AND Check Current Conditions

February 18th, 2018

As I was ice skating on a local rink the other day, I realized how tentatively I began my skate. The ice was glassy in parts and marked up in others. AND although my skates are for long distance and designed to glide over the unevenness of lakes and rivers, I can still find ways to practice on smaller surfaces, if I pay attention to the conditions of the ice and people on the rink.

My awareness of being so tentative caused me to watch my choices with a beginner’s mind, as if I were skating for the first time. In a very real way, I was, because I had not skated on that particular rink on that day under those conditions before.

And that got me thinking about how much we take the context of our experiences for granted. If we have done something until it becomes familiar, we may become less observant, less aware of how conditions might have shifted. AND often we fall or trip up, if not physically, in other ways.

Moving slowly until I could see where the grooves and potential landmines were in the ice gave me a chance to feel my way to more confidence on my skates. With confidence came more ease and speed, more willingness to try different ways to approach the turns and grooves in the ice.

I found that it didn’t matter how many times I went around the rink. I needed to look down almost continuously to watch for grooves that might catch my skate. And rather than viewing my state of alertness as a deterrent from enjoying the skating, I find that it created more confidence and ease in experimenting and enjoying my time on the ice.

This situation is a fun reminder that every time we do something or encounter a situation or person that we think we know, it matters that we pay attention to what is going on in that context at that moment so we that we know how to bring our best self to the experience. We can then enjoy the experience and be aware of potential pitfalls that we now recognize because we paused to check current conditions.

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