Those words were music to my ears in my early twenties when I was living the ski bum life in Breckenridge, Colorado. I lived for fresh tracks in fluffy powder. Today, as I sit at my desk and glance at the snow dumping on my suburban neighborhood, it still brings me joy. I love the romance, the magic, and the clean fresh look it gives our natural world. But, all that aside, I LOVE to ski! I love the adrenaline rush of going fast. I love the gracefulness I feel (as if I have SOME dance skills). And I love the quiet of the mountains, when I stop in the woods as the snow is falling and just be.
As a kid I grew up skiing on landfills in northeast Ohio and western Pennsylvania. It was my FAVORITE, but I only got to go once or twice a year for several years. As I got older I got to ski more often, but it was never going to be “my thing” living in Ohio. During my senior year in college I took a trip to Breckenridge knew right away that’s where I’d be moving after graduation. I wanted a year to play and ski.
Skiing brought me complete and total JOY. It never felt like working out or a chore I had to check off. If I had time off during the day, I was skiing. I’d ski until my legs were Jello. I’d ski until I literally could not ski anymore. After my first season in Breckenridge, I started telemark skiing and that upped the joy even more. A new challenge. A new motion. More graceful and almost like dancing on the snow.
As I type these words, I can’t help but smile. Skiing is one of my most JOYFUL movements. As a child, gymnastics also brought me total joy. Later I’d add in Yoga and Rock Climbing, and I’ve always loved simply walking in nature.
As kids, we typically don’t think of movement as exercise, it’s just FUN. Where and when do we lose that? For me, it was when my original joyful movement (gymnastics) became painful and hard. I wasn’t in it for the fun anymore, I was in it for the college scholarship. At some point, that wasn’t worth it and I finally quit. It took me years to get back to the joy—and thankfully I found it in skiing.
Have you kept the JOY in your movement? What do you do daily to be IN YOUR BODY and feeling JOY? If you have pain, can you move in water? If you don’t have the energy, can you do some simple stretching on the floor? If you haven’t found joy in movement in a long time, what new movement might you be willing to try?
As the huge fluffy flakes are falling outside my window, I feel the joy rising in me as I anticipate taking my kids skiing tomorrow. The powder might be waist high for them! I can only hope that their little hearts will feel the joy I do when racing down a mountain.
When it comes to wellness, if we don’t feel good in our bodies, we can’t feel good in our minds. What are you doing to fit joyful movement into your life? Is there space for it? If not, where could you open space for it? What could you try?