – don’t play it too safe, the fun is in the surrender and (sometimes) even in the flailing, the falling, the failing. The best laughs are there too!
6) Try not to fall too hard – don’t try to conquer the mountain instead of surrendering to it or you may just fall hard (and it doesn’t matter how much skill you have, it definitely will hurt).
One final word – the only better feeling in the world than finally taking your ski boots off at the end of the day is FREEDOM, preferably toasted with your favourite beverage. So Cheers!
I’d love to hear about when you feel most FREE. And how do you get through life’s ups and downs? Please comment below and share with your friends.