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Skiing Between the Trees

Skiing Between the Trees

     Approximately 25 days ago I had the unfortunate experience of skiing knee first into a tree. Did I say approximately? I meant exactly. How do I know the number of days, you ask? Because not a single one has gone by that I have not physically felt the ramifications of this accident nor has the voice in my head whispering her cruel messages of self-doubt and humiliation given me a respite.

To admit that I need to slow down, however, in some way conveys that I am not, in fact, invincible. And I would really like for you to go on thinking that I am.

     That’s life though, isn’t it? Right when we feel as though we have found our groove and know how to masterfully navigate the path we find ourselves on, we hit a tree; or a rock, patch of ice, branch, mogul, etc. Roadblocks come in all forms, really. It is in these moments that I am especially terrible at taking the advice I so frequently share with my clients, “Slow down, take care of yourself, listen to the messages your body is sending to you.” It sounds so nice, right?

     To admit that I need to slow down, however, in some way conveys that I am not, in fact, invincible. And I would really like for you to go on thinking that I am. 

     For so long I believed that my self-worth and productivity had a symbiotic relationship. The advancement of one was inevitably linked to the progress of the other. But then I hit my first patch of figurative ice, fell flat on my butt, and learned that I was incapable of over-producing my way back onto the slopes alone. You better believe I put up a hell of a fight trying to ram those skis back on though. Eventually I got there, but only after accepting the hand of another skier that happened to cross my path.

     Inviting someone into the journey of getting back on your feet after a significant wipe out can be altogether terrifying. It requires vulnerability and a willingness to let yourself be seen from a fairly unattractive angle. But from that vantage point also comes the grace of a new perspective. One that may remind you that we are beautiful because, not in spite of, our scars, and that we just might be able to avoid a few of those trees if we pause for long enough to look up and marvel at what is right in front of us. 


Cresson Haugland MS, MFT Intern has worked in both the community mental health and private practice settings and has extensive experience working with families in transition, couples, adolescents, and individuals.