I can write again!
For a while, my brain malfunctioned with my spirit, and died with my bleeding heart. The day I almost got buried on a ski slope in 2021. Well, maybe I’m exaggerating. It was my mind that got crushed. Further pulverized a year later after a friend’s son got killed on the same ski slope that nearly trapped me. Traumatized by the helicopter parent I’ve always been.
Writing is like skiing and yoga. Mind, body, spirit. I recall an acronym I learned as a ski instructor years ago: “BERP.” We need Balance. Edging. Rhythm, and Pressure (or control) If you get out of these elements, you might get hurt. Or at the very least, lose your ego.
I’m a skier. After crashing and coming back to “life,” in 2021, I became crazier than skiers already are! I mean, you have to be nuts to race through gates, or ride the 1,175-foot Olympic Lady chairlift, which incidentally is now buried in the snow too!
But the adrenaline rush is what we love. High-risk sports are mind-altering. We carry this into our life’s journey.
Last ski season, a year after my ski crash, I was on my way to a celebration of life for a twenty-five-year-old rock star devastatingly killed at Palisades Tahoe. Right over the condo I’m sitting in at this moment. This was a year after the ski accident that temporarily left me unable to walk, crushing my mind, body, and spirit. It was also the son of one of my writer’s circle friends.
I drove to Berkeley after getting into my finest condolence attire. My car seemed to go on auto-pilot and turned itself around. I couldn’t do it. I did not know why I reacted this way, Hindsight is 20/20. Trauma blinded me. That could have been my son. What would I say?
I remember when my son Ryan was 8 years old, and I thought he had skied off a cliff. He “disappeared” on a slope I had decided he “couldn’t do”. Convinced my only child was dead, I had ski patrol all over the mountain. Turned out, he was already in our condo. This was before he had a cell phone, so my frightened motherly soul couldn’t call him. I would have jumped off a cliff to save him. Then we’d all be dead. I can be self-destructive that way.
I was born in denial. Seems I even tried to save my son in my novels. I denied that my kid might ski faster than me. After all, I taught him.
This week of March 18th-26th, 2023, I am with my family at Palisades Tahoe, doing a writer’s circle Zoom meeting in the same spot I did the day after my soul died on this mountain two years ago. The day I crashed and completely tore three ligaments while fracturing three bones, blowing out my left knee. I couldn’t walk and was told by my doctor I might never ski again.
Skiers are shiny happy people, but even skiers can get out of balance, lose their edge, and lose their spirit. I was out of rhythm. Out of control. Skiing is in my blood. I’ve been doing it for 59 years and find it a cathartic, spiritual experience, just like meditation in my yoga practice. I was so devastated over the prospect of never skiing again; I had fallen into a depression and lost my creative juices.
But this week, not only have I gotten back to skiing, I am skiing at my personal best. I finally truly understand Sir Edmund Hillary’s quote, “It’s not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.” I’ve done my inner work and prepared myself to ski strong again not just physically, but mentally.
And, because I’ve conquered the mental and physical block about skiing again, I’m able to access my emotional, creative space and get back to writing.
I’ve never felt this much gratitude in my 62 years of life!