I started cross-country skiing when I moved to New Hampshire. I was taking a new job. It was my first chance to do play therapy for children at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. After a stressful day’s work, cross-country skiing was a place I could to to recharge myself.
…I heard only the delicate sound of each downy flake as it hit the evergreens on either side of me on that trail through the quiet woods of deep snow…that day, my mind was sharp and focused…my body, steady with physical determination to stay balanced with each glide and to make each push-off count to send me farther and farther along that narrow trail…I remember the feeling of being totally part of all…connected to the natural world around me…and in touch with something sacred and divine…it was powerful yet peaceful…I thought to myself, as I ski, I am living into the feelings New England’s poet Robert Frost expresses.
Try reading Robert Frost “Stopping by a Snowy Evening” illustrated by Susan Jeffers to your child and see if it evokes happiness. Your child can start the good feelings flowing with anything they love—a song, photograph or wonderful experience.
Even today, when I am cross-country skiing or just thinking about it, the experience can reactivate my mind in the time and space of the initial, impressionable experience. I can feel it in my body and relive it in my imagination.
My studies in social psychology and psycho-neuroimmunology introduced me to Harvard Professor Dr. Ellen Langer whose research revealed evidence of the body’s ability to return to a state of health and happiness from an earlier period of life. These reports described the powerful influence of memory to effect improved physiological changes, such as increases in counts of killer cells in the blood that combat disease as well as reduced blood pressure and cortisol levels overall improved perception of vigor. Our cells have memory, it’s proven.
We, ourselves, can bring forth our own state of pleasure and more importantly, resourcefulness when we need more confidence, more courage, more commitment. Here’s how:
STEP 1. RECALL a time in your life when you were in a state of resourcefulness. It could be cross-country skiing or playing a sport and making a goal or completing successfully a musical performance and hearing the audience rousing applaud. You decide—when did you feel great?
STEP 2. RE-LIVE it using all of your senses. Hear it (sound of snow falling gently); feel it (cool air through my nose and lungs); see it (beauty all around me); touch it (wet snow on my face).
STEP 3. RESOLVE yourself to never giving up on yourself. You have within you all the power you need to do what you set out to do. Reactivate your resourceful state—your cellular memory will help you know it is still there within you. It feels like—YES!