Sunday, December 31, 2006

Brain and Body

I learned something today.

After yesterday's mental and physical work to keep my body in those ski boots and on the snow, attempting to follow instructions, I experienced that accumulation of signals. Brain and body clicked.

Jim, the director of the learning center at Tahoe Donner ski area, took me on the slopes for a couple of runs, and I came out a skier. That second time we went on the lift back to the top of the little hill, I thought, "ho boy, here I go, my legs are wobbly and I don't know how to do this." Jim is an accomplished skier and instructor, and his deftness was all my benefit. Encouraging down and down and down the slope, every turn and stop was information on a massive scale. After we finished, I continued a little way further down the slope on my own, and had the phenomenal rush of "AHA!" as gravity, my skis, and my body merged into the smooth movements of downhill skiing. For at least ten seconds.

Jim explained all the things I didn't know, and did it with metaphors I understood: Driving a car - reach for the steering wheel. Pedaling a bike, push with the right, push with the left.

I was delirious when I realized I had just learned how to ski. I looked across the snow at the spot I wanted to head for, and I went there. Magic.

How many dendrites have I triggered into growth during these two days? It occured to me that I've engaged a number of brain areas, and one that is missing is music. I decided to figure out a little tune for myself for the afternoon's runs.

I'm flat out in awe of the feeling of discovery at this level of engagement. I'm grinning, and eager for more. What can I learn next?

Where's your "aha"?

Wishing you a year of awe,

Happy New Year,

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