Words By: Emily Martin

Photos By: John Price

Adam tackles sports requiring a deep focus. Where a lapse in concentration can have disastrous consequences and being in the right headspace is vital. To succeed, Adam must quiet his mind. Be present. Make space only for thinking about each movement and find Outer Peace.

Adam lost his wife Laura to an avalanche at the start of 2020.

“Holding her as she died was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, by far.”

Loss like that leaves a mark. Trivializes everything else. With the bullshit tolerance gone, true perspective can be found.

For Adam, this perspective has fostered deep gratitude and appreciation for loved ones. A belief that lack of connection is the lowest, deepest form of misery. To be disconnected from community. From place. The root cause of many problems, personally and societally.

His connections have helped him through horrific grief. Taught him to be a better friend and family member.

As an athlete, Adam confesses he used to act selfishly. Bulldozing through life with a single-minded focus on his own goals. A lifestyle which now feels insignificant compared to his connections with people.

And Adam isn’t the only one who has realized the importance of connection this year. 2020 has nurtured a global awareness of the importance of human connection. Not just on a physical level, but a personal level too.

Nature provides us with an opportunity for deepening these genuine connections. To have profound experiences with people and the places we share. To bond over an awe-inspiring moment. To build memories.

Adam is happiest in these moments. Revelling in something that wows him. “Whether it’s hearing a beautiful song somewhere, seeing a beautiful sight, even just reading a powerful word.” Adam has found Outer Peace by embracing the beauty in these moments. Appreciating the little things.

At the same time, nature also offers a crucial form of escapism: “a wonderful coping mechanism.” Giving ourselves mental breaks from our everyday troubles is something Adam views as important and healthy. To get outside, breathe in fresh air and be happy. One of humanity’s main goals in life is happiness. And nature is a huge gifter of this. A source of pleasure, joy and healing.

As someone used to moving quickly, 2020 has taught Adam the appreciation that can come from slowing down. From just sitting awhile. The wholly different connection you can feel with places when you slow down enough to simply be present and enjoy them.

It has taught him the good that can come from making yourself vulnerable. Emotional. From allowing yourself to feel and acknowledging every feeling. To know that it’s ok to have had an incredible summer, spent with friends in nature, while also dealing with crushing trauma and grief. The strength to embrace the confusion that this confliction causes. Being brave enough to share feelings and normalize them comes with time and practice.

He has also learnt to cope with the fear. Fear that comes from loss. Fear when you’re reminded that nothing is permanent. Or guaranteed. Fear at wondering whether you’ll find that spark again. Your driving force for life. Fear and anxiety when factors are beyond your control. Fear at what the future holds.

And also, the fear you feel when in nature doing the sport you love. Adam has learnt to avoid catastrophizing. To stop picturing the worst-case scenario. To breathe deeply. Abandon ego. To simply have confidence in his ability. But also, to know that it’s a choice. And saying no is ok.

He has learnt to live in the present. To let go of the little worries and concerns that hold him back.

He has learnt to embrace Outer Peace.