Volume 1, Number 4
February 10, 2005
In this issue:
Happy almost Valentines Day, Gang!
Nope, I won't be writing about the wonders of love this month. No references to pudgy winged toddlers with bows at the ready, thank you very much...
Don't get me wrong - I'm a romantic at heart. It certainly gets cold up in the Northcountry this time of year, and I do appreciate the gifts of love, companionship and warmth. It's just that there's so much more to mid-winter than cozying up together indoors. So many other ways to say "I love you."
This month we'll take a look at one of those other things this cold season is made for: Skiing. A little passion I've been chasing for over 44 years. Kind of a hobby to pass the time...
Before we move on to "Turning" - this month's feature story - I want to offer a special thanks to readers who responded to my nephew Michael's (Ven. Mahinda) request for Tsunami relief efforts. His goal was met and, last I heard, double what he had initially set out to raise. If you'd like to know more about Michael's journeys in Sri Lanka, here's an article in Dartmouth's on-line news.
A hearty welcome to our new subscribers. It's a pleasure to have you along! Continued gratitude to those of you who have passed "DadsNews" on to friends, family, and others. I'm grateful to y'all for spreading the love. Please keep passing "DadsNews" around!
If you're not yet a regular recipient, then please accept this invitation to jump aboard!
So friends, settle in, get cozy, and join me in celebrating three generations of turning.
Oh, and drop me a line - I love to hear from you...
Feature Story: Turning
As I tell my clients - when they find themselves wrestling with gremlins that hold them back from claiming the stuff they're really good at - "If it's true, it ain't bragging!"
Yeah, I know... I heard it somewhere too... All that stuff about being humble...
I think Rabbi Hillel gave some perspective to the "humble" trap when he said, "If I am not for myself, Who will be for me? (The rest of the quote is below...) Hey, go ahead and toot your horn when you have something to toot about. The world needs people who are willing to stand up and say - without apology - "This is what I'm good at!"
For me, one of those things "I'm good at" is skiing.
My Dad introduced me to this thing that has become so much more than a "sport" for me. He plopped me down on a pair of skis when I was two and a half, (he started in college) and I've been turning ever since. To be honest, I ski better than I walk. Don't know why - I just seem to have a better feel for the snow than I do for the sidewalk.
At some point, skiing became a creative outlet for me. Sure, there's writing, drawing, painting, cooking - that's all good, good stuff. It's wonderful to look around and see my artwork hanging on the walls. It's great to sit down and write a piece that sends folks on an emotional field-trip. I do enjoy cooking amazing meals for and with people I love. But skiing - the feel of a sharp edge laying down a gloriously rounded arc at high speed - or slicing down a steep face that, seconds before, had my heart in my throat - that, my friends, is an expressive act so viscerally alive and in the moment that words just don't... Well, they just don't!
Having a passion is one thing. Sharing it is quite another. A couple of weeks ago, I took my son up to "our mountain," as he calls it, for his first day of the season. He had been out a number of days last year, on both his cross-country and downhill skis, and had earned his first chairlift ride after learning to turn both ways and stop. Evidently, something happened between this season and last - some new connection was established - and a bit of self-expression made it's way into Cai's skiing.
After a couple of straight runs down the beginner's area, I showed Cai how to "squish a bug" to steer his skis. Thinking that was a goofy, fun trick, he went off on a bug squashing rampage. Within two runs, he was turning all over the place, wearing a broad "if it's true, it ain't bragging" kind of grin.
I thought, "That's kinda cool! He's skiing!" And he was...
I hadn't pushed him at all. Didn't have any expectation that he'd "get it" so quickly. In fact, I'd pretty much planned on spending the whole afternoon with him without any attachment to his performance. I was quite happy to trade my usual high-speed adrenaline fix for straight-lining the beginner hill with Cai 'til the cows came home.
We ended up finishing the day with three great runs together on the chairlift. "Which way do you want to go?" I asked, letting Cai call the shots. It was time very, very well spent, full of surprise.
As Cai snoozed in the back of the car on the drive home, tired and red-cheeked from all that turning, I thought back on days shared on the hill with my brother and sisters, my nephews, my racers and the men and women I worked and played with years ago at Jackson Hole and Killington. I thought about the pictures of me standing between my Dad's skis as a two-year old...
Then I thought back to just two days earlier, when my Father was with me for his first day this season. He brought out a brand-spankin' new pair of skis that I'd talked him into buying for himself - and in all the years we've been skiing together, I can't recall seeing him look better or more relaxed on his skis. It was a treat to see!
Nothing in all of this to be humble about. I'm proud of my Son, proud of my Father, and I continue to carve a mighty fine turn, if I do say so myself!
This Friday is my Father's seventy-eighth birthday, and we're planning on spending it on the hill. Over the weekend I'll take Cai up again, and we'll squish some more bugs, make some more turns.
You can look for us if you want. I'll be wearing a blue helmet, black pants, red and white jacket, red skis and boots... Oh - and if that description doesn't help, just look for a short guy with big legs - and a wild, toothy grin three generations wide...
What's a passion of yours that builds bridges across generations?
When was the last time you laughed so hard it hurt?
Quote of the Month
Here's the good Rabbi's quote, all in one piece:
"If I am not for myself, Who will be for me?
If I am only for myself, What am I?
If not now, When?"
On the workshop and teleclass front, Melanie Keveles and I will be offering an introduction to our incredibly fun creativity teleclass, "Nibbled by the Muse" on Thursday, March 3rd at 12:00 Noon, EST. You got maybe a creative urge that doesn't want to go away? What, your Muse is calling, and you can't find the receiver to pick up? Have we got a class for you, and the introduction won't cost you a cent! Walk this way - we'd love to have you with us. Drop me a line to register or ask questions.
The full four-part "Bitten By the Muse" teleclass begins March 10, 2005. Here's what some folks have to say about it:
“I am now very much centered with the fact that I’m an incredibly creative person. I’m even somewhat artistic. I’ve more confidence in myself, and more trust…”
“Suddenly I got that I could just sit down and write a book. It’s a breakthrough in my ability to see the actual possibility of writing something that people will pick up and read!”
“I'm bitten - I mean smitten...”
Dates: March 10, 17, 31 & April 7, 2005
Time: 11 AM to 12:15 PM EST.
Tuition: $99 (Such a deal!)
Registration - point thine cursor hither: I wanna take a bite!
Also in the teleclass department, Dovid Grossman - outdoor educator, Rabbi, and Father of 9 - and I are in the middle of leading a wonderful series of classes for Dads on Coachville's "Awesome Dads" community. Come on by on Monday evenings.
More Fatherly resources are available on the Cirrus site.
My buddy Sean LeClaire recently challenged me to come up with a three-word description of my purpose as a coach. "Hmmmm," said I, "Three words, eh?"
"Three words," said Sean.
After turning it over for a few days, it hit me like a ton o' bricks - without all that red dust, of course: "Reveal creative essence."
That kind of says it all... I'm setting up sample appointments for the first two weeks in March. Ready for a 30-minute test drive? Let's set it up! On the house, of course!
Feedback for DadsNews - or a simple "howdy!" - is always welcome. Send me a note!
More cool stuff is available at the Cirrus Leadership website!
Next issue of DadsNews: March 10, 2005. Until then, answer those creative urges, have fun and try something new and different!!!
DadsNews ©2005, Kenneth Mossman, Cirrus Leadership® - Use and distribution permitted and encouraged, providing attribution is... well, attributed!