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Wholeness as a Goal

I’m combining Pillars this week, bringing in some advanced usage of Our Raw Material, but I believe we are collectively ready for it! Resources and Aligning with Intention work pretty closely together and I needed to use the combined perspective of both Pillars to make some tough decisions about my snowballing feelings about my circumstances. Last week, I was in Oregon for the Tim Selinske U.S. Masters, a PDGA Major for the age-protected divisions. Through a series of unfortunate events, I ended up not playing the tournament, which I hadn’t really anticipated when we headed into the trip. By the time I made the decision NOT to play (at 12:13am, the day of the event), I was able to clearly identify and acknowledge the reasons why I, personally, play disc golf. More importantly, I was a witness to how far away I can get from remembering those reasons when I’m in ‘tournament mode’; focusing on what I need to do, rather than what I want to do. These lessons continued to present themselves well into the next week - Aligning with Intention - while we made our way back home for a day and a half before taking off for The Des Moines Challenge.

We arrived in Eugene, Oregon during Resource Week and the universe quickly provided ample opportunity for me to evaluate what was truly important to me. As a primary issue, my detached left retina is taking some getting used to, and I’ve been striving to reclaim the easy relationship I’ve enjoyed with my disc golf game. I’m clearly not there yet, and the frustration usurped my ability to enjoy the beautiful, amazing courses before me. Adding to that mind-body stress, Fred and I had shipped a bunch of gear to Eugene through FedEx so that we might have everything we could possibly need and not have to carry it on a plane. I might have worried for a second about the box arriving in time, but I never once concerned myself with the box arriving mostly empty. By that, I mean every single thing of value was gone. We still had two umbrellas and a couple of golf towels, but my most favorite Patagonia clothing, beloved golf chair, extra golf discs, hats and rain gear had all disappeared in transit. In Resource Week, even! I’m still in some kind of disbelief that my stuff is all gone, and I know it won’t really hit me until the Fall – when I can’t put on my favorite jacket.

I generally find the universe amusing and I try to look for the lesson in every situation, but these two things had me pretty bugged, but making matters worse, there was little drinking water provided on the courses. I jumped onto a soap box about basic needs, and it was hard to come down. As we practiced the courses, I was both thrilled and dismayed to see that two of the three courses were perfectly suited to my regular golf game, but the game I brought to Oregon is a shadow of its former self. The vast difference in my ability left me struggling to remember the primary reasons I play this game: because it’s fun and I get to hang out with people I love while I do it. I spent 24 hours being mad at various situations and firing off emotionally within my body from so many different angles that the people around me could see how affected I was, and they didn’t know how to help. *For future reference, I probably just need a hug, especially if I act like I don’t. If you can tell that I’m mad, I’m probably not up for the job of being reasonable. And before you start to think I’m alone in that behavior, I’d like to point out that it’s a true fact for all of us–a human trait, if you will, but because it’s true, it makes it very difficult for us to see it until we become less reactive–somehow. Breathing is the fastest way to make that happen naturally.

At the point we become angry, scared or significantly frustrated, we have forgotten not only how to use the resources at our disposal, but perhaps even whether they exist at all. We begin to question what we know in an effort to provide protection around whatever pain caused the issue in the first place. We have access to the energy born from adrenaline, which is super helpful in certain situations, but it doesn’t supply any power to our reasoning skill set. Have you ever tried reasoning with a person who is upset? It’s a futile effort until they have enough time to resume a normal breathing pattern, and the wave of mixed emotions recedes. Pro tip: placing a hand on the front and/or back of their heart will always make that happen more quickly and is a great way to calm down a child, partner or close friend. I wouldn’t try this without announcing your intention, “I’m going to place my hand on your back…” because they might not react well to what could feel like an invasion of privacy. I also wouldn’t try this at work, because LAWS.

Once I decided to be on vacation in Oregon instead of a competitor, it was a fantastic time. We had eight people staying in a house together, and any possible hiccups were minimal. We had a gorgeous Airbnb with a fabulous deck and backyard. We were greeted by deer and turkeys regularly in our suburban neighborhood, and the flora and fauna was captivating. The food, whether prepared by my fellow non-competitor, Juan Kitz, or the many breweries, restaurants and food trucks, was nothing short of stunning. The icing on that cake was brought by Brook and Michelle from Michigan, who threw down a tri-tip spread for 10 people that barely know–including that angry girl (me) who has never offered such a weak first impression than I did on that first day. Okay, probably when I was teenager, but that’s because I thought it was cool, not because I couldn’t find the right combination of marbles to unlock my pain.

I caddied for three rounds: twice for Fred, and once for TraLo from Davenport on the big course. As an added bonus, I got to walk with the card I was supposed to be playing on and it was fun to watch their round and not struggle through my own, possibly missing their greatest shots. It was peaceful, beautiful and the type of physical exertion my body needed to relax from the turmoil I’d been toiling over for a few days. I saw the course from a different perspective and I learned a lot about strategy and approach that hadn’t occurred to me in the middle of my own tournament rounds. I got to stay up as late as I wanted, without concern for being tired the next day. Yes, I was often kinda tired, but I was also energized by all the cool things around me and my capacity to appreciate them. Without my heavy decision, I might have taken a lot of things for granted, joining the ranks of the people who were disappointed by certain aspects of the tournament itself. I agreed with many points being made, but the fact that I was on vacation kept me from feeling the need to take action about them. I left Oregon ready for a quick turn around and an intentional resolve to enjoy playing disc golf with my friends in Iowa, no matter what type of golf game I’m packing each day.

The Des Moines Challenge was aptly named over 30 years ago because (I presume) they were tough courses, and competitors used to play two different courses each day. Lately, Disc Golf tournaments have trended toward playing only one round per day using tee times so now, depending on what time you tee, the rest of the day is available for other things. I’ve been meeting the same women to play disc golf in Des Moines for nearly 20 years, and we have finally gotten to spend all the social time we had wished for back when we were hauling our gear to the next course and trying to get a quick lunch before our next round. Those dreams have manifested and our intentions have aligned because disc golf has acquired more solid resources.

This year, we all got to spend a lot of time talking and enjoying each other’s company. It was exactly what I wanted and needed. Even though my eye was still as much of an issue as ever, my attitude was completely different from where I was sitting just a week earlier in Oregon. I was finally settled into my mind-body connection enough to feel it when I tried to dip out, and I gave myself enough room to feel and name my tough emotions, but not enough to get lost in their storms. During the actual tournament play, my emotions still rose up when my shots didn’t go where I was aiming, or I forgot to make the necessary correction to line up a putt. This time, I was able to maintain my connection to my breathing, fully aware that it is the one resource that will consistently keep me from getting stirred up about things that are beyond my control. And with each exhale, that picture narrows down my soulful path to the things I truly want, not just what I think I want in a fleeting moment.



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