This morning I walked to the front door and stared outside. Everything was white; it sparkled and flashed in my eyes. Ten inches of fresh snow covered the ground as far as I could see until the falling snow covered it across the road.
I looked at the sight and thought about what I had to get done. I had planned on doing homework all day, but none of it needed to be done immediately.
I had a little moment of freedom, and I wanted to go on adventure and find happiness in this winter-land. I decided that only by skipping school and skiing today could I reach the higher levels of my character. (Or at least that’s what I told myself.) In Minnesota winter days don’t get any better than this, especially knowing that spring and new adventures are right around the corner.
So I pulled on my long-underwear; threw on a baseball hat to cover my messy hair, and ran out the door in my ski gear.
While taking the thirty minute drive to the ski area, I started thinking about all the cool friends I’ve met – many of them are you. This network of who we are – people pursuing their purpose – just keeps continuing to grow. I’ve met talented men and women; and I’ve met teenagers who are just discovering their amazing potential. We can change people’s lives for the better. We’ve lived through a lot, and we have a lot to teach. I just feel so blessed to have all of you. Some of you are way smarter than me, and other friends I have are currently in prison for the bad choices they’ve made in their past. Some of these friends in prison I have more respect for than many free people I know. At least my friends in prison are determined to make something positive happen with their lives. They don’t walk around ungrateful, judgmental and without direction like some people who are free do. Determination is contagious. I don’t care where it’s coming from.
A saying that my prison friends have is, “Do the time; don’t let the time do you.”
I love that slogan. It reminds me that we should take back control in our lives if someone or something else is controlling us, and it’s making us unhappy. I think society is full of a lot of people who have gotten pushed around into a corner and are unhappy. I see it all the time. It’s like they don’t know how they got there and are looking for someone other than themselves to blame. It makes me mad. Our spirits are destined to be happy, and if you’re not happy, then you’re on the wrong road of life and you need to change. It’s that simple.
So as I arrived at the hill today, I looked up at the sky and realized though this isn’t a mountain, it’s still a hill to have fun on. I changed the saying to say –
“Today I’ll ski the hill. I won’t let the hill ski me.”
I kept talking to myself as I unloaded my bag and skis from the car… I was motivating myself not to be changed by what I encounter, but instead change what I encounter…
“I’m not going to let my talent be suffocated by the demanding life around me. Instead, I’m going to flip the script on my future, and I’m going to push life around with my talent.”
I saw this reciprocal power in action everywhere… I realized it’s constantly happening…
“Either the scene is going to define me, and turn me into something I’m not. Or I’m going to be the one who’s going to define myself, and change the world to the way I should see it.”
“I’m going to become a leader. I’m not going to be led by anyone who is lost.”
At the top of the hill I realized all of these things and felt more empowered to be me than I ever have. I skied the rest of the day just thinking… These are fun hills… but one day I do dream of making it to a mountain. I know through all of the challenges that I’ve faced in my life I feel like I’ve been empowered after surviving them. I have a dream where we can all feel that way after overcoming our challenges together.
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