It’s been puking snow lately up in the Grand Tetons, and I was lucky enough to have a last minute opportunity to trek up to Jackson Hole, Wyoming to chase this most recent storm. It dropped nearly 3 feet of snow alone during this past week that we were there.
The trip was off the chain amazing for a bunch of different reasons, but of course exploring new terrain is much more epic when there’s fresh pow.
I found the Tetons to be very humbling and challenging. I didn’t realize how much of Jackson Hole is expert terrain and I found I really had to have my game face on.
We were filming while we were there, and our last day in the Hole was our biggest powder day of the trip. It dumped 19 inches overnight, and it was gnarly on the mountain. The snow was deep and heavy.
By the end of our week, after riding powder open to close each day, I was so beat! With the heaviness and the depth of the 19+ inches, I could not stay upright. I even ride with a pack to give myself extra weight, but this snow just kept taking me down. At least we got great footage for a wipeout video.
I was a little bummed, because with 19 inches, that should have been our best day of filming, but I could not stay on my feet for a solid period of time. I just kept getting tackled. Jenn=0 Powder=210.
This made me think about when my brother was out here visiting for Christmas 2 months ago. He arrived a novice snowboarder, and left a solid intermediate rider, well on his way to advanced.
I was so proud and happy for him that he excelled so easily and was really enjoying himself. As I complimented him, he said, yeah but I’m not good until I’m as good as you. You never fall.
And I remember thinking to myself how those words could not be more untrue. I thought about how I must have appeared to him in that moment, because I have been snowboarding longer than him, and what was easy for me, was challenging for him.
But then I thought about how my falls are actually bigger now than they’ve ever been, because I’m going bigger with it now than I ever have.
I hurl myself off of cliffs, and sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t. He might not get to see it, but I still fall, and sometimes I fall really hard. Sometimes I go flying and face plant. Sometimes I hit trees. It’s a thug life out there.
I thought about my homeboy, Shaun White, and his devastating performance in the Olympics. Unfortunately conditions weren’t right; the weather was warm, the pipe was slushy, and Shaun needs maximum speed to pull off his tricks. But what a rad example to show us that even the king of the mountain, the best of the best, still falls. No one is exempt from a bad day.
I’m blabbering on about all of this, because all of this represents what it’s like to be on the spiritual path.
I’ve been ringing your bells lately about meditating, and have divulged many perks I’ve enjoyed since I began my meditation practice.
However, that does not mean that everything in my world is perfect. In fact, it’s far from it. Many of you may look at my life and think it’s beautiful. But some may look at it and think it’s a mess.
The truth is, it’s both. My life is a beautiful mess. And meditation is what has helped me find the beauty among the mess, and keep my sanity in the mess.
More than anything, meditation is a tool, a coping mechanism to help us when we fall. It’s to help us remain centered in a beautiful space amidst all of the mess.
Just because we are on the spiritual path does not mean that we won’t still fall. Just like Shaun White in the snowboarding world, even the Dalai Lama still has an off day every now and then. All that matters is that we rise again after we fall. Get back on the path.
When we carry meditation around with us in our bag of tricks, we can whip it out and lean on it when we need to. Meditation makes it that much easier for us to shake it off each time we fall, even if it’s a doozy.
Did anyone see Shaun’s fall in the slopestyle Olympic qualifier? It was rough. A novice rider after taking a fall like that would most likely never snowboard again. But a master is able to shake it off, rise, and try again. After that huge blow, Shaun was able to regain his composure, did another run, and threw down something amazing enough to earn his spot in the Olympics. That kind of resilience is what makes champions. You can do it too.
The stronger you get at meditating, the easier it is to rise after falling. The less things get you down, and you don’t stay down for as long. It’s amazing how meditation really does build up your resilience.
Just like my brother needs to keep practicing to get to my level, and I need major practice to get to Shaun White’s level, we can’t expect never to fall on our journey, as we go deeper, further, and higher with our lives.
What’s important is that we see every fall as a reason to learn instead of a reason to give up.
Do not give up on your meditation journey friends. Life will not be perfect once you start meditating. Disappointments still come. But meditation will give you wings to help you deal with your disappointments more easily.
I love you all and hope you’re doing well!
Love and peace,