Warning! Wanderlust Adventure Ahead

practicing yoga in tree pose near a pond for WanderlustWhen my daughter, Courtney, asked if I’d be interested in going to Wanderlust, I said, “Sure!” I’m always up for traveling, but had no idea what she was talking about. Last week, she sent me a video of a class we’ll be taking. I laughed until I cried.

I hope no one gets hurt…

Wanderlust – Whistler 2016, is a four-day yoga festival that includes everything from the obvious, (yoga) and meditation to paddle-boarding, hiking and rocking out to DJs at night. I signed up. After all this isn’t my first yoga rodeo.

In seventh grade, I took a class as an elective at Our Lady Queen of Peace. I was hooked. I loved the relaxed atmosphere and how it slowed my active mind. I continued my interest through college. For a few years after having kids, I took a class poolside at a beautifully landscaped Boulder home. When the sessions became more aerobic than meditative, I dropped out.

It has been a few years since I’ve really been into yoga. With wrist and knee issues, I recently attended a few classes in Boulder to test my body. With a pad under my knees, I could do everything, in restorative, gentle yoga, anyway.

I thought I was good to go.

Courtney instructed me to sign up for all of the classes on her schedule, so I blindly clicked away. Last week, she sent me an email and asked if I had read the class descriptions. Of course not. I rarely read instructions.

One of the classes we’re taking is Acrovinyasa. She sent this video and I laughed until I cried.

We’ll be partners. I assume I’ll be on the bottom. I just watched the video again and it still cracks me up. Think of me spinning around like a top next Thursday. Ha! Still laughing.

My husband, Danny, is coming with us. His yoga themed bad dad jokes have been hitting me in waves. He is running two 5Ks as part of the event and will go on a hike, but he also signed up for a couple of yoga classes. There is hope. I think I’ll buy him that guy’s bandana. Could be a good look for him since he’s planning on walking around town with a cross-body yoga mat and a water bottle. Ha!

I’m really looking forward to the classes, especially the ones involving positivity and opening up the mind to creativity. I truly believe writers, musicians, and artists get into a creative flow that seems to come out of nowhere. It’s why I write with a vague idea of my plot points and could never use an outline. Whenever I concretely think about what should happen next in my book, I go into “deer in the headlights.” Instead, I imagine the characters and setting, and the scene rolls in my head like a movie.

Wanderlust should be a mind bender. I hope my body bends too. I can’t afford any breakage.

Don’t worry, Courtney and Danny will take lots of pictures. Remember, I have no shame.

More Wild Rider adventures.

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Are you into yoga? Have you been to Whistler or Vancouver? Is Acroyoga for you?

Create cliffhangers in your life and JUMP!

Lured by the rush of adrenaline and weightlessness, Hank Caylor and his friend planned to jump. They entered the revolving door of the Embassy Suites Hotel, slipped past security and the front desk. The two-story escalator took them to the mezzanine. They dashed to the elevator. After riding up to the 38th floor, they made their way to the roof and climbed onto the ledge. With less than 400 feet and mere seconds from the impact of concrete, there was no room for error. BASE jumping is illegal in Denver. They had been warned.

BASE jumper on ledge of building

Hank and his friend dropped their gaze to the street below. While timing the traffic lights, so they wouldn’t get hit by a car or truck, the wind picked up.

Hank hesitated. His friend jumped. His parachute opened and he landed on the street. Crowds formed.

The longer Hank waited, the higher the risk that someone would run inside the hotel to tell security. They would call the cops. Security could be on their way to the roof already. He didn’t want to get busted.

He jumped.

At first he sailed down in a free fall, hands and legs splayed out. The rush of air whipped through his hair, stung his eyes and screamed in his ears. As he dropped, he pulled the ripcord of his parachute. But a sudden burst of wind blasted between the skyscrapers.BASE jumpers off antennae

It spun him around. Instead of floating to the street, the gust slammed him into the side of the building. His body smashed through a plate glass window on the 21st floor.

My heart pounded while Hank Caylor told me his story. I met him while he worked as an electrician in our home in 2000. He was recovering from that infamous BASE jump. Ironically, my husband and I lived on the 35th floor of the apartments at The Embassy Suites Hotel for two years when we were first married. I could picture everything.

I knew Hank survived, he stood right in front of me, but I hung on his words like I clung to the building beside him. It was the ultimate cliffhanger. Hundreds of stitches, jail time, and an acquitted lawsuit weren’t a part of his plan, but at least he took a chance. He didn’t wimp out.

So what does this have to do with you? Why should you jump?

You need to create cliffhangers in your life in order to challenge yourself.

