or Connect
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Are you experienced?

post #1 of 53
Thread Starter 
You knew it was just a matter of time...

I am going to make a statement. It is not a statement of fact but a statement of belief.

The instant you become conscious of what you are doing, you are no longer in the moment. You are "out of the experience."

There are two ways to pull out of the experience. One is to judge your performance (use the word evaluate if that suits you) and the other is to perceive the totality of the experience, your surroundings, you in it, also known as awareness.

All you need to change is awareness. The standard of excellence is within you.

Great teachers do not need to teach what to do, but how to perceive what is happening.

A beginning skier does not need to be told what to do, but how to ask the skis to perform as desired. This partnership WTG talks about--let's call it a relationship--between skier and ski is where the love starts. Want to create romance? Teach the beginner how to observe, remember, and compare. (The art of skiing is so close to the art of love...but we won't go there.) That is, how to perceive what is happening, how to connect what happens when you do this to what happens when you do that, how to translate the feedback s/he is receiving by every action from the environment and the equipment and his/her own body (all foreign to this new sport).

Progressions that do not teach how to play the skis are merely a way for teachers to pass the time.
post #2 of 53
ok, what if I am aware that it feels really good and I'm having great pleasure - how do you charactarize that?
post #3 of 53
Thread Starter 
post #4 of 53
So whenever I am feeling good and having a good time, and I am aware of that, that's perception, and I am not "in the moment" and I am "out of the experience"?
post #5 of 53
Thread Starter 
You tell me, Oboe.

When you are making love, can you be alternatively in the experience or outside of it? You are either un-self-conscious or self-conscious. As soon as you become self-conscious, you are out of the experience and either perceiving or judging the act.

When you are in the experience, there is nothing but the experience. You get out of yourself. This is very refreshing, as I'm sure you would agree.
post #6 of 53
I gotta tell ya, nolo, this one is a non-starter for me. While making love, I damned well am aware that I am doing so and that I'm enjoying myself. What's the point you're trying to make? What application to skiing, learning or teaching does this have? How many angels can dance on the head of a pin? If a man speaks in the forest and no woman hears him, is he still wrong?

[ June 22, 2002, 11:25 AM: Message edited by: oboe ]
post #7 of 53
Nolo, didn't anyone ever tell you that mansex is different from womansex?
post #8 of 53
[WARNING--this spring board hovers perilously over the deep end....]

Ah yes, it was just a matter of time before our discussions here came full-circle! Skiing and life--parallels, the macrocosm and the microcosm, the perfect blend of mind, body, spirit, of technique, tools, physics, and philosophy, of mountains and metaphysics....

(You're right, Powder lurkers--you probably DON'T get it. Don't even try!)

Even our most technical discussions have sometimes broached the deepest mysteries of the universe, the paradoxes of the infinite (see "How do you make a perfect turn?"). Even the most seemingly concrete and practical things--basic movements on skis--entail acts of faith.

And now this! Great topic for a smokey Saturday here in Colorado, Nolo (yes, we're still on fire, and there hasn't been enough rain to hit the ground in weeks).

This has nothing to do--and it has everything to do--with ski technique!

But Nolo--who's to say that the instant I become conscious of what I'm doing, what I'm doing does not now shift to become this very act of consciousness, and that therefore, I am very much still "in the moment"? Cannot "the moment" transcend itself to encompass my self-awareness?

Is not this capability for self-awareness perhaps the essence of being human? Is it not what, ultimately, makes any experience truly worthwhile--the fact that we are aware that we have HAD the experience? And is it not essential for directing learning, and even for this very conversation here at EpicSki to exist? To be "in THE moment" entails excluding all other moments and all extraneous thoughts from our consciousness. While it may be an enviable state to flirt with, if we lived there, we could not discuss it! We could not appreciate it. And we'd never know we were there!

(Just kidding!)

(Just kidding?)

Not to suggest that these reflections are anything but practical, but getting back to ski technique, and the role of awareness.... It is true that optimal performance requires completely immersing ourselves "in the moment." As you said so well, Nolo, total awareness of all that is relevant, and only what is relevant, requires 100% of our mental focus and perception. Thus, it precludes judgement/evaluation and precludes even the awareness of the state of awareness that we are in--at "the moment."

