The Ego Embraced - Words Of Wisdom From Hayden Price
I have been incredibly blessed to have never had a serious injury requiring surgery. I recover quick and my worst injuries include splinter fractured pelvis caused by rock fall and some concussions going back to my downhill mountain bike race days.
In December I joined Thayne Rich, Whit Boucher, Jake Teuton, filmer Jeremy Lato and photographer Jeff Cricco up in Revelstoke, B.C. for the "Revy Super Sampler" and online gallery for Freeskier.com. https://strafeouterwear.com/
revelstoke-super-sampler/ A day of resort skiing, a day of ski touring, a day of snowmobiling, a day of cat skiing and one day of helicopter skiing. (The weather never permitted for heli skiing and it became another snowmobile day.) We began the journey from the Revelstoke base.
We skied the side country and found incredible snow!
We ended the day back on top of the 5700' groomer back to the bottom. Goofing off and buttering around on all the rollers, we chose one to set up and try to get a couple shots. The roller didn't drop away the way it looked like resulting in less airtime on the maneuver I was doing. A seemingly nothing roller ended being the icy roll that took it's toll! I stretched my MCL. I have been riding my stationary bike and at the same time completing real estate school online while riding the bike. Getting me strong and adding something new to my repertoire at the same time, I like to multitask.
This injury has brought a lot of things to light for me. Something that I wanted to address coming into this season was my relationship with my ego. We hear it all the time that our ego is something to avoid or suppress. When in fact this is the very fire that fuels the ego. That which resists, persists. Meaning the more we resist our ego and treat it as something bad the more we will continue to have a problem with it. This mental game plays out in beautiful fashion being a pro athlete. The mental battle has real world repercussions for bad judgement. Every time I fall or slip up I can easily see how "my ego got in the way" and prevented me from being perfectly present. If I am totally present, I will stomp the trick and nail the line every time. So how does one get to the point where they are not bombarded by thoughts of self, when all your friends are watching you hit a jump? To remain focused on the task at hand regardless of what the little voices are saying inside your head. That is your ego coming out in full force. The self critical, over analyzing, second guessing chiming in of your psyche. That is not you. That is the voice in your head, you are the one perceiving the voice are you not? The ego does not care what it blabbers about as long as it has something to attach itself to, good, bad, it's indifferent. It will however use the heavy artillery first and foremost. Knocking you down and preventing you from trying things you are unsure of doing. This of course is a great safety mechanism and serves us well in preventing us from doing that we are not ready to do. But we are living on the edge right! I often say "If you're not living life on the edge you're taking up too much space!" All the fun stuff happens on the edge. While this applies to skiing and the exposure,risk, and reward involved I extend this same "edge"mentality to all aspects of my life and my experience. The edge of my willingness, compassion, ability is where all growth happens. So what happens when an injury comes along? The ego flares up like wild! " See I told you couldn't!" says the ego. This and many other unhealthy mental habits form when things slow us down in life. It has been a roller coaster seeing that battle go on in my head. By taking a step back and seeing my injury as an opportunity I have been able to gain clarity on many things in my life. This stepping back is a technique I learned from Genpo Roshi in my youth and continue to use as a guest coach at Kristen Ulmer's Ski to Live camps.(Side note, this will blow your mind and make you a better skier.) Genpo calls it "Big Mind" Zen. It is considered taboo and he has received much ridicule from the monk community of which he was a part of for over 30 years. The idea is based upon the idea that everything does exist and so does its duality. For every "is" there is an "isn't". The understanding of these two opposing ways has an understanding at the apex between the two, think of a triangle with it's peak being the acceptance of both.This is a way of living that embraces all possibilities. Any thing or event can and will likely happen at some point. (We are the result of exploding star dust after all.) For our sake this understanding gives us an open door to brilliance and infinite opportunities. One thing beyond some physical limitations on our planet that keeps us from achieving our highest potential is our ego. It pops up in nearly every moment of every day of our lives. How could we possibly "beat it"? The answer: We cannot. Understanding the ego is our best chance for freedom from it. The ego can help us from getting hurt but it also can be the cause for it. Getting "shut down" repeatedly is sometimes a sign that maybe you are pushing it too hard. Having a healthy relationship with your ego allows you to utilize it as a powerful aspect of your being. Just the simple recognition and acknowledgement that the ego is present reduces it's power to cause illusion in your life. Realize that it is something you get to witness, accept and eventually maybe even play with it. This acceptance of my injury has allowed me to see more possibilities and ways of looking at things. See that things happen "For You" not "To You" and the gifts of life are plenty.
I am back at it now, walking around the hills, scoping zones and getting stronger. "Health is Wealth" and I am honoring my body by taking time to train and recover to be better than ever!
Hayden Price is one of Icelantic's elite athletes and an all around stellar dude. Follow him on instagram @haydenzprice