Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Player

Last time we chatted, I mentioned three key players on the tennis court...you, your opponent, and the ball.  For now, we're just gonna start with the first one...YOU!  And, it turns out that we've got a pretty detailed gameplan for YOU...so here's the breakdown... 

The "YOU" who shows up on the tennis court - and in your life - is determined by the state of your body, brain, and being.

BODY:
Your physical conditioning.  Your swing. 

BRAIN:
Your mental conditioning.  Your attitude.

BEING:
Your emotional state.  Your heart.

So now you can start to see where we're headed in the coming weeks.  I know, we got a lotta ground to cover...but just relax...we'll take it nice and slow!  

As you are well aware of, the body, brain, and being don't operate in isolation...so things might get a little messy as we move forward.  But don't lose heart...or you might get served up!

Let's start with a little body action.  This is the place where most of our attention lies, wouldn't you say?  It's freeekin' everywhere!  All the diet and exercise programs, pills, posters, promotions, and promises...  

But what's really interesting is how differently the body is viewed by the gen-pop versus the sports-pop.  For the average Jane, the body is seen in somewhat of a superficial sense...what it looks like, feels like, and how much attention it receives.

For the tennis player, the body is viewed more in terms of function...where physical conditioning is vital...in that it enables you to compete. The body needs to be in awesome condition to allow you to play ball!  It's a means to an end...not an end in itself.  

When you know your body won't let you down in a match because you've trained it to go the distance...your confidence sky-rockets!  You feel prepared, ready for whatever comes your way, and unshakeable!  So really, the body becomes a servant to the mind.  

And the same applies in our daily lives...the body must be well trained, disciplined, and obedient to the mind. And that's just so you can compete like a pro!  So you can give yourself a real opportunity to fully realize your talent, share your gift, and play your best!  

Check it out, in order for an