This sort of focus is rare indeed. I've seen it in the very top level of the world's elite athletes, and I believe it is what seperates them from "second best." They have the ability to completely block out everything that is not relevant to their performance, and they can do this (almost) at will. The intriguing discussion/poll of "experience vs. performance" takes on new importance when we recognize that "experience" and "performance" are very much mutually exclusive!

There are only a few times when I believe I've approached truly being 100% "in the moment" myself. Most of them involve whitewater, many of them involve skiing, but ALL of them involve intense situations with life-and-death significance. "Weren't you scared?" people ask me. And the answer is absolutely, "no"--didn't have time to be scared! Didn't even think of it! Was not aware of it. Perception, instantaneous action, unfiltered reaction, performance, adrenaline--with no judgement, no evaluation, no fear, total focus only on "the moment".... "The experience," along with the fear, comes only later, after the fact, when you can step back and look at the bigger picture with your SELF in it, evaluate your actions, and think about the dangers that could have been....

[EDIT--in rereading my own post, I am surprised and fascinated by the observation that I left out even the WORD "I" in so many sentences in the preceding paragraph! It was not intentional.]

"I became lost in the moment." What a profound statement! When it happens to you, "the moment" is all there is. The "I" and "the moment" become one, inseparable.

Perhaps the fact that I can even remember these experiences suggests that I was truly not quite all the way there, "lost" in the moment. I don't know. I treasure these experiences, rare as they are. They are both frightening--in retrospect--and intensely, profoundly, satisfying. Perhaps some people experience this more often, and have found more ways to induce it. Meditation, narcotics, who knows--there may be many other routes to the same place. I suspect, though, that many people will live their entire lives without ever once experiencing this temporary "loss of self."

"Pure performance," "the Zone," call it what you want--it entails in some ways total abandonment of "control." It is frightening. It literally means letting go of yourself, while at the same time trusting in yourself, 100%. Only then can we expect to discover our true potential. And it is amazing what we can do when we devote 100% of our mental, physical, and emotional resources to...ANYTHING! Ah--just to GLIMPSE this potential, just once....


As much as true PERFORMANCE requires entering "the Zone," total sensory awareness without judgement or distraction, the self on "autopilot," and so on, LEARNING requires evaluation, judgement, understanding, conscious practice. Becoming what is NOT (one way to define "learning") requires stepping out of the moment, over-riding the "self" as it IS, evaluating, practicing, CHANGING.

Of course, learning WILL happen without such evaluation, but I will have no say in what I learn if I don't direct it mySELF! If I want to learn something in particular, some goal of my own choosing, I have to CONTROL my environment and my activities and experiences within it--not just perceive and react to them. I have to direct my movements intentionally, often disregarding my "natural instincts" and conflicting learning, and even disregarding the negative feedback--the discomfort, pain, unfamiliarity, awkwardness, fear, embarrassment, and so on, that often accompanies learning new things.

All right, enough already! I'm going out on my bike--to see if I can get lost!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes

[ June 22, 2002, 12:57 PM: Message edited by: Bob Barnes/Colorado ]
post #9 of 53
Thread Starter 

How would you know?


I'm trying to sort something out. If you don't want to play, don't play.

It seems to me that our mainstream teaching practices are geared to performance/judgment and not learning/perceiving. Yet we have tentatively stated that "experience" is more enjoyable as perceived than judged.

Therefore, my hypothesis is that our official methodology is not satisfying a large chunk of the population who want to learn how to ski.

Early in the process of formulating this official methodology, we made an error. We thought teaching was the regurgitated wisdom of masters, or experts, who have only to explain and demonstrate in order for students to learn.

Accordingly, we analyze what the experts do and break it down into progressions, tasks, and exercises. The idea being that a student learns through a sequence that makes sense to the expert.

The teaching methodlogy is intended to replicate expert performance in a short period of time.

It doesn't work, and this is why. A person doesn't learn by being exposed to an expert's predigested insights. A person learns by coming to insights on his own.

Our profession needs a new methodology that facilitates the student's learning journey, instead of one in which I extract all that I have learned on my journey and present it to the student as a short-cut.

