Things I learned about myself while on a mountain

We all love a break. A well earned rest is good for the soul and refreshes the mind. I’ve just had one of my best breaks by spending the last week skiing in the resort of Morzine in France. I highly recommend it as a resort.

While out there on the slopes, practising my turns and Just gliding on the snow, watching the family with their instructor and taking in the area, there was lots of natural thinking time. If I make it sound all romantic, it’s mostly because I am in love with skiing as a holiday.

I found that being mindful was kind of easy and I felt like it was cheating. You’re in an environment which is completely conducive to being relaxed and being in tune with your body. Your self awareness is already raised becauase you’re in these skis which aren’t natural at all. You’re listening to your body well because it’s reacting to the way you ski. In the evenings with a sauna, jacuzzi and massages at your disposal, you’re primed for being in tune with your body. It’s that much more of an effort to be connected to the digital world either because of data costs or wifi connections. 

It bought me to consider just how difficult it is to be mindful at work and in our cities. Efforts like Street Wisdom are fine, but they’re unique and discreet events. Regular time to just accept your surroundings, listen to your body and act accordingly aren’t easy to come by. It’s no wonder we need an app to help us cultivate mindfulness in a world where busy-ness is a very accepted way of life.

I love beach holidays, water parks, theme parks and all that jazz. I found that being on a mountain is where I’m deeply at peace. This was unexpected and enjoyable. I didn’t just enjoy skiing, I felt like it was where I belong in my soul. With that in mind, it’s not something I do regularly, so when I do, I really enjoy it.

I’ve written and spoken before about finding your third place. When your home and your work are your first and second places, where’s your third place where you can be your best, free of judgement, free of pressure, and at your pace? I’m no expert at skiing. I stuck to mostly blue runs which are the easier ones on the slopes. Years ago I had the confidence and skill to do reds (hard) and the occasional blacks (difficult). But I don’t care if I do those runs, that’s not why I’m out there doing the skiing. I’m out there because I can just be.

When that’s not available, I’ve had to work really hard to find an alternative. Blogging is often my third place these days. I don’t care how good or bad the writing is, I do care about sharing good stuff, I care about sharing my practise, and I focus on writings things of interest. It gets met in lots of different ways and I receive a range of feedback which is all useful. But blogging is my space. It’s my place to just be.

What I loved most about the holiday was watching my family progress with their skiing over the week. It’s not often we do an activity which can involve us all and we’re all at similar starting points and development paths. That just brought a very different dimension to connecting with each other, and having fun and laughs with each other. Later in the week I was out in the slopes with one of my twins, K, and told him to lead me on the slope. I told him to make sure I stayed safe while I followed, and he did amazingly. He went nice and easy, took turns with ease and was always looking back to check on me.


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Sukh Pabial

I'm an occupational psychologist by profession and am passionate about all things learning and development, creating holistic learning solutions and using positive psychology in the workforce.

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