So I wrote the article below on Survivor Manual a week before I broke my leg. I thought I’d add in red, some extra bits for your reading pleasure.
4 Steps to Help You Evolve to the Next Level
Yesterday I thought of many of you while I was standing at the top of a mountain looking across the gorgeous span of countryside. I evolved from green to blue. (and today I’m lying in bed in a leg cast) I graduated from nervous skier to confident one who can carve turns and not clumsily fall on my face. As I skied down the fifth blue run, truly amazed and super proud of myself, I thought about what a great metaphor the moment was for moving from victim to victor. (I felt the same way as I was rushed down the mountain on the emergency sled by ski patrol too) I love metaphors and use them a lot, so I thought I’d break down how skiing down the top of that mountain, while having great fun, was so much like living a happy whole life after serious hardship and trauma. That includes when you fall on your face and break your leg too! I broke it down to four steps.
1. Know the Fear
It’s easier to move on and evolve to the next level when you know what you’re leaving. What are you so scared of? I’ve always been scared of breaking a leg. I’ve heard a vast list of fears and most of them are connected to a core trauma or belief set in place years prior, from fearing healthy men because a man abused or attacked you, to hating and fearing women because your mother was a nutcase. Some of you fear living a healthy whole life because you have never seen one. Some fear starting a business or following your artistic dream because you were told you were stupid, ugly, untalented, unworthy or whatever other lie by someone who deep down wanted the same thing. So what’s your fear? When you know what it is, you can move past it.
Skiing always freaked me out. So did surgery! I was afraid of it to no end. If you even mentioned I was going to be taken to the top of the mountain I might start crying. I could put skies on, look cute in the outfit, and go down the bunny slope and the green runs, carefully. But I wasn’t going to the top. I said I would never do it, I would never ski a blue and certainly not a black run. I quoted my best friend who said, “Oh no, I’m fine on the green. I have to go slow enough to not spill my martini.” I made excuses, came up with all kinds of stories why I could never do it and was determined to stay on the bunny slope. Not to mention skiing is a rich man’s sport. I’ll stay in the lodge, thanks. You go. I’ll watch. Plus, I was afraid of breaking a leg!
Sound familiar? That reminds me of people who make excuses about the healthy person they really should be in a relationship with, because the bad one is so much more familiar.
2. Watch Others who have Done it Before You
One of the greatest ways to move on is to watch others who have done what you want to do. That does not mean put them on a pedestal. Don’t put me on a pedestal, because I have gas. And am in a cast… Plus, anyone you put far above yourself or in an untouchable space of awe will show flaws. I have chin hair. But I got a chin hair trimmer for Valentine’s Day so we’re all good now. Try meeting celebrities you’ve admired forever and finding out they are super jerks. It ruins their movies. Everyone has a story. And more people than you know have strange hairs growing out of strange places too. Fellas, check your ears.
Everyone has a bright shining light in them – including you. You don’t have to put someone in a celebrity status in your eyes, even celebrities, in order to watch what they do.
I watched Oprah when I was young with the belief if she could get past her childhood hell, talk about it and move on, so could I. When I was on the bunny slopes, I watched the good skiers on the blue and black runs and how they moved their bodies. When I was in elementary school and high school I used to think the hot guys coming back from summer vacations with casts on were even hotter. I watched a video about how to move from moderate to intermediate. I watched my family members who are really good skiers. Of course, I watched with the belief that I could never do that, but I still watched them. Best of all, I watched those just a little ahead of me, those who looked like they were very tentative skiing and took even the blue run slowly. Oh, it was okay to look like scared, be scared and go slowly. Ah… And try not to fall on your face and break a leg too.
3. Listen to the Coach & Get on the Lift
If you want to learn how to drive a car, you should listen to an instructor, and then you have to get into the driver’s seat. When you’re facing healing from something traumatic, a therapist is a great help. If you’re going to take a stab at that creative project, a mentor or consultant who has done it before is a great help. That doesn’t mean you have to run out and get frequent flier miles on your credit card running it up paying all kinds of money for coaches, therapists etc. A great surgeon was good in my case since I needed six screws on a leg broken in two places. There are videos online for just about anything you want to learn – for free. There are tons of healing techniques, articles and videos about healing on this site – for free. The hospital is not for free, thank Goddess I have health insurance.