I believe our current accepted methodology removes people from the learning experience--it "steals the learning" from them. We need a new methodology that defines mastery as the ability to facilitate another's learning, not merely the ability to "show & tell."

I'm sorry if this thread does nothing for you. It has helped me sort out some of the past day's conversations.
post #10 of 53
ooooooooooooooooooooooooommmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm mmmm
mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm mmmmmmmmm

[ June 22, 2002, 10:06 PM: Message edited by: Ydnar ]
post #11 of 53
************************************************** ***************************
This post completely unrelated to this thread (I think). I need some computer help!
************************************************** ***************************

[EDIT--The problem this post refers to has been resolved (thanks Yd!). I'll leave the post here for the sake of continuity.]

All right, what have I done? All of a sudden, the text on my screen refuses to wrap--it just runs on way beyond the window borders, IN THIS THREAD ONLY. Is this happening to anyone else? I've refreshed the page, restarted Windows, checked all my Preferences settings, can't figure it out.

I was about to post a message in the Site Administration section, where it probably belongs, but the problem seems to afflict only this one thread. Any ideas?

Ydnar--is it possible that your post with the one lo-o-o-ng word has caused this problem? On my screen, your post is unique in that its border is farther over to the left than any other post, for no reason that I can see. Anyone else experiencing this? I'm grasping at straws....

Thanks everyone. Sorry for the interruption!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes

[ June 23, 2002, 08:54 AM: Message edited by: Bob Barnes/Colorado ]
post #12 of 53
It's not you, it's Ydnar's last post - it has forced this thread to go wider than normal and shift everyone's replies to it over to the left. All we need him to do is put in a few spaces, or shorten his reply!

post #13 of 53
Yep, Fox--I was thinking the same thing, editing my post as you were posting.

Ydnar--a space or two, if you please....

post #14 of 53
Who butchered this thread? This is really interesting stuff, get it fixed so I don't lose what little hair I have left trying to read this thing.

post #15 of 53
DAMN!!! Now I even have to traverse on a ski message board! Geez!
post #16 of 53
Originally posted by nolo:
...A person learns by coming to insights on his own.

Our profession needs a new methodology that facilitates the student's learning journey, instead of one in which I extract all that I have learned on my journey and present it to the student as a short-cut.
Nolo, as a learner in life, I have to agree 100% with what you said.
I don't want short cuts.
That's not how you get solutions. It may be how you get fixes, but not solutions.
I like being lazy at times and taking short cuts, but they don't solve the problem, only brush it under the carpet until the next time.

To apply this to skiing: don't teach me to ski like you, teach me to ski like me.

post #17 of 53

To read this thread, until
Ydnar's post is edited, click
on the "printer-friendly view"
link in the lower left-hand
corner. Works for me!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #18 of 53
Originally posted by Wear the fox hat ?:

To apply this to skiing: don't teach me to ski like you, teach me to ski like me.

Love it, WTFH!
post #19 of 53
Lisamarie made a funny.
post #20 of 53
Nolo, read a romance novel, then watch a porno movie. You'll know.
post #21 of 53
Thread Starter 

Hahaha! So few words, so much to say.


Great, wonderful, insightful, useful, relevant POST!!!! Thank you for hanging it out there with me. I'd like to respond to this:

Perhaps the fact that I can even remember these experiences suggests that I was truly not quite all the way there, "lost" in the moment.
I think you actually improve your memory of the event by opening your senses to it instead of being distracted by a running commentary. The commentary gets in the way of your observation, which affects what you remember about it. You definitely need to remember, or you won't be able to compare what happened with what you had intended to happen and get some clues about why.

I need to give credit to Horst Abraham for this thread--he's a big advocate of changing the teaching model from dependence on "masters of technique" to "masters of adaptive learning," that is, the ability to help a student adapt his repertoire of knowledge, skills, and abilities to the new challenge and in the process grow bigger, gain more courage, and become more confident about the next one on the horizon.
post #22 of 53
The instant you become conscious of what you are doing, you are no longer in the moment. You are "out of the experience."

There are two ways to pull out of the experience. One is to judge your performance (use the word evaluate if that suits you) and the other is to perceive the totality of the experience, your surroundings, you in it, also known as awareness.

Man, I don't know what the difference is. Let me use another sport with this thought and see how it flies.

