Stay in the Right Position: What I did over Christmas break

By Jennifer Young, LMHC

This Christmas break I went skiing…sort of. It was a trip that required lots of planning. I live in Florida and snow skiing is not exactly something we do often. Prior to attempting this feat I decided to take a lesson at the local outdoor shop. Here in Florida, ski lessons happen on a carpeted conveyor belt that rises like a little hill. In fact, it is rated a blue slope…which is a middle of the road slope. It’s not a green, which is the bunny slope. So, I attempted to learn to ski on a pretty steep slope.

As I donned all the gear, which is a feat in itself, the instructor started with the basics. But something he said struck me. It was a warning, a prevention strategy. I am all about prevention of pain and this is what he said, “Stay in the right position to avoid pain.”

Wow. What a novel idea. Stay still, is the “right” position. Avoid pain. To ski and not be in pain, it’s all about your position; knees pointed this way – and bent, skis point that way – like a pizza slice, body upright, arms out front. Now, hold it. Oh yeah, and engage that core. This way, this position, is how you prevent the aftermath. Because if I was warned once, I was warned a thousand times about the pain I would feel the next day. I was almost more scared of that than I was the actual skiing. So, I held tight to that position. In fact, the lesson was really an instruction on how to hold the right position and self-correct when you fell out. I did pretty good in the lesson. I held on and self-corrected. I went down that carpet conveyor like a champ.
Then came real life. Ummm…real life. Not carpet. I made my way up in the gondola and stepped out onto the mountain. SNOW!!! Pretty amazing and slightly overwhelming. I stepped into my skis and assumed the position. Skis in the shape of a pizza, knees bent, body upright and hands out front. GO! Down I went — and down I fell. I had a few moments of skiing – twice. I did it. I held my position and I skied.

The day after I felt pretty good. I did not have any pain. There was some minor ache in my thighs but that always feels good – it lets you know you worked something! So there it was. Skiing for a Florida girl. I took one thing away from that day. I held myself in the right position and I was able to avoid the pain. I was taught the right position and I used it.

This lesson resonated with me because every day when I speak with women in recovery about pathology I know there is one position that needs to be held. I know that if you hold that position, you will avoid pain. The recovery position looks like this:

-Know who he is
-Disengage at every turn
-Manage your super traits
-Live a gentle life

It’s not an easy position and it sure as hell is not always comfortable. It’s a foreign experience for most – like skiing for a Florida girl. But bravery is crucial, desire (to be done) is required and focus is the foundation.

But, what helps the most is taking the lessons that you have been taught and using them. You have to work at each moment to hold your position. If you do, then your pain will decrease. Your thighs will ache, but that’s your sign that you’ve done your work.