We never know what twists and turns life will throw at us.
Sometimes we see a turn coming. Other times we are taken by surprise. Either way, the degree to which we prepare ourselves will have a great deal of influence on our experience and the eventual outcome.
When I was younger I was an amateur ski racer. Like most young boys, I liked to go fast, so I was naturally attracted to the concept of racing.
I say “concept” because once I started racing, I discovered some interesting and demanding realities.
The hill naturally creates the conditions for speed, which the racer has to negotiate with the use of angle, pressure and position. One of the keys to ski racing is setting up your turn. This means you have to begin your turn at the right time so you can take the correct approach as you go around the gate.
If you misjudge your angle, it will either slow you down too much and make you uncompetitive, or get you going too fast and cause you to lose control.
In addition to being well-practiced and in outstanding condition, the best skiers study the race courses in advance when possible, in order to be thoroughly prepared and increase their chances for success.
Every moment of each day we are racing down our own mountain, and we have the choice of how prepared we are going to be. We can either make the effort to perform well and get the most out of our experiences in life, or we can be complacent and resigned to just meander through.
For those who choose to engage with life more consciously in order to realize more of their potential, there are many tools to help. Arguably, two of the most universally beneficial are the practices of meditation and mindfulness.
These practices are designed to increase our awareness of what is going on inside of us and around us. They give us a greater ability to see our role in the circumstances of life so we can successfully navigate our way down our mountain with grace and integrity.
Next time your life takes an unexpected turn, try this:
Make time right now to connect with yourself.
Breathe deeply and relax for a short time.
Examine your thoughts and feelings from this relaxed state. Don’t judge them, just observe for a little while. Then, allow yourself to detach from them.
Slow down, become quiet, and breathe.
Feel yourself letting go of any mental, emotional, or physical tension you may have been holding on to.
Invite the possibility for something new to emerge. Be open-minded.
Continue to breathe consciously, stay relaxed and see what comes.
Make a note of any insights you experience. Let this awareness settle into you.
Finally, give thanks for this opportunity and set the intention to take this more relaxed, focused state of being you’ve created and apply it to all your experiences today and beyond.
You’ll be glad you did.
Author: John Shoemaker
Image: Elephant Journal Instagram
Editor: Sara Kärpänen