Silence

Silence.

How does silence sit with you? Are you comfortable with it or in need of noise?

I use silence in my sports psychology practice intentionally. Silence tells me a lot.

It is said that non verbal communication accounts for 80% of communication between people. Watching people’s body language is therefore rich in information. Does the person fidget or do they stay still? Is their body language open or closed? Do their eyes wander or stay fixed on mine? What eye patterns are happening? All this information is feedback for me and helps me get a clearer picture of my client.

A lot of the work I do is done remotely. I then have to pay attention and really listen well. What words are they using? Are they visual, auditory or kinesthetic learners? Is their language pattern a positive or negative one? All this information gives me feedback to do my job well.

Silence.

On a personal level, I have become comfortable with silence. I never used to be.

I always had music going, singing and engaged in whatever task I was doing. Even in college I used classical music as a backdrop to help me focus while doing homework.

I processed emotions through music, I still do. I will listen to a song on repeat, over and over and sing till whatever is in me has worked itself out. Music is my therapy in a lot of ways.

Yesterday I had planned to participate in a day of silence at my yoga studio, however, the Universe had other plans for me in the form of unexpected car repairs this week. Instead, I spent a day of silence inside my home. I didn’t do yoga or meditate all day but I did practice a lot of much needed self care.

The energy in the universe right now is calling us to go inside and reflect. To be still, present to ourselves and align with Source and our core. A lot of past emotions are bubbling up to the surface. They require our attention and loving care. Processing of them needs to happen to release them and allow wisdom to come in and guide us.

So yesterday I sat with my emotions swirling around me. In the past, I would have done anything to avoid them, afraid of their intensity and of getting lost in them. For years growing up I was given the message that it wasn’t ok to feel. You can imagine what that looked like when the damn finally burst.

It took many more years for me to come to terms with being a big feeler. I’m a sensitive. I sense energy and have become somewhat adept at managing my own. When I’m not doing well, tired or run down I become a bubble girl. Safely enclosed in my own little orb. I won’t put myself in situations where I have to deal with the outside world and I carefully curate what I allow in.

That’s exactly where I was yesterday. I sat with myself and allowed whatever memory and its attached emotion to come. It’s not easy let me tell you. I went for a long walk in the woods and processed some more. At times the emotion brought me to my knees. I honored whatever feelings came up, allowed myself to process them and release them. It was good for my soul. I came back feeling better than when I went in.

I skied with a friend last night. Night skiing is not my thing. It’s dark and cold. For someone who has a hard time warming up it’s not pleasant but because my motto for this year is just do it, I went anyway.

Skiing has always been one of my happy places. I’ve processed a lot on the hill throughout my life. Last night was no exception. I live alone, tend to over think things and rattle around in my big brain. Being around someone safe whose company I enjoy was just what I needed last night. Thank you.

Silence.

I’m now going to practice what I preach and sit on my mat.

 

 

 

 

 

Rest

Rest.

I’ve written of rest here before.

A client has come back to work with me. Her results are just not there.

This ski racer does well in training but can’t pull it together on race day. The good news story is this is a common occurrence.

As I spoke to her, the true story came out. I attract clients who often mirror what is going on in my own life or past life.

Turns out this kid is tired.

Her story is very similar to mine. Lots of pressure to succeed and a ticking time bomb.

I’m not sure if I’ve ever spoken of my story here. Well here it is:

I grew up in the Gatineau hills near a ski resort. My dad was a ski instructor, so my mum would bring the kids to the hill to spend time together as a family.

My mum taught us how to ski. I remember falling over so many times with her on the t bar. Getting my tongue stuck on the chairlift going up the hill. So many happy memories.

Once we were big enough, my dad took over. I was enrolled in the Nancy Greene program and started racing. I was a sociable kid stopping to say hi to people who were cheering me on.

I have spoken of my father and his influence on my ski racing career on this blog before. I was coached by my dad. He was the technical delegate at most of my races as I got older. He was the force behind me. Analyzing results and coaching me into the space I needed to deliver top performances.