I have family and friends who are much better skiers than I am. So, even though I “was never going up there with them” I listened to them, while I stayed on the bunny slopes and green runs. Those are also the same family members who skied easily in front of me while I fell behind and on my face.
Even though you may be adamant that you’re never going to have a a healthy, fun relationship without all this “work” many say it has to be, even though you may not be able to picture yourself living a happy whole life, listen and watch those who are. If you don’t know any, go find them. I remember meeting the first couple I’d ever seen who were happily together, respecting and lifting each other up in both of their lives while creating a harmonious one together. I stared at them like I was meeting aliens. Now they are family to me. They also rushed me to the hospital and fed me ice chips when I wasn’t supposed to eat before surgery.
So even though I could never picture myself being able to get on that blue run, I moved my body like I was told to. I played around with it. I copied what my friends and family were doing. I tried it – on the bunny and the green runs that is! And as far as my original fear of skiing only being a rich man’s sport, we went on days when the lift tickets were half-price and the rentals for beginners are cheap. And the ski patrol whooshing me down the mountain on the emergency sled were so very nice and comforting.
4. Do It Your Way & Have Fun
Even though you may have a coach, therapist, mentor, best friend etc who you have watched and listened to – you are still a unique spark in the Universe. After you listen, watch and learn about new ways of doing things you still have to try it yourself. You won’t be exactly like the ones you’ve watched – thank Goddess! We can all interpret dance moves!
Even if you fall on your face and break a leg, get back up (once you’ve healed). I’ve kept my sense of humor and adventure during the “break” time too.
After watching those far ahead and also a tad bit ahead of me on the learning curve go down a blue run, I realized I could go as slowly as I wanted. Or just fall. I didn’t need to fly down at ungodly speeds. So I tried it. I cursed, I made funny noises, I stopped over at the side to let speed racers go by, but I made it down. Then I tried it again and realized it was the speed that scared me. I was scared to face downhill because going fast is what freaked me out. But watching my friends and family who are expert skiers, and watching those at the same level as me mosey down, made me realize I was not going to fall. Until I got tangled in my own legs. Going faster actually made the ride easier. Most accidents, like mine, happen on the ski lift or while standing still. I was falling when I was slowing down and freaking out. I knew how to turn and how to stop so I went for it.
I faced down the mountain and I skied it. In the spirit of doing it my own way, I made up a song as I went and giggled to myself with every turn. “Don’t be afraid of speed. Don’t be afraid of speed” I sang to myself to talk myself into it as well as distract me from the fear of what I was actually doing – skiing! My family of fancy skiers pulled over to the side to watch me and yelled, “You’re doing it! You’re doing it!” I zoomed past them, careful not to turn and look at them so I didn’t fall and eat it. I just went with the flow of my own turns to the beat of my own song “Don’t be afraid of speed. Don’t be afraid of speed.” I also sang that as I was being sped down the mountain on the sled by ski patrol. We met at the bottom and if I could have I would have jumped up and down in my skies. I had done it. I didn’t fall and break my back. Nope, broke my leg. I didn’t ride down on my butt. And I had just skied a blue run!! I got on the lift and did it again, and again and again. Until the following week…
“Oh my God, you know what’s amazing?” I asked like a little kid who just learned to swim. “I’m having fun!” When I first started to learn, it was not fun. It was scary. I wanted to give up, go home or at least stay inside while everyone else went and killed themselves trying to fly down a mountain. Then I reached the point of fun. It’s fun! The ride on the sled was the fastest I’ve ever been skiing and was fun too!
The exact same thing happens when you finally realize there are no more panic attacks, that your attraction to the toxic men and women is gone, that you no longer think about your story of hardship and trauma anymore – that you’ve moved on. Just like standing at the bottom of a mountain or a hospital bed and promising you’ll never ever get to the top, living a whole full life after trauma may seem daunting. But it is not only possible, it can be really fun. And I will ski again!
Even if you’re at the stage where you’re falling on your face at each turn like I did, or you broke your leg like I did, know there are others who have gone before you and succeeded. The only difference between you and them is time.
Enjoy the ride. Even if it’s to the hospital. I laughed the whole way, even through the pain. And don’t worry, I’m fine. I’m very loved and well looked after. This is a big “slow down” sign so I’m resting – but I still have my laptop and I still tweet!