Tuesday, August 31, 2010

To leave the atmosphere, you need some thrust.

Ray Lamontagne has a new song, called Beg, Steal or Borrow. I love this song. Its not a "new" song as far as the concept goes, we've heard for years about breaking free from the sameness, about leaving our small town, about following the dreams we had as kids.

When I listen to this song, I think about the fact that there is possibility. There is always possibility. Even when I don't have enough money to put gas in my car, even when we are eating Ramen and beans, there is still work I can do to move forward, I can love where I am for the lessons its teaching me... to need less, to have less pride, to find the incredible gifts in this moment, and still there is the possibility of future.

When I was trying to have the courage to leave my marriage, I remember thinking to myself that it felt like I was trying to escape the atmosphere, and feeling the intense and relentless pull of gravity on me every day.

I know now that its not just to leave a relationship that wasn't healthy for either of us, but that its about the entropy and inertia of life as it is, of pattern, of habit, of complacency. There is more out there than that which we have settled for.

And to push through, to see, wow, my life is good, but there is more work I can do. Work on myself, work on my faith in my future, my ability to keep learning and growing and becoming, and that, in turn, becomes a gift that I can give to my kids, to my partner, to my friends...

My point is that to break away from what is easy and every day, to wake up and see that there is more takes that moment of epiphany, and then it takes sustained intention, consistent applied pressure, with patience and willingness to know the way out is long. Its this funny combination of being here now, while knowing that you can become more.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Last Day to Sign up for Interski!

This TUESDAY ends registration for Interski! I hope to see you all there, although I'm not signed up yet. Crossing my fingers that it all works out, but this only happens once every FOUR YEARS! And our American team hasn't participated in a loooong time. Get over there and see what the world is doing in your discipline!!

Professional Ski Instructors of America
American Association of Snowboard Instructors


It's your last chance to be a part of the world's largest snowsports education conference, INTERSKI!

Registration ends this Tuesday, August 31st.

$1,975 includes:

7 nights lodging at a centrally located 4-star hotel in St. Anton
Daily breakfast and dinner
6-day lift pass for all 84 cableways and lifts
Congress fee covering congress events, documents, badge, and report
A week of skiing, riding, partying with the international set and a little education thrown in for under $2,000 (prices are double occupancy, excluding airfare)!  Join PSIA-AASI in St. Anton, Austria January 15-22, 2011.

Visit http://www.ski-europe.com/gtrips/psia/index.html for more details and to register.

Click below to view:
Interski schedule and brochure.

Hope to see you there!

Your Friends at PSIA-AASI

Aaaand... We're back.

Irrigating my self inflicted stab wound.
Wow, that was unexpected. Sorry to have been away for about a month. Of course, the further away I got from writing, the more I was worried that the next thing I write had better be profound and worth the wait! Then, I got nervous that if I waited and waited and only wrote something profound, it would feel didactic. Sigh.

So here I am. Lets start with an update, and we'll go from there.

I am now the manager of the stables at the Maroon Bells Outfitters and Guides. This was, to say the least, unexpected. I'm grateful for the job, as my financial situation, as usual, is on the dire side. This job pays well, and is about 100 feet from my front door.

The crew and the owner of the business are an incredible, small, tight group of people who work hard from 7:30 am to 10pm several nights a week. Horse work of this kind is hard, physical labor, as the owner, Brian, says, in knee deep muck. We have about forty horses that we take out on some of the most scenic trail I've ever been on.

While the kids were here, I was fortunate that they were basically adopted by the entire crew, Justin playing drums with the kids, Sam threatening to throw them in the pond off the slack-line, Marley and Melissa bonding over brushing and grooming and riding bareback. Bodhi and Ethan were constantly underfoot, and were welcome down there, and for that, I am grateful. Not just for the fact that I can work there, but for the fact that the kids get to grow up around a bunch of hard working folks who know how to play as well.

By the end of their time here, Cyrus and Big Ethan were un-tacking horses and Cyrus was leading pony rides. We had ourselves some barn rats, and we were glad of it.

About five days ago, Michael and his kids went up to Whitefish, and this morning, early, Michael left for Africa for his 30 day stretch. Ethan and Bodhi are up in Bozeman with their dad, and my mom is on a month and a half long road trip. The house is empty. And messy. I can't bring myself to clean up the scattered shoes and life jackets, the flotsam of the kids. While I love having the house to myself and having absolute quiet for the first time since October, I miss them so very much. I can hear the echo of all five of them playing and wrestling and swimming together.

Camping with Mike and all five of our kids for six days 
As for training, I was doing moderately well, riding a horse and caring tack around keeps you in decent shape, although my anaerobic threshold training is in the dumps.

The day before yesterday, I stabbed myself in the leg with my knife while doctoring some horses, so that has definitely been a downer. Melissa has been irrigating this 2" stab would in my shin just as mercilessly as she does the horses, with Beta dine and hot water or saline. Its healing well, I hope to god we are done with flushing it because its unbearably painful for her to do.

We are rolling toward school, the kids will be back in a few days, (Mike's kids don't come till Christmas), the ground cover is changing color, its getting colder earlier. I've been getting calls and emails from my winter folks, its time to hang up the big calendar and get booked.

Since Summer training fell through in Portillo, Whistler and Hood this season, I'm curious where I will be coming into this winter season. I have a lot of work to do. I applied to be a Diamond Pro last season, and was declined, I was given some coaching points to work on, which were hard to hear, (but those are always the best lessons), and I'm being re-evaluated in January. Hopefully the internal work of the summer will have been in the right direction.

I'm excited this winter to work with a bunch of folks who are going for their cert 2, we are going to spend some time playing together this winter, which should be a lot of fun.