You're Rusty Wallace. You're in a car doing 200 mph with other racers on your bumpers doing 200 mph. You're aware of every little thing going on around you (the feel of the track--is it tacky, is it loose), of everything about your car (how it sounds, feels, if it's pushing, etc), of other drivers, of Strategy, of skill levels you have and those of others and how they play into your strategy. All of this is firing the synapses like mad and old Rusty is Wired to the Max.

Are you saying that if he becomes "aware" then he is no longer "in the moment"? I'd have to say, IMHO, that if Rusty, for one second, became unaware , that he'd be in the freakin wall and taking others with him.

Skiing is the same way. You can be both aware and in the moment. In skiing, you have terrain, equipment and skill all playing important parts. In racing, you have terrain, equipment, and skill, Plus strategy. (some extreme skiers have strategy too, I would imagine).

But to teach Rusty Wallace a better way to race? How would you do that? Then apply it to skiing.

Better yet, maybe it isn't just skill and teaching methods after all. Perhaps it's just a matter of innate ability and Passion. You can teach a person to write a song, play the piano, but he will never write like Mozart. You can drill all the teaching methods into me you want, I will still never be Jonny Mosely.

milesb--what if women made porno's? :
post #23 of 53
Thread Starter 

Thank you for saying that about teaching you how to ski more like you. That's exactly what I'm saying.


I apologize, because I think my clumsy language hasn't carried my meaning. Have you had experiences where you are so involved that you are surprised that so much time has gone by, or so little (more about that in a moment). People talk to you and you don't hear them at all. You are so into doing it you don't have to think about it, you just do it--your intent flows through you without conscious effort.

My last downhill. I was forerunner at a JO qualifier. The experience lasted a little over a minute. I recall the experience 1) as if it was yesterday and 2) in the tiniest detail, as though it was out of time. The needles of the pine branches marking the two jumps, comments made by people standing along the course, a blackbird in the sky, the sound of the skis most of all. You would think I was dilly-dallying, but I actually posted a respectable time.

That was 20 years ago. Damn, that was a good one! These experiences are going to keep me in my old age.
post #24 of 53
Originally posted by Bonni:
milesb--what if women made porno's? :
That French film Romance was made by a woman, I think. and Baise Moi, not sure about that one (they just banned it here).

as to the topic, I cannot imagine trying this stuff on a group of 8 or more beginners. And I have a notion that if someone started it up with me, it'd be gill-grabbing time again.
post #25 of 53

Sorry, sorry, sorry.

I'm just a ski instructor and sometimes Buddhist who drew the bow and waited for the target until I knew not which was being drawn the bow or i. If i could just achieve oneness with the computer this never would have happened.

post #26 of 53

You're a butcher.
post #27 of 53
One of the best "tips" I've ever recieved was at Taos from a ski scool supervisor who graduated from Madison Memorial HS(small world). He said,"the bump you're on is history, you're already committed to the next one, the only thing you can do anything about is the one after". I had a great run and when I got to the bottom I said: "DUH! How many years have I been telling kids to look two gates ahead".
My point is this, as soon as you become "aware" of the present moment, you're frozen in the past. Bode Miller or Rusty Wallace can't afford to "stop" in the present. They have to stay ahead of it. That's what "being in the zone" is about. Kids who focus on "clearing" the slalom poles get stuck in the past and aren't ready for what's beyond the gate. When I drive auto-cross I focus on the apex and exit to the turn. If I look at the entrance I turn in too early or "pinch" the turn.
post #28 of 53
Nolo had to bring up sex!

When I was a teenager I started to worry about how I would do in the unlikely event I'd "get lucky" while on vacation at the beach.

I was always a worrier as a kid.

Why did I think this might happen while on vacation? This may become a Sigi tale.

Anyway, I asked my older brother to help me prepare. I wanted specifics. I wanted a manual. I wanted to know exactly what I was to do and, believe it or not, I wanted a physiological roadmap.

He told me not to sweat the small stuff, that folks had been dealing with this issue for a long time and that I would take to it like a duck to water.

I wonder if the folks from the hinterland have these same worries on the bus trip to Eldora?

I don't quite know how to say this.....some of them never quite consumate the act!

