"I have so much work, ideas are storming in my brain, so today I’m going to get up, walk to my desk, and begin work early. There’ll be no skating this morning because it takes up too much time and I don’t have the space for it." These are the words I say when a deadline is looming, but more often than not, four hours later I’m staring at my computer, nothing has come out, and I’m realizing that I would’ve returned from figure skating already.
But I’m not one who likes to be beaten by fear, so I began venturing to the rink four days per week. Within two months my first skates were broken down and I needed a more competitive pair. By six months, I was being asked if I wanted to try competing in the adult arena. “Adults compete?” I asked. The answer was yes, and a year later I found myself competing at the Adult United States Figuring Skating Competition.
Now after six years, skating is my sanctuary. When I step onto the ice, stress disappears. There are so many details I have to focus on that I can’t hear the normal brain chatter: shoulder position, knee bend, how I push off the blade, and the latest lesson from my coach. I’m still afraid of falling, but I push through.
On-ice lessons transfer to my work life. Sometimes fear holds me back in my writing but if I push through like I do with my skating I get tremendous rewards. In competition, nerves take hold, but I’ve learned to relax, to allow imperfections in performances and to grow with each moment. The same rings true for my writing – if I can let go of making that first pass perfect then the writing flows. But more than anything, the ice gives me sanctuary. It allows me to move and get the blood flowing to my brain. It takes up many hours of my day, which forces me to focus and get more accomplished in less hours. And more than anything it brings joy to my life, which is always good for the writing soul.