Music to My Ears: The Delicacy of Soul/Ego Balance
The first day of Music Week (ORM Summer 2021) is the same day my beloved sport, Disc Golf, showed up as number one on Sports Center. Congrats to James Conrad and Catrina Allen on their magical wins! (PDGA World Championships). The sound of James’ field ace hitting the chains of the Hole 18 basket rang with the same deep tone as the ace he hit two days earlier, bringing physical awareness to how powerful the sudden impact of universal energy can be. If we were listening to our bodies, we could each feel the drumbeat of rapidly-shifting energy gaining ground. Personally, I could feel it resonate through my soul and change my breathing pattern to a tempo that felt more alive and rhythmic because I was suddenly so aware of the difference. My husband had straight up called the shot as James was lining up to throw it. While the words were coming out of Fred’s mouth, I could already feel that energy well up inside me as it built towards its crescendo, carrying so many of us along for the ride. I tried to imagine how many other viewers were putting energy toward this shot and this basket at the same time. I wondered whether it had occurred to James himself that his putter might land perfectly as the crowd erupted into a symphony of positive expression from every direction. It felt like disc golf sorcery (mover of energy) at play on a big, naturally beautiful, well-intentioned stage. The Ogden Team had nurtured specific intentions for an ideal spectator experience, and the 2021 field of competitors delivered an awesome show.
If you play disc golf, you know that there are times where you step up to throw and you can feel and/or hear the chains drawing your shot straight to them… In those moments, your body fills with natural confidence, and you are not surprised to hear the sublime sound (ching!) as your disc lands in the basket. Did James feel it in his soul as he prepared for that shot? I hope so. He appears to hold intentional awareness of the connected relationship between our ego and soul energies, as well as the fact that we are all connected, period. It played as an underlying theme all week while I listened to him reflect about his game in interviews. I’ll say the same thing about Catrina. She answered interview questions in a way that put her personal growth and journey front and center, even though her competitive edge remained solidly anchored to her goal. She seemed more at ease simply being herself, and to watch her share her own inner joy in a way that we haven’t often seen was pure and palpable. These two were both bringing it with rooted intention toward soul/ego balance and it elevated their performances from within in a way that was reflected beautifully by and for the ‘gallery’.
Maybe it’s because disc golf as a sport is relatively young, but for the last 40ish years, the draw for many players has been as much about the people and the community as the sport itself. Up until a very recent tipping point in popularity, the people who played disc golf were largely the very same people who cleaned up the courses, cultivated relationships with the parks departments to create and maintain the courses, rallied community support for the effort, and formed independent clubs (whose collective mission was - at the root - to promote Disc Golf). They also ran competitive events as the sport was finding professional form, raised money and awareness around their intentions, and handled a host of other tasks designed to establish a strong foothold for Disc Golf among other sports. In the beginning, our courses were generally welcomed into parks that were, shall we say, not being used to the best of their abilities, so it was mutually beneficial to gain access to the land. Disc golfers brought an ever-increasing presence and an improvement to the previous aesthetic, whatever it had been. With little exception, early disc golf assembled the types of people who are naturally inclined to listen to the beat of their heart and soul for guidance. These flagship groups grew simultaneously in different parts of the country and the world. As a collective community, they have been a great resource for drawing like-minded people into the sport. The more courses that have ‘gone in’, the more people have been ‘called’ to the sport by the simple, joyful sound of a disc hitting chains in the sweet spot. It’s that sound that sparks the creative thoughts and ideals that sustain the merging of our bodies, natural conditions and disc golf into symbiotic movement.
Today’s disc golf professional might have never attended a work day at a course, or know the guy that pulls the aluminum out of the trash cans by name the way the people who helped build it did, but they elevate the game itself by their infusion of drive and focus. Disc golf is now attracting players who identify first and foremost as athletes and they are pushing the levels of competition to new heights. We have moved to a larger stage, surpassing many initial expectations, as the boundaries of what a disc and a body can do are stretched and redefined each season. The very essence of the effort to grow the sport becomes harder to identify as Disc Golf makes astronomical strides in gaining the attention and interest it has desired, but the soul-focused roots remain intact. Those energies planted by the architects of disc golf hold a solid framework for the ego-focused competitions that are filling up more quickly with each passing year. The blend of those two energies (soul and ego) can be traced through every sport (and every thing), but the cool path it has traveled through disc golf demonstrates the best of each energy, working together in natural harmony. Music Week is where we begin to see the difference, as well as the crucial relationship, between our Ego Energies and our Soul Energies. One is not higher or lower in the same sense that musical high notes are not superior to the lower notes. They are both necessary to the wholeness of music. They are the essence of our creativity and their combined efforts have never been more on display in disc golf as they are at this moment in time.
Whether your initial connection to disc golf came through an introduction to the community or competition itself, the wholeness of each of these energies are still celebrated as part of the game. A skill set, goals and intentional preparation will take you far in disc golf, as well as in life.
Our growth can now support a field of professional athletes, and the intentions of that support are deeply rooted in all of the people who have been ‘part of the heart’ of disc golf up until this point. Their combined efforts and intentions have produced the disc golf we are seeing today. We are now big enough to support ourselves, but still small enough to recognize our community as family. We welcome both energies into the fold, and recognize the intrinsic value each brings to the wholeness of the sport we love.