P.S. There was no need to worry. I had about as much chance of meeting Miss Right on the beach in New Jersey as I did being mauled by a great white shark. Alas.....
post #29 of 53
Thread Starter 

You grok. I read that book a few times at a formative age. I think I heard it had some good sex stuff in it, and then I got snookered by the exciting ideas.


We have assumed that there is a learning hierarchy, and that novices should be taught one way (repetition, command style, progression, task), intermediates another, and we've (ski schools) pretty much written off the really good skiers to the specialty camps and/or drafted them into the ski school as instructors.

Horst says that there is a discernible flow pattern in all learning journeys, and that it is cyclical, and it ALWAYS begins when you are a novice. Just as we are really teaching novices the movements that will come together as advanced skiing, given time, attention, and practice, so we should be empowering and supporting the novice skier so that he or she can complete the learning cycle and move to the next stage of growth. If we don't, we may lose them or later we may have to ask them to "unlearn" something we taught early in their experience about how to learn this sport.

This is often the case with higher level skiers who have become dependent on the teacher to tell them how they're doing. Continuing to get a steady diet of feedback and reinforcement stunts their growth. I think that we should be wary of this dependency from the start!

So, I recommend teaching all students how to communicate with their equipment, how to listen for the answering response to your offer, how to define goals and objectives, and how to measure and/or process the result.

The foundation of this approach is that everyone is so unique that they require a completely customized approach. I believe Faith Popcorn would say that this teaching method is close to her concept of "co-parenting" a product or service. Wedding planners co-parent, for example. M&Ms co-parented the choice of purple M&Ms with its customers.

This method doesn't just give customers a say, it makes them the Master and the teacher the Servant of their learning process.

It really turns the old model on its head.

See http://www.hyperchangecafe.com/White...p_learning.htm

This article was written from a perspective of great experience by one of our foremost teachers.

As one of my favorite philosophers says, "This should be taken to heart." (Maybe the second level of grokking.)
post #30 of 53
It's no wonder that the famous Himalayan mystics hang out on top of great mountains....

You are right, Nolo--one of the most significant attributes of these "in the moment," total-focus, loss of self-consciousness experiences (I guess we could use a name here) is the clarity and detail of our recollection of them. While intenesely aware of all the relevant details of the experience in "the moment," we are totally UNaware of our awareness of these details, of our awareness of the experience itself, with OURself in it. We don't think, "wow--I'm having one of those experiences--I'm gonna sit back and enjoy this!" We just, simply, HAVE the experience.

But when we have the opportunity to step back, out of the moment, even many years later, the recollection is shockingly vivid. Colors, details, sounds, smells, sensory cues, emotions--if they mattered then, we remember them. Time, as measured by the clock, was never relevent, and you are right--I could never, from even the most vivid images, tell you how long any of these experiences actually took, in seconds. If it is a timed event, like a race, the time on the clock usually comes as a surprise!

We often assume, with some degree of envy on my part, that DOGS live in the moment all the time. Perhaps they do. There is no judgement, no wishing things were other than they are--they just deal with what is. If they are hungry, and there's food, they eat (can't see them worrying about their beltlines). If they're hungry and there is NO food, they don't eat. They stay hungry. Perhaps they LOOK for food. But I really don't think they go around WISHING there was food, or feeling sorry for themselves. While they obviously dream, I don't think dogs DAYdream. When they're awake they're right there, in the moment. Stimulus--Response. No evaluation. No pretending. No regrets. And no actual awareness that they are in the moment, as opposed to some alternative.

On a baser level, but staying with the discussion, when dogs copulate, they may well experience pleasure, but I don't think either party thinks to him/herself "wow--I'm getting lucky! And what a doll--can't wait to tell my buddies." And I'll drop this line of thought right here. Dogs are cool.

At least I imagine them so. They SEEM to be that way. Who cares if it's all in my mind? (Cats, on the other hand, I perceive to be evil little creatures, full of pretense and guile....)

Unfortunately, and perhaps as an inevitable consequence of this state, I don't believe that dogs APPRECIATE that they live "in the moment." We humans have that ability, but the ability to appreciate it so ironically and tragically conflicts with our ability to experience it in the first place!

Thanks for mending your post, Yd. It certainly had altered the moment!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Ski Instruction & Coaching