Attaining a new goal can be exhilarating and can take you to a whole new level in life’s journey, but you have to be willing to take the leap and risk crashing in failure.

My son applied to an exclusive music production school. It required a detailed application, a Skype interview, submitting original music, and answering personal essay questions. He created a cliffhanger. While we waited to hear if he’d been accepted, he flew out to Los Angeles and took a tour. Impressed with the direction of the school and its graduates, the pressure to get in increased ten-fold. We all sat on the edge of our collective seats. Last Tuesday, he received an email. It contained a fantastic acceptance letter saying he had the talent they were looking for. Go Kelly! 

My daughter works in digital marketing, but has always been physically active. She participated in ballet, high school pom-pom, and CU’s Dance Team for half-time shows at football games. Now that she is working full-time, she goes to the gym on a regular basis and calls herself a “gym rat.” She is taking an intensive course to become a personal trainer to supplement her income. She created a cliffhanger. So far she’s passing with flying colors. Go Courtney!

Both of them have climbed up on the ledge, looked down and then jumped.

I can’t wait to see where they land in the next year or two. I sit on the edge of my seat and watch.

I’ve taken a huge risk in investing thousands of hours writing for this blog and my books. Now I am taking a leap in querying agents. Every day I check my email for responses. The rejections aren’t as painful as smashing through the plate glass window of a building, but they can be gut-punching setbacks.

Use failure as a way to improve.

I’ve received feedback in several rejections and my manuscript has been out on submission. Instead of giving up to self-publish, I’ve taken the constructive criticism, worked on my technique, and repacked my parachute. If I end up self-publishing anyway, I won’t look back and regret the querying process. The professional critique has hugely impacted my manuscript and it’s been free advice by top professionals.

You’ll never please everyone.

I want my book to be the best it can be. I’m not in a big hurry to publish. It’s worth the extra time.

Regardless of how it is published, someday I’ll face public reviews of my work. Talk about nerve-wracking while looking down at tiny traffic lights as turbulent wind pummels my face. I expect that no matter how much I revise and improve it, my book will be panned by someone.

Cliffhangers are a way of life.

Will I score an agent? Be traditionally published? Will my words find ten readers or ten thousand? Who knows?

The only way to find out is to climb out on that ledge and jump.

By the way, ElSalvador.com posted a video of Hank and two friends skydiving from a hot air balloon a few day ago. Go Hank!

Do you take the safe route in attaining goals or do you jump off the ledge?

A “Tail” of a Whale Adventure in Three Acts

ACT I

Last Friday, a monstrous spring snowstorm promised downed powerlines and trashed landscaping in Colorado. My husband, Danny, and I shrugged and headed up to the mountains. We looked forward to tremendous ski conditions and assumed we would share the highway with many others. Forecasters predicted snow in feet.

Funny thing. As we merged onto I-70 in Golden, our daughter, Courtney, called on her way home from work. She had to pack and pick up a friend before driving up to meet us in Breckenridge.

As expected, we got stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic. One mere mile outside of Georgetown, we came to a dead halt. CDOT had closed the highway hours earlier because of “hazardous driving conditions,” but we had ignored all the warning signs.

I-70 in snowstorm

Then Courtney called. She had just started on I-70. I suggested taking the frontage road to Georgetown instead of the crowded highway.

An hour later, we started to inch forward. As we passed Georgetown, Danny said, “I think we just passed Courtney’s car.

They ended up right behind us. No lie.

ACT II

It’s been over a year since my partial knee replacement. Before going under the crazy laser scalpel, that is Makoplasty, to replace messed up bone and cartilage, I could only ski two, maybe three runs before calling it a day. Since surgery, I’ve been careful.

Peak 7

 

The dump of snow proved to be heavenly for skiers and snowboarders. Saturday, I sailed through fifteen inches of ice cream snow in Breckenridge and took NINE runs. Courtney and I quit before exhaustion caused a crash and burn scenario. She had a business trip in Utah the next day.

snowboarder Courtney Lindau at Peak 7

On our way down the gondola, we met three people in the medical field from California. They all looked twenty-five because California. One was an orthopedic surgeon. Whoa! I asked him about my squeaking, squawking knee after replacement. He said that was normal for some people. YAY! Then he added the technology was so new, they don’t know how much time we have before wearing it out. Bummer. I did point out that I was pretty small and wouldn’t stress out my joints as much as a linebacker.

That boosted my confidence. It concurred with some on my online research for mule-kicking, hee-hawing knees. I tuned out the part about not knowing how much time I have on these manufactured parts.

