As the snow season begins in the Northern Hemisphere, here in New Zealand, our snow runs are slowly melting away. We decided to make the most of the long season and last month spent two days skiing. On the slopes, I had a revelation!
When gliding down the mountain (trying to keep up with my kids), my mind was focussed, thoughts faded to the background, I was acutely present, and a feeling of aliveness rippled throughout my whole being. I felt at one with the snow.
It’s the same feeling of aliveness I sometimes get on my yoga mat or in the bush. Surfers experience it in the ocean; artists with a paintbrush in their hands; musicians with a guitar.
I realised it wasn’t the skiing that gave rise to this sense of aliveness but rather the pausing of thought. We feel free when the mind is still. For a short period, we are liberated from all our worries and to-dos. No wonder people are recharged after skiing or surfing and get up at 6 am to do it all over again!
But why do we reserve this acute focus to only sports or creative pursuits? Why can’t we be at one with the house cleaning or one with the traffic jam?
I observed back at home with sick kids and piles of laundry that stillness took effort. On the slopes, it naturally arose. At home, it required me to actively choose to step out of thought, again and again. Of course, laundry is not as fun as skiing. But putting fun aside, that same sense of aliveness and freedom was available, no matter the task at hand.
To be at one with what is in front of us – be it a mountain, a wave, a crying child, a supermarket cashier – is to be at one with life.
That’s my practice: consciously choosing to withdraw from the mind chatter. That is how we cultivate presence. That is how we feel at one with life.
So, right now, I feel at one with my keyboard as I write this post. Thank you for reading and for being part of this community of everyday seekers from all over the world.
Yes, we have extraordinary moments (like playing in the snow with our family). But mostly, it’s the tiny ordinary eyeblinks that fill our days. And I believe bringing presence to those everyday moments is the pathway to a kinder world.
Lara Charles is an Australian writer and mama living in Aotearoa, New Zealand, with her husband and four children. Lara writes at the intersection of spirituality and modern life. Her work has been featured on New Zealand’s most prominent media platform, Stuff, as well as spiritual platforms such as Tiny Buddha and Elephant Journal.
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