Dad would tell me to back off and finish my second run when I had a commanding lead. I was a consistent podium finisher with my talent, drive and his support.

My father worked for the public service and passed up promotions so he could move us to Quebec City to access better coaching and a bigger pool.

The first year I arrived, I was on fire. I had finished in the top three in my region and had won a conditioning camp and a ski camp because of my results. After those camps, I headed to another ski camp with my new team.

I had the best coach of my life that year. Thank you Michel Paquette for your unwavering support and understanding. Things started to shift for me that year. I asked my coach to tell my parents not to watch my training runs. The pressure was building.

I used to race and beat Melanie Turgeon who went on to make the National Ski team. That was the talent I had. I worked tirelessly. We built a start gate in the back yard so I could practice my starts because I was still in the gate when I kicked back and the timer started.

I would come home after school, put my ski gear on and practice my starts in the dark back light from the light coming from the house. Driven? Yes. Determined? Yes. Hungry? Yes.

I did very well that year, podium finishing again. Then I shifted age categories and ended up with a punitive coach I could not relate to.

Things began to unravel quickly. Negative reinforcement was used by my parents to get me to work out. The sport that was my whole life began to shift.

It unraveled further when one day in economics class I burst into tears. I was a pressure cooker. Fortunately, my school had a psychologist but she wasn’t me. There were two options: to keep racing or to quit.

I chose to quit. It was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make. I packed up my trophies and medals on the shelf my father had built and stored them in the basement.

I do what I do today because of that story. Ski racing was my life. It was my passion but it became too much for one kid to handle.

Now I help amateur athletes like the ski racer I mentioned because I don’t want them to go through the pain, heartache and suffering I did.

My ski racer is at this choice point. All the resources money can buy. She is US Ski Team material the day she decides she wants it.

Coaches have said she is done. Her coach is very emotional and puts pressure on her. Her mom is advocating for her. It is HER talent.

She’s tired and needs a break from skiing while staying strong this summer with a conditioning plan.

I’ll be her vault, her safe space, a person to talk to who fully understands what she is going through.

I’ve got you kid.

It is YOUR talent. What you choose to do with it is up to you. Either way, I will support you.

 

 

Gratitude

I woke up feeling grateful Easter Sunday.

Despite having a cold, I’m still healthy.

I have a roof over my head, running water, food. The basics are covered.

I looked a little deeper and realized my heart was full.

I had done sports psychology sessions with ski clubs again this winter and continued on with my private clients.

I also worked at the ski hill doing something I love. I met some great people at the shop and I had fun. Being a social animal I enjoy interacting with customers and am good at it. I became shop mom to the kids working at the shop, plying them with muffins and other baked goods.

It’s a rare occurrence for me to find work I truly enjoy outside of sports psychology but I was in my happy place at the hill with all the skiing I could manage. A blessing.

As I looked out the window at the blue sky and the sun shining, I had this profound sense of contentment and peace. Life is good.

Even though my beloved ski season is drawing to a close in a few short weeks and I have to seek employment elsewhere, I’m happy with a job well done. Truly.

A former client has just come back to work with me which makes my heart sing.

Spring is unfolding and with it the promise of growth, renewal and change.

I’m looking forward to seeing what comes.

Happy Easter with your loved ones.

 

 

 

 

Inspiration

Today I went skiing on the most beautiful of bluebird days with full on hero snow in effect.

Skiing solo, I always strike up conversations with people in the chairlift. It’s interesting, you never know what you’ll learn and it’s better than sitting in silence.

Well today I met someone who inspired me. She started skiing this season and readily avows that skiing is her life. I love it. I couldn’t get enough of her enthusiasm and sheer joy to be skiing. It was so beautiful.

She’s in her forties and decided to start skiing this past winter. She’s progressed from a plow to parallel and seems determined to push her limits. I was really impressed with her.

It’s refreshing to meet someone like minded who blurts out “skiing is my life!”

