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bodhisattva at the ice rink

2013 January 21
by Rachel Turiel

hh - hunkerdown7

We’ve been ice skating lately. Partly in a nod to winter exercise (after noticing that the kids were off the wall at 6pm while I scratched my head wondering, did we get any exercise today? Did we actually leave the house?); and also because it’s crazy fun.

I still get walloped by memories from Iceland Skating Rink in Berkeley (RIP) when I walk in the door of our local skating rink. Even though it’s been, oh, 27 years since I wobbled off the rink in size 6 skates to hold a styrofoam cup of Lipton’s noodle soup under the perfectly-metered stream of hot water to wake up the dormant salty broth, stepping into the freezy metallic smells of the ice rink today brings me right back.

Col and Rose skate bravely enough (wiping-out so regularly that I hardly flinch anymore when one of them is splayed horizontally on the ice) that I’m free to glide, or er, shuffle-kick around the small ice oval, singing along to Black Sabbath and then Brittney Spears, high on my own endorphins and the pure fun of it all. The kind of fun I don’t often treat myself to. The kind of fun where you realize after an hour that you have to massage your mouth out of its smiling position.

A lot has changed in 27 years. My body reacts to being a mother, frowning upon impacting anything I need to raise these children, which seems to be, well, everything. So, I skate like a happy Frankenstein,  a little stiff and awkward, singing myself around the rink.

I was laughing with one of the ice rink employees about this, about my propensity to tense against falling. “Oh, that’s exactly what you shouldn’t do,” she said. “The only thing that’ll save you is to relax your body and lean into your fear.”

The only thing that’ll save you is to relax your body and lean into your fear.

I’m trying this out.

On more than just the ice skating rink.

Happy Monday!


12 Responses leave one →
  1. January 21, 2013

    Hold on there one minute: you mean I can’t control the world and all its spinning simply by tensing my neck and shoulders? Some good might come from relaxing and leaning in to my fears? Hmm…I may just have to try that some time.

    Thanks for the reminder today, my dear. xo

  2. Anonymous permalink
    January 21, 2013

    Makes a lot of sense Rachel but still hard to retrain our body from long held habits. Still working on it.

  3. Ellie permalink
    January 21, 2013

    Oh, that’s such a great line! I’ll have to write it on a post-it note and tape it to my computer.
    Do your kids do fine without helmets? My son has gone skating a few times here in sunny CA, and the last time, no helmet, just winter hat, he fell and smacked the side of his head on the ice. I felt the familiar bad-mother twinge for not making him wear a helmet. But then 95% of the kids there didn’t have helmets either, and it didn’t seem to bother them or their parents. Sigh.

    • Rachel Turiel permalink
      January 21, 2013


      I never thought about helmets until Col fell and got a nice bruise on his forehead and said to me “have you ever fallen and felt like you stopped breathing for a second?” Same here, about 5% of kids wear helmets. I argue a little with myself over it. Part of me would bubble-wrap them every day if I could and the other part of me remembers all those years and all those kids at Iceland, no helmets required ever. They wear hats and hoods and I think they’re just fine.

      • Ellie permalink
        January 21, 2013

        Ditto to everything you said, Rachel. I have to work very hard not to want to bubble-wrap them myself (a lovely image). Only thing that gives me pause in this one instance is that my son now does not want to go back to the ice rink–not even with the lure of a friend’s birthday party there. But then my son is “highly sensitive” about many things, so I suspect this has to do more with him than with the actual pain of falling on the ice. Sigh again.

        • Rachel Turiel permalink
          January 21, 2013

          Another thought – a lesson might help. My kids took a lesson and the first thing they learned was how to fall safely.

  4. January 21, 2013

    Namaste R!!!
    LOVED this entry! (and, BTW, you look like you are getting leaner/fitter and more radiant every time i see you!)

    during Dewa & Daddy time, we always hit up “The Chap” for either sledding, ice skating, or skiing…when we do two of the above, Dewa calls it a “Winter Two-athlon” and when we do all three of the above on the same outing? yup, you guessed it, “Daddy? today? we can do a Winter THREE-athlon?”

    a couple of professional sport performance hints you might try with the C&R-going-ice-skating-thing; use helmets (for sledding, skating, and skiing). use a kids ski harness on C&R while skating…your kidz won’t hit the ice and you and Dan will save your lower backs. you can borrow ours to try it out, anytime.

    head bowed,
    Daddy of Dewachen

  5. January 21, 2013

    ya know, i keep trying to find the right post to comment on, to say how i am just so flippin’ glad you keep showing up here, doing what you do, stringing words together like magic, like nobody’s business, but i can’t.

    they’re all better than the last.


    this will have to do, then.

    happy new year to you, rachel.


  6. January 22, 2013

    that is so perfect….. relax and lean into your fear…..
    on another note… i used to skate for p.e. in jr high. alaska. crazy huh?
    and in idaho it was cross country skiing for p.e. fun stuff.

  7. Jo Hadley permalink
    January 22, 2013

    Oh… Berkeley Iceland. I sure loved that place. But I was all about the hot cocoa out of the vending machine. It’s so interesting the way certain activities, like ice skating at a rink, bring back so many childhood memories.

    I love all of your posts, Rachel, and always look forward to reading them. I feel so up-to-date on your life!

    Lots of love to you and your kiddos,

  8. Chi-An permalink
    January 22, 2013

    I loved Berkeley Iceland. I had a friend who said you knew it was a great place to play hockey because the building smelled funny. I have fond memories of humping 30 lbs of equipment from my house to BART (3 blocks) and then riding in to Ashby & walking to Iceland from there.

    I only did that once or twice. 30 lbs of hockey equipment doesn’t feel so bad when it’s distributed over your body; hauled in a bag over your shoulder, it’s suddenly a whole lot heavier.

    I love the quote.

  9. January 22, 2013

    nice. bodhisattvas everywhere, if we’re paying attention. you are so great at paying attention rachel.

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