Sunday, April 11, 2010
What drives us?
Who do you admire? Do you admire the people that history tells us to admire? The doers, the thinkers, the accomplishers? The dedicated, the hard working...
I think a lot about what drives us, what drives me, why do I care, why do I want to keep working so hard to be better and better at what I do... what is the point? Am I missing the point?
I mean, to be an Olympic level athlete, you have to have a certain amount of OCD. Is success in career just a pathology? Or is it the ability to balance and commit and know that it will get easier, and building relationships that support the journey is how you teach your kids that they are loved?
I'm happy to see my kids blossoming, opening, becoming. I'm happy to see that about myself, about Mike, about his kids. I'm grateful that all those kids see their parents working hard, staying true, doing what they love, not "Drinking the Kool-Aid" and creating the job that makes them feel fulfilled.
I think a lot about the family that Mike and I made last summer, about how it really was the ultimate. For me, for Mike, for all of our kids, even for my mom. Together, we made some sort of significance, we created a raft that floated all of us, without being to the detriment of any one of us.
I look at this, at Mike's 13 year old saying to me, “How long until your tryout? Three years? Okay, you can live in Aspen for three years, I guess.” I think to myself, again, at what cost?
Mike is in the same situation, his job is important to him. His career is taking off as well, he is being thrust into opportunity in much the same way that I am, he is seizing that opportunity, not only of making more money, but of making more money doing the thing that he loves.
He is making a difference, he is outside, he is getting paid to travel the world. We have the same goals, and it seems like at some point, they might actually align, Mike an international medic who can focus on expedition medicine, and me an international ski teacher who is putting together groups to go exploring all around the world with the people who know that area best.
In the mean time, we have five kids who thrive on our contact, who grow exponentially when they are with us, who grow even more when we are all together in a tribe.
So what is the balance? I don't want to step off my path, and Mike never asked me to, to the contrary, he loves my goal, likes that I'm driven and wants to see me succeed. I don't want to pull Mike off his path, his commitment to his kids is one of the reasons that I love him.
And so we decide. He's in Whitefish. I'm in Aspen. We are both pursuing, with some success, careers that are helping us feel like we contribute in some meaningful way to the world, that allow us to take care of our kids with more ease, that give us the opportunity to be outside and to travel.
But that nest we know we can make when we are together, is it at the cost of that.
So this leads me around and around in a spiral. I often land back at the question that Tom asked me: Why can't you just be happy being a ski instructor at Bridger Bowl? Why isn't that enough for you?
I don't know that I have an answer to why I'm driven to improve. I know that I love getting better at skiing, just for me. It makes me feel like I'm alive. I stay committed to the fact that I can improve in every run, understand more and play more and be in the mountains more confidently, with less fear and more confidence.
When I continue to improve my own skiing, I realize how important it is to my own sense of well being, my own understanding of my limitless capabilities as a human, and social restrictions in regards to age, gender, the fact that I'm a mother, ideas that I'm not “a skier” because I haven't done it my whole life fall away. And I want to share this with other people, so that they don't swallow the lie, so that they can take their experience, whatever it is, back to their regular lives and feel unlocked a little, feel some of those restrictions and social impositions for the falsehoods that they are.
Coming here to Aspen has landed me amongst people who want to help me improve my own skiing, my ability to communicate my love and desire to live openly and vibrantly to others, and who believe that there is space for everyone at the top.
Because of that, I feel even more unlimited, because I'm not swimming upstream. I'm in a river with a bunch of other fish who all swim differently, who respect that we all do it in our own way, that everyone brings something, and there is this great sense of overall movement towards something better.
Whether that ends me up on the Demo team or not is another question. I feel like it would be the best avenue for me to connect with as many people as I can, spreading the idea that you are never to old to remember how to play, and that skiing is a fun place to start, reconnecting to yourself, to your family, to your love of life.
I feel for the first time like there's a possibility that my feet will get there. I have a long long way to go, and a lot of skiing, reading, training, talking, thinking and playing to do.
When I think like this, I know that this is my path, and I know that I couldn't step off of it, I'd end up wherever I went trying to fight for the same goal with even more obstructions in the way. I don't seem to be able to let go of loving this path, of feeling so right walking down it, regardless of its terminus.
So the question of why? Why isn't being an instructor at our local ski hill enough for me? I can't answer. I don't know why. I know that I loved that place, that I miss it, I miss Montana, and Bridger, and the friends I left behind, and the love I left in Whitefish.
But I know that to get where I'm going, I have to leave things behind. That's the nature of moving forward. Why do I want, why do any of us want to move forward and become who we can be, follow our paths with curiosity and end up where we never dreamed possible?
Why would I want that at the expense of long summers in the canoe with my love and his kids? Does it have to be at that expense? I can't answer those questions. I'm not even going to try to. I think looking for and at that answer may be part of the point of me being on this journey.
I think that trying to know how the story ends is part of how we mess it up. I think we have to follow what reverberates that feeling of purpose and wholeness in our selves, and keep checking in to know that our sense of wholeness honors all the aspects of life, our love, our family, our impact on planet and people.
How the story ends, and even what's in the next chapter, well, that's the point of being on the journey, isn't it?
Could it be enough to be a family together in June and August, and just let the rest float and land where it does? Can we all become who we are meant to be, reaching our best ability to inspire others to take a risk to become who THEY can be?