Just popped up above the clouds into bluebird skies on flight home from a couple weeks chasing powder in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah. Body sore, heart full. Happy.
And as the dust settles for all of us on the kickoff to the new year, wanted to share a conversation we just had with our coaching course alumni––specifically, how to keep our heads these days, when “all around us are losing theirs.” (that’s a Kipling quote for those following along at home ;).
‘Cause here’s the thing: it sure can seem like the Death Eaters are out in full force lately, and that formerly unforgivable things are being said and done on a daily basis. Add to that the growing conversation around our own collective global impact and it can feel hard sometimes to have a whole lot of faith in Team Human.
And that’s a telltale sign that undigested grief is backed up in our system. We either go numb and seek comfort in our heads-down routines, or we get angry and vent on unsuspecting and not always deserving culprits.
But rather than contract in our pain, or give up our faith in what’s possible for humanity, there’s another option––and it’s one that might not have made it onto your New Year’s Resolution List:
That’s the Mayan concept of how we keep the wheels on the world when they show very real signs of coming off. Because in their way of thinking, humans have always consumed––we’ve always chopped down trees to build, heat and cook with, we’ve always tilled soil and hunted animals for food. We do that. We can’t not.
But rather than conclude that we are a burden on the planet, or somehow shouldn’t be here at all (as Thanos in Avengers and a bunch of other dystopian anti-heroes have been arguing lately), we can take up the role of honoring the beauty, and of restoring a bit of what we’ve consumed. We can make it right by making art out of this whole project.
(check out Martin Prechtel and his amazing books and life story for much more from this lineage)
Here's how we can feed the holy:
(or nieces, nephews and neighbors) and just dropping into the dirt, leaves and sand and seeing the world through their frame for a few hours (the technical term for this obvious move is “directionless play” and it works wonders for misbehaving kids).
(or wherever you can find them).
and actually, really, truly connecting and sharing deepest fears and hopes.
for the kitchen table and arranging them just so.
that delights other hikers.
with abandon (and good friends).
with full attention, creativity and joy.
This past few weeks, we fed the holy as a family––returning to the mountains we love and connecting with friends who’ve built their lives around guiding and patrolling these wild places.
And it was almost too long overdue.
One of our own children has been really struggling with the weight of the world, and the seeming impossibility of their generation navigating anything resembling the Good Life they’ve heard so much about. They got stuck in a decompensated spot and weren’t able to unplug and recharge themselves.
And we didn’t have that many great answers for them––beyond “hey, it might seem tough right now, but you know, as churny as this all seems in the world and the news, it’s never been much easier or better. Each generation has their challenges––we’ve all got to face up to ours.”
Which isn’t exactly a Jerry Maguire or Leonidas (the Spartan general at Thermopylae) kind of barn burner. We were stuck. Glancing past each other, isolated, rather than connected.
So we pivoted. And went backcountry skiing.
10,000 feet. Jupiter Peak. About to drop into the steep and deep. Sharing the stoke with my son Luke.
And there, halfway down a mountain, in three feet of weightless whiteness, in a cathedral stand of giant old spruce trees––we found the Holy.
Our hearts. (pumping from the turns, the altitude and the views)
Our bodies. (elated from the surreal proprioception of floating down a mountainside)
Our minds. (sharp from the potential consequences, undistracted by digital chatter)
Our spirits. (Humbled. Alive. So Grateful )
We remembered where we were.
The simple Now that answers the question “if this moment was all there is, would it be enough?”
Sometimes we’re lucky and that moment of Flow, can last for days and even weeks. Sometimes it’s so knock your socks off you can’t help but whoop and holler the moment it arrives (or we do). Sometimes it’s so subtle that if we’re distracted we’ll blink and miss it altogether.
But all around us, every moment, every day, are the hints and signs of the Mysto. A trail of breadcrumbs that always lead us back to the Church of the Eternal Stoke.
As we come back to our lives, there will still be fires to fight, stands to take, and rows to hoe. But there will also be a bit more lightness, a suppleness and fluidity that might not have been there a few weeks before.
Because as EB White said so well “I wake each morning torn between the desire to save the world or to savor it. And then I realized that in a way, the savoring must come first because if there was nothing left to savor there would be nothing worth saving.”
So take a moment and truly ask yourself “am I carving out enough time in 2020 to feed the Holy (however you find and name it)?” And if you need a helpful format to answer that, feel free to check out our How to Design Your Own Hedonic Calendar guide.
“There are a thousand ways to kiss the ground!” wrote Rumi. “A thousand ways to find your way Home.”
If you’ve already had some powerful experiences this year that you want to share––reply here, we’d love to hear ‘em. Sometimes, swapping stories is the fastest way for us all to level up.
Jamie and the FGP Team
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