I went skating on the duck pond today. I call it that because in the summer ducks come to nest each year. It’s one of my favorite places and I’m sure you will hear of it often here. It’s completely natural so the ice is bumpy here and there. When I started out I was very stiff, sure that I’d hit some big bump and fall flat on my butt.
I was taking short, choppy strides, bent over like an old woman, arms extended to catch myself if I did fall.
After just a few yards my back was aching with the effort. I thought to myself “This is no good, maybe the ice is too bumpy”. I was ready to give up. But I went over to a place I knew was a little smoother and I stopped. I took a few breaths and relaxed my body. I tried again. this time I began gliding easily over the ice. I stayed where I thought it would be smoothest but as I gained confidence and noticed how my skates glided easily over the bumps, I decided to go back to where I started. The place that in the beginning was too bumpy for me to skate. This time I glided easily over the same bumps that had almost caused me to give up!
The lesson is clear. If you fear every bump and take stiff, choppy strides in fear of what seems your inevitable fall, it’s exhausting and not really fun. You go so slowly and it seems like it’s the bumps that are causing the problem. But the real cuase is your stiffness, your fear. If you can let go, take a breath, allow yourself to relax, you will be amazed at how easy it is to glide over those bumps. You might fall, it’s true, but maybe you won’t. If you do, you can always get up and try again. But if you keep holding yourself stiffly, you’ll never feel that free easy feeling of gliding over the bumps.