Golf. Ugh! Oh, wait, that was my inside voice, sorry. I mean, golf, yay! Well, what I really mean to say is that some days golf is really hard and I get miserable playing. And more than anything else I want to blame the course, the clubs, the wind, the sun – anything but me! Yes Dad, I hear you, it’s all about what I am doing on the course with the clubs, my body, and most importantly my mind.
Can you tell I had a bad golf day on the weekend? Ha, understatement! Lets start with the big bruise I gave myself. After my second shot on the first hole I was trying to get the container off the cart to fix the divot I had made. I tugged, pried, and eventually yanked it right into my cheek! OW!!! By the fourth hole after numerous bad shots I was miserable and somewhere on the eighth I nearly gave my husband a heart attack when I semi growled/semi shrieked in sheer frustration. Too bad the sainthood for Paul is taken already because I would nominate him!
Inner peace, spiritual practice, meditation, all the things I talk about are really great on paper or in a workshop but truly, experience is everything. And here I was being given the opportunity to practice what I preach – to be open to God, Spirit, or that unseen Force within (or whatever you want to call it) and allow it to work through you and bring peace, love, and joy into your life. Between the 9th and 10th hole is the clubhouse. We stopped so that I could go to the washroom but what I really wanted to do was collect my true self and leave behind the ego that was fully in charge. I knew I had to re-open that connection with my Divine self and I did it with a few rounds of conscious breathing, along with noticing the anger I was feeling and letting it go as best as I could in those few minutes.
Not a shining morning for me, sigh. Yet I am happy that I was able to recognize life giving me the chance to examine what was going on and shift my alignment to something greater than my ego. Back on the course for the second half, or in golf speak ‘the back nine’, mentally I was in a different space - not 100% of the time but way, way, better. I noticed and gave thanks for the wind, the trees, and the beauty around me. I took a conscious breath as I walked up to each shot; I smiled instead of growling with my husband (I bet he was glad!); and by the fourteenth hole I was feeling a lot more hopeful.
Yes, golf is just a game and a little thing in life compared to some of the tragedies people go through but when we can use the experiences of the small issues in life to learn from, it becomes so much easier with the big issues. Reading about golf, for example, is a good start but really experience is everything. It’s about taking what you have learned in the book or the workshop and applying it in your day-to-day life. In the end my score on the back nine was 15 strokes lower than my score on the front nine. Can you imagine how that must have improved my stress level not to mention the relationship with my husband! Haha!
Inner peace is a lofty thought, agreed, but other benefits of a spiritual practice include improved physical health, better emotional control, feelings of well being, and better overall relationships with those around us. Maybe worth a try?