So here comes a big winter. Whether I want to focus on them or not, there are some milestones that exist this winter: Trainer's Accred and Passport, Diamond Pro coaching points to work on, Interski, Academy, and Regional Team Tryouts are all this year.

Thanks for reading and for taking this journey with me!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

You really can never see it comming.

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about unpacking life and love and loss, here. The jist was the fact that I had, once again, come to a place where I had to let go of expectation and desire, and let my life, just as it was, be enough for me.

I had to let go of wishing that I had a partner, a dad for my kids, a playmate for me, someone to laugh with and train with, someone to share space with. I had to stop looking at the space that I was living in as space that would someday be complete when it included someone else. My home had been reminding me of a home built in anticipation of one day having kids, with all hope pinned on the future.

Letting go of that want, of that wish, was hard. I scrambled around looking to see if I might fill that space, if I might meet someone who could spark my heart, and what I realized was that, once again, I needed to be alone.

I spent a few days breathing, actively finding those threads of desire and longing and letting them go like balloons one at a time. At first i t was scary, it almost felt like giving up. And then, over time, it became exhilarating. To let go of this need or that, this want or wish or that, and just be.

And then, in the middle of this process, Michael showed up again. Now, he has this habit. He haunts me rather cruelly with his music, I hear it everywhere, this obscure bluegrass that was never in my world before he played it to me on his guitar, and suddenly, I'm at a party, and someone is singing one of his songs under their breath, or its playing on someone's iPod in the coffee shop.

Letting go of Michael was hard. Our story is tough, and I didn't write about all of it, because I wasn't really sure how much sharing what was going on with us was helping or hurting.

We broke up five times in ten months. This great love, this huge, encompassing happiness, had the propensity to bleed out and kill itself tragically due to fear. Fear from both of us. And the last time it happened, it felt like a chasm in my heart, it flattened me completely, and I knew it was the end. And that it was probably a good thing that it was the end.

And Michael went to Africa, and I got on with my life, waking up in the middle of the night with his name on my tongue, finding him, or the ghost of his love, standing in cold water, grinning at me from the slackline, I found him in the music I heard and in the giddy glee of my kids, who would climb all over everyone they could find, searching for Michael's playful, willing strength.

While he was there, working as a paramedic for two months in Equitorial Guinnea, Michael underwent one of those incredible, deep, life changing epiphanies.

A month and a half ago, he called me to tell me about it. And I listened. I was skeptical... wishing that things were a certain way and being able to actually make change that carries over into your life are two very different things. I was guarding my heart carefully. I was looking to find a way to keep myself from wanting to believe him. I was so afraid of falling in love with him again.

I realized at some point during our conversations that there have been times in my life when I have needed grace. And not just a little, but a lot. All the grace that a person could give. And lots of times, I need it over, and over, and over again. Not just a second chance, but a twenty fifth chance. And I thought about how frustrated I get when people won't believe me that I have done the hard work, that I'm still working, that there is more work to come, but that I am dedicated to becoming a better person.

I remember that I made a lot of tough, bad decisions when I was 13, or 16, and that, years later, I still wasn't trusted, even though I had grown. Michael flew to Denver from Africa, and I met him there.

He had, truly, gone through a difficult, soul exposing experience, and had come out with his hands and heart open. He showed up in my life again, asking for nothing, and saying thank you. He said this through all the brick walls and barbed wire that I could put up against him.

Its been over a month now, since we saw each other. Michael came down with his three kids about nine days ago, to visit, and see what kind of life we might have.

Turns out, we needed those breaks, we needed those challenges, we were right where we needed to be to learn the lesson that we needed to learn. I wasn't done learning to let go and stand on my own, and Michael wasn't done learning the lessons he needed to learn.  We both needed to learn that we can put down all our fear and just flow at each other with out control, or ownership, just with an open conduit, and that can be the foundation for a life together.

We have both changed so much, and now, we are here, in Aspen, together. Michael is moving here. His kids have all been invited to come and live with us. I don't know what the future will hold, but I do know that when the seven of us are together, we are all healthier, happier, stronger, bolder, more creative, imaginative. He makes me a better parent, a better friend, I have more patience, I have more joy to share. He makes me better at my job, I have more compassion to put in my hands for my massage clients, and more patience with the horses.

He inspires me to swim in the cold water and to play with the kids all the time. We have five between us, from 6 to 13 years old, in a house with no television. There are four guitars and a drum, a couple of slack lines, a pond and a campfire. Its the most fun I've ever had in my life, and it feels like the beginning of the most amazing adventure.

When we started this journey a year ago, we threw a couple of obstacles at it right away. We didn't know each other at all, we didn't know each other's friends, we had no history to fall back on, no way to feel safe except for to trust our feelings. We hauled all our baggage from previous relationships and even though we tried so hard not to, we heaped that baggage on each other. When we were together, we could swim toward each other, sputtering under the load, and try to explain, to speak each other's language. But we were only together for six days at a stretch every other months or so. And the time apart made the little things seem like big things.

But there was something there that just wouldn't let go. Even when we were apart, even when we'd had it completely with each other, there was something in there that said, yes, but when it is good... it is like nothing I've ever felt, or my kids have ever felt before.

And then Michael went through this deep soul scrubbing while he was overseas, and I found out what it meant not to have his laughter in my life, and what it was to stand up again and keep walking anyway, and somehow, this time, we've been able to walk gently towards each other, and each of us open softly, and there seems to be no fear at all. In fact, we find ourselves wondering how we could have both been so afraid of something that was so good.

And so I'm home again, our nest is full here on the ponds. Bodhi calls it his peaceful place. And it is.