Updated: May 26
After college, I took a job as a summer camp counselor on the shores of a beautiful lake in Maine. We counselors arrived before camp to help set things up. After the day’s work we were allowed to enjoy some of the camp features. Never having done so before, I joined the water skiing group.
I don’t remember if I made it to my feet that first day or not, but I kept at it until the moment came when I rose precariously out of the water and I was skiing!
At first, I could only stare fixedly at the triangle of water behind the boat and between the wake in front of me, but one afternoon, in a fit of courage, I raised my eyes to the boat and saw four people waving their arms. They were all yelling, “stand up, stand up!!
“I am!” I yelled back. “I am.”
But I wasn’t. I felt like I was standing up. In my minds eye, I was standing as straight as everyone else. My belief was that I was standing up straight, when, in fact, I wasn’t.
I was completely hunched over, almost 90 degrees hunched over, and I had no clue.
I even argued my position with my friend one evening. Even though she was the one who could see what I looked like, even though she was my living mirror, in my mind I was standing up straight and so I was just hurt and bewildered and still convinced that I was standing up as straight.
And then one day, I got tired and sort of pushed into my skis to stretch …. And I stood up.
In my humble opinion, this is a fabulous object lesson about the unconscious limiting beliefs that we live with. I was skiing along, happy as a clam, not knowing that I was hunched over. Absolutely 100% oblivious.
And skiing along, completely hunched over like the letter ‘C’ didn’t allow me to jump the wake, didn’t allow me to get up much speed. Skiing hunched over like the letter ‘C’ limited my freedom to fully express what was possible while water skiing.
And when it was pointed out to me, I resisted it. My belief was that strong! No! I ***am*** standing up! It was hard for me to see my unconscious belief because I couldn’t see me clearly.
Now, if we’d had cell phones back then, I am absolutely certain that someone would have taken great delight in capturing my curled up self on video, hunched over those skis and I would have had full color feedback complete with audio as a direct line of sight into my unconscious belief.
Wouldn’t that be great - if we could have videos that would show us our unconscious beliefs?
We kind of do, you know. The world around us. Our friends and family and our affairs do reflect to us what we deeply believe, if we’re willing to look.
And if we are willing, then once we see them - freedom! Choice!
And so it was on that day when I stood up on those water skis: the belief and its crippling limitation was made instantly clear.
Because once I stood up, I instantly had more freedom. I had greater control over where I went. I began to jump the wake with my two skis, then I graduated to one ski - and that yielded even more freedom. All things I couldn’t have done while curled up in my unconscious C.
When we are unwilling to be open to investigating the beliefs that we hold and how they may be limiting us, we are committing to a life lived with blinkers on, a life that is constrained by those limitations. As long as I was curled up on those skis, I was unable to have a broader experience of that aspect of life.
If I unconsciously believe that I am less than or unlovable, I will argue for that. When someone praises me I will deflect the praise, it will make me feel uncomfortable, even while another part of me may long to be able to take it in.
We will argue all day and night for our limitations, until the day we see them for the untruths that they are, until we stand up and realize that we’ve been skiing through life bent over.
Where might you hold yourself back, where might you be gripping tightly to a belief that holds you down, keeps you small, keeps you in fear? I invite you to look at where in your life you find yourself defensive - and to ask yourself, what are you defending?
I invite you to stand up, stand up for your highest self, for your highest possibilities, for the highest consciousness you can hold so that you can live your best life while here on planet earth.