Momentum is defined as “The force or speed of movement.” Our achievement oriented, fast paced society is hooked on it. Yet we can see that speed of movement doesn’t always bring momentum towards the changes we are seeking individually or collectively.
My family recently went skiing in Tahoe. My youngest daughter was stretching herself to move past the bunny slope and stay with the group, when we came upon a man made ski jumping course with one launching ramp after another. She watched her sister and others fly down it. Determined yet scared, she decided to approach the first ramp.
Slowly she started down the shoot and up the ramp only to stall out half way up and slide back down to a stop. She then had to traverse around the jump to the other side and try again. I watched her try over and over again, never making it, always sliding backwards to a stop. Her combined effort to stay in control and make it over the top brought tears of frustration and anger at the height of the ramp and her own fear that was getting in the way.
I’m a huge fan of baby steps. They are a comfortable and often strategic way to move forward in challenging times. After watching Aria I was reminded that baby steps can’t always get you up and over.
I also saw that Aria was building momentum, even though to her it felt like dismal failure. I was taken by her determination, as she approached a ramp for the eighth time. Her trial and error, mixed with the growing energy of her emotions gave her the momentum to successfully tackle the last ramp with all her might.
Momentum requires letting go and pushing forward all at the same time. The emotions that we typically feel when we are stuck: frustration, anger, agitation, regret; can be used to fuel momentum if we are aware of their energies and focused on channeling them.
Staying on life’s bunny slopes might make us feel greater “speed of movement”, but preparing for leaps, including the pauses in between, is a force in itself. You can fall down and get up over and over again. You can even slide backwards in life and still be moving forward.
How can you redefine momentum in your life right now? I'd love to know.
ps. Having no photo of my daughter in action, I went to YouTube and found tons of footage of ski jumps gone bad. The one I included above is visceral inspiration for times when baby steps are not an option.