As I drove from Denver, I realized how many memories I had associated with my destination. It wasn't just another trip; it was a journey to a location that held the promise of alternate realities from my past, and the psychoanalyzing began to be louder than my road trip place list and more illuminating than the sun's reflection off the snow-covered peaks in the distance.
Aspen is the place I first learned to ski when I was 25 years old.
Having a house in Aspen on my vision board was the reason I fired my first Executive Coach. He told me to be more realistic.
My first Google Voice number had an Aspen area code because I had decided I might live there one day.
I gave my first travel-focused keynote speech to the Colorado Board of Tourism in Aspen.
I looked at wedding venues in Aspen with my ex.
As I drove in, all of these memories came rushing back, and I thought to myself, "It's time for some new memories to override these old ones."
It made me think about Michael Polen's book How to Change Your Mind and this passage on our mental processing
“Think of the brain as a hill covered in snow, and thoughts as sleds gliding down that hill. As one sled after another goes down the hill, a small number of main trails will appear in the snow. And every time a new sled goes down, it will be drawn into the preexisting trails, almost like a magnet.” Those main trails represent the most well-traveled neural connections in your brain, many of them passing through the default mode network. “In time, it becomes more and more difficult to glide down the hill on any other path or in a different direction. “Think of psychedelics as temporarily flattening the snow. The deeply worn trails disappear, and suddenly the sled can go in other directions, exploring new landscapes and, literally, creating new pathways.” When the snow is freshest, the mind is most impressionable, and the slightest nudge—whether from a song or an intention or a therapist’s suggestion—can powerfully influence its future course.
I was entering a completely new environment on the faith of a friend's suggestion that I show up in Aspen for an event his mentor was hosting.
I knew I needed to make some new tracks.
I knew I needed to practice the art of surrender.
I knew I needed to be present and be open to what I might learn and to who might teach me.
I had no idea I would find a whole new way of thinking and a whole new community of people who thought that way.
And no, it wasn't in the same way that Michael Polen learned to change his mind. It was in the simplicity of finding our Center in our morning sessions and on the slopes. Each morning we'd gather for a lesson from the legendary host, Thomas Crum. Our ski pros were in each morning session with us. And when we finished breakfast, we'd head out to challenge ourselves on the slopes and deepen our learnings from the morning's lecture.
The one-two punch of the lesson taught in the morning and then the physical application going down the side of a snowy Colorado Rocky Mountain was unlike any other training I've received.
It truly was the Magic of Skiing and I can't wait to return to Aspen next year with a whole new set of fresher memories and tracks in the snow to build new future paths.