Holistic Health takes into account the whole picture of health for each unique person by supporting the mind, body and spirit. Eating the right foods; getting enough sleep, exercise and relaxation; and living a life with positive relationships and connections are all aspects that are emphasized, fostered and balanced with this approach to health. I have always had a really hard time with the mind piece of the equation and still do, as my mind tends to think of all that can go wrong, and how I can control those things, which can cause stress, instead of focusing on the present moment and all that is right. I am definitely more aware of this tendency than I used to be, but still struggle a bit, and this story about a recent ski trip is a perfect example of what I am talking about.
I learned how to snow ski when I was 21. I skied on and off for a few years and got proficient, but was always cautious and was never a black diamond kind of girl, and then as things go, I didn't go skiing for several years. Fast forward 15+ years and I have not skied at all. Now I have a daughter who learned how to ski last year and who loves it, as well as a husband who has rediscovered his passion for snowboarding. I didn't even consider trying to ski again last year when the rest of my family was out on the slopes. I have osteoporosis and didn't want to fall and risk braking an already fragile bone. I also have Multiple Sclerosis and have lost some of my fine and gross motor skills and experience severe fatigue at times, so I thought surely my skiing days are behind me and would just be too much for me now.
Earlier this month, we were going up to the mountains again and whereas last year, I stayed in the lodge working on my schoolwork, this year, I did not have that excuse nor distraction. I thought about the possibility of trying to ski this time, as my daughter is only getting better, so why not try to ski with her this year while she is still somewhat in beginner mode? Was it really my bones, or my MS that were stopping me? I am still very mobile and capable and am only 45, but I really had told myself I couldn't do things like that anymore. It felt safer to put up barriers that seemed protective and real. After some serious reflection, I almost felt like somebody turned on the light for me, as I realized that it was not my physical condition that was holding me back, but my mind and ultimately FEAR. Something that I have dealt with most of my life, and that can be debilitating at times, and nagging at other times ~ fear. It is usually based on situations when I could be vulnerable and not in control, so thoughts like would I embarrass myself in front of others, would I be good at whatever I set out to do, and would I fail have actually stopped me from doing things in the past. In this situation, it wasn't really about failing or being embarrassed, but it was that sneaky fear of being vulnerable and not being in control, and although I do have some physical challenges now, and have to be more mindful of my boundaries, I had let my diagnoses, and resulting self imposed barriers, get in the way of living the life I want to live. So, I decided to live in the moment, go for it, and get back on those skis and give it a try.
It was not easy. My legs don't work like they used to and it was hard maneuvering down the mountain, but I kept at it and it did get a little easier. It was not pretty. I was doing a lot of snow plowing, but I was doing it. I was scared at times when I felt like I was going too fast and losing control. I was able to talk myself through these times, which helped me to relax and ultimately regain control. At the end of the day, I skied with my daughter; I skied with my husband; I skied by myself. I had fun, and I felt my heart sing, my mind open, and my body actually felt strong. I wanted to yell from the mountain top, "I did it! I did it! I did it!"
Life offers so many opportunities for growth and learning, and sometimes I am more open to those opportunities than others, and thankfully, this was one of the times I was open... And you know what? I can't wait to go again and I am also re-assessing all of the other things I had placed on the "I can't do anymore list"!