Forecasters predicted more snow, so I planned to ski again on Sunday.

ACT III

Sunday night seven more inches dropped. A little stiff and sore from the day before, I headed out with the intention to ski a couple of runs and quit early. My son, Kelly, and I, took three chairlifts to meet his girlfriend and Danny on the top of Imperial. As we ascended into a cloud and white-out conditions, I assumed we would ski down the face.

Nope.

Danny led us to Whale’s Tail.

Whale's Tail

My favorite bowl, in the shape of its name, had just opened for the first time that weekend. Danny said it would be filled with feet of deep powder, meaning sweet, easy skiing for me.

I followed my group by sidestepping up the mountain to the steep catwalk. Yes. This was farther into the deceptive angelic clouds masking a sheer head wall on the edge of the bowl forming the tail fin.

Then it hit me.

They hadn’t skied it.

We had no idea what conditions existed. I wasn’t sure if my knee could handle heavy, deep snow.

It had been painful to ski Whale’s Tail before surgery and I hadn’t skied it since. My shoulders tightened as we hugged the mountain. Then we skied down to the edge.

I would be dropping into my favorite run from a cornice, but we were still in thick clouds and it snowed hard. We had very low visibility. I wouldn’t be able to see where I was going.

I wanted to ski down to the middle of the tail and drop into my usual spot. Everyone else wanted to drop in from the tip of the fin. I lost.

looking down whales tail

Whale’s Tail on a clear day.

I had always had skied this after several warm up runs.

This was my first run of the day.

I stood on the edge of the mountain and looked down. As everyone dropped in, they disappeared into the cloud.

FullSizeRender (7)

In the cloud.

I freaked.

Then I had a flashback to my heli-ski trip. After being dropped off on a mountaintop by helicopter the first time, I followed the group and carved fresh tracks alongside the rest. Sounds wonderful, right? My new boots dug into my calves. The skis they provided seemed way too long for me. They chattered while I carved turns in the wet, deep snow. It put tremendous stress on my knees. I didn’t know how to up-weight through the turns and fought through every one of them. I lagged behind and then watched in horror as our guide headed into the trees. I had never been a tree skier. I couldn’t control my crazy equipment.

Hail Mary’s became my mantra.

I made it through the trip and learned a lot about skiing and myself. Sometimes I had to dig deep.

This time, I took a deep breath and dropped in.

My pole sunk into the soft fin, never reaching bottom, unbalancing and thrashing me about. Unsupported and unsure, I kept my weight over my skis instead of my more aggressive stance on a steep incline.

When I turned to the left, I said, “This is your good knee.” When I turned to the right, I said, “Right turns have always been your strongest.” I said this every time, back and forth and back and forth until I reached the bottom.

As I caught my breath, I looked back up the mountain. It had cleared and the word was out. Tons of skiers learned there were fresh tracks to be made on Whale’s Tail.

skiers and boarders on Whale's Tail Breckenridge

Those dots are people along the ridge to give you scale. Scale on the fin of Whale’s Tail. Ha!

 

They hooted and hollered as they made their way down the fresh snow. Some tumbled. Others face-planted, but they all had fun in the deep snow.

My knee felt strained as if I had taken twenty runs already. Pain from tendons and muscles made me wonder if I would make it down the rest of the mountain. I wasn’t even halfway.

Danny caught up with me.

Danny skiing Whale's Tail

I was furious. “I can’t believe you took me down this. It was my first run.”

“You did great!” he said and then reminded me of rule #1: “A skier never trusts their friends. Not when there’s fresh powder.”

As I iced my knee at Vista Lodge, I swore I would never ski anything that difficult again. The orthopod’s warning rushed back and I felt like I was on borrowed time. I had to face facts.

More snow dumped in Breckenridge as we drove back to Boulder. I woke up and expected to be gimped out and limping, but my muscles only felt the usual strain after exercise. We only lost one branch in the wet snow over the weekend.

Both the trees and I survived.

If we had skied another day, would I have played it safe? Would I stick to easy runs? Keep my knee functioning as long as possible?

Nah. I’m going to wear a full-on knee brace next time.

I am kind of a Wild Child.

Do you take chances to live your life? Has fear gotten the best of you? What is holding you back?

Take a Risk or Crash and Burn

Peak 6 Breck

We experience discord of challenges throughout our lives. Our minds, bodies, environment and other people must synchronize in order to reach our destination. What if we are tested and face plant? What if we are intermediate level and find ourselves on double black? What if something in our path is too big to plow through? What if it’s too steep and we tumble down the mountain?

Some take the safe route to avoid failure, but seldom reach the finish line. Continue reading