Spiritual Lessons on the Slopes


Let me start out with a little gratitude. First, I just got off the phone with a man from back home in Alabama. Yes, Alabama is still “home” and probably always will be even though Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Salt Lake City all feel like home to me as well. Mostly, at least for now, I am a New Yorker— and I am absolutely thrilled to be headed back there in nine days. So back to the phone call. I hadn’t heard this man’s voice since we were both boys. A while back we connected on Facebook and I had noticed that he’s been reading my blog. He sent a nice invitation to share a meal during the week I’ll be back in Alabama before heading home to New York. I called to accept and we had a brief discussion. He mentioned that he had been reading the blog and I mentioned that I knew that. I thanked him for the occasional encouraging comment. Then he said some things about my writing that actually brought tears. He said, among other things, that my writing had helped him and that he felt like it probably helped a lot of people. Let me tell you something— there are few things that anyone can say to me that make me feel better or more hopeful than this, that my writing helps people. I write to save my own life. But I also write in hopes that others will be helped, even if they are learning from my mistakes. So I’m grateful for this man, for his reaching out, for his generous heart, for his support, and for the things that he said that gave me a huge boost and a renewed resolve to keep marching forward.

Tomorrow is my last day in Utah. I’ll fly back to Alabama on the redeye tomorrow night after a day of skiing and a last evening with my Utah family. I’ll then have one week before heading back to New York. I’m walking through a lot of fear and really trying to focus on my recovery, perhaps like never before. This underearning stuff is no shit.

The next on the list of “Symptoms of Underearning” that my friend sent is:

Physical Ailments. Sometimes, out of fear of being larger or exposed, we experience physical ailments.

Not sure I really follow them on this one. I mean I have experienced physical ailments that have help me back I guess. Did I “create them” out of fear of being “larger or exposed?” That’s some serious “Law of Attraction” shit right there. Or do they mean Conversion Disorder (the mind making up physical ailments out of some sort of neuroses)? I do know that at times I had rather be sick or have some kind of injury than take some of the actions needed toward fulfilling my goals– embarrassing to admit but true.  I guess there’s my answer right there. I’m just going to breath deep and say that perhaps I have this one too. I’m focusing on keeping it simple right now and following the instructions and guidance from those who are like me and who have gone on to recover from this phenomenon known as underearning. I’ll share what some of those tools with you when I finish going through this list of symptoms.

By the way, I don’t want to imply any membership in any particular group(s) with this discussion of underearning. If you feel like you might qualify, there are many resources that are easily searchable online.

Today, I only skied for about an hour. I was pretty nervous at first (I’ve only skied about six times in my life) but I decided just to park my ass on the lift and once I got to the top there was only one way to get down the hill. That’s such a metaphor. Take that first action in faith and the next will usually work itself out, huh? I checked my ego, didn’t care if I looked like a beginner, didn’t try to go to fast, used the natural laws (gravity and inertia in particular) to help me navigate down the hill— it’s so much easier to work with these laws than to try to fight them. So many metaphors, so many spiritual life lessons. The reason I only skied for an hour is that I realized that my boots were too tight and I was fucking up my ankles. They were pressing too hard on my medial malleolus (the ankle bone that sticks out on the inside of the leg) and it only got worse the more I turned and the longer I skied. I could tell the skin was beginning to break. In the past I would have just sucked it up and kept going until I’d made hamburger meat out of my ankles. Then I wouldn’t have been able to ski at all tomorrow. Again, another life lesson. If I’m using a tool that is not working, or perhaps even harming me, I need to stop and correct the problem— or perhaps more appropriately, I often need to ask someone else to help me correct the problem. I got of the hill and went back to the shop in SLC where I rented the gear and asked them to fit me with some boots that wouldn’t chew up my feet. They were much more knowledgable than I and were all-too-happy to help. Metaphor, metaphor, metaphor. I got some boots that fit me better and now I can ski tomorrow. Add this experience to the list of things I’m grateful for tonight. I was glad to sacrifice having gone farther today to be able to go even farther tomorrow. I hope all this makes sense and perhaps can prove useful to you too. I appreciate very much your reading my blog and I thank you for your prayers.

See y’all tomorrow.

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