About 15 years ago, I ventured on a solo vacation to Aspen. While I was there, I signed up for lessons - little did I know that the advice my hippie Zen master ski instructor would share would continue to hang about at the back of my mind all these years later, a reassuring mantra.
He had a list of three Important Things to keep in mind while headed down the slope:
1) Gravity Works
2) Breathing Helps
3) You Hit What You Aim For
I've been in a lot of situations since there where these pithy words have centered me and I've been surprised by how much I lean on them when it comes to my writing life.
In skiing, gravity is what gets you down the mountain, one way or another (hopefully upright and on both skis). In writing, for me, gravity is all about what keeps me grounded to my work. What's my purpose? The more aware I am of my purpose, the more apt I am to align my actions with my dreams. Without gravity, I'm an untethered balloon and any old breeze can blow me off course.
Kind a a "duh" point to make, right? Breathing helps with balance, refuels the brain, lowers stress. Important on the slopes, essential in a writing life. Through good news and bad, through a tough slog of revisions or the frothy adventure of a new story, breathing is the number one way to connect with your core self. Gravity may get you down the mountain, but breathing properly will shift the journey from something to white knuckle your way through, to an experience you can, well, write home about.
You Hit What You Aim For
Technically, I think my instructor said, "you hit what you look at, so don't look at trees or kids." Translating that into my writing life, I've taken this to mean that, once you get yourself in motion on the trail you want to break, you'll arrive at your destination sooner or later. So make sure it's really where you want to go. And don't give up before you get there.
Gravity works, breathing helps and you hit what you aim for.
What about you? Have any ski bums given you insights into the world lately? What are you aiming yourself toward?