It boggles my mind when I meet someone so passionate. I mean how often does something like this happen?

It reinforces my passion for the sport I’ve been practicing for almost 40 years now and spurs me on.

I love how life works. The people who are put in your path to remind you just how fortunate you really are.

Amen sister!

Powder days

It’s been snowing plentifully here,  we’ve been blessed with our second storm which dropped 25cms of the fresh white stuff.

I grew up on a ski hill, I was 18 months old when I first got on skis.  My father is a ski instructor so we spent our time at the hill as a family. I started ski racing at a tender age thanks to the Nancy Green program. I spent all my free time at the hill, all my formative moments happened there from my first kiss to my passage into womanhood.

My family eats, lives and breathes skiing. My brother lives outside of Whistler and skis every chance he gets. I do the same out here, Mont Ste Marie, Mont Tremblant and Jay Peak being among our favortites.

Powder is not typically something we see out east but we’ve been getting plentiful amounts lately.  I skied powder yesterday and will happily be back at it again today.

Nothing makes me happier than skiing.  It’s been my happy place for as long as I can remember.  It’s where I go when I need to heal, when I’m having a bad day or when I need a lift. It’s the place I go to get back to myself, it’s home for me.

We’ll be rocking the white stuff again today in search of nirvana.

 

 

Fun for a good cause

I spent the weekend at the Tremblant 24h.  What a blast! $1,864,133 was raised for three charities: the Ottawa Senators Foundation, the Charles-Bruneau Cancer Foundation and the Tremblant Foundation.  Who knew raising money could be this much fun? 

My team managed to pull $1700 together in less than a week.  We did really well considering how it all came together last minute.  There were 205 teams and 1800 participants.  Amazing numbers for the 10th edition of the event.

A highlight was the concert at the summit Friday night.  The lodge was turned into a VIP club accessible only by ticket and gondola.  My crew and I rocked it out to Alfa Rococo, complete with glow sticks.  So much fun.  It was eerie leaving the club and going down in the silence of the gondola, the wind blowing, enveloped by inky darkness.  I actually fell asleep.

Everything started the next morning, team captain briefing, breakfast and yet another highlight.  Running into my racing nemesis from 20 years ago.  As a former national ski team member she was an ambassador for the event.  We caught up, it was like no time had elapsed and I was 16 all over again.  Awesome

The race started at noon and went till noon the next day.  We experienced every type of weather possible in that timeframe.  It was balmy when it began, the sun came out, then the race was actually suspended for four hours because of high winds during the night and early morning.  Finally a snowstorm kicked up all kinds of snow and frozen ice pellets.  It was wild.

Our team of 12 was split into groups of three for three hour shifts.  One person racing, two people on support to help transition or if anything came up.  My first shift wasn’t till 11pm.  The objective is to go down as quickly as possible and lap as many runs as you can.  It’s all about the most mileage in the least amount of time.  As co-lead I wanted to ensure teams were in place and transitions occurred as smoothly as possible.  Sleep became a luxury.  I didn’t notice because there was always something going on.  Concerts Saturday night next to the transition area and then a dj till the wee hours of the morning.

The best highlight was my last shift and the end of the race.  Two runs in weather that would keep most people at home curled up in their jammies.  Visibility was negligible, frozen ice pellets stinging my face and conditions were super fast.  It was awesome!  I brought it home for the team with a hot pink boa around my neck going speeds no one should go in that weather and loving every minute of it.  Macking it through rutted rollercoaster turns and trusting I’d make it down in one piece. It rocked!  What a great feeling to finish it all off. 

It was such a privilege and honor to be a part of the event and the energy surrounding it all.  Turns out our team is going to be sponsored again next year and I think all of us will happily show up and do it all over again.

Thanks Ottawa Kiosk and my good friend Tuan for putting this together.  To my team for being the kind of people I’d hang out with anytime.  I’ve made 11 new friends and created memories that will last me a lifetime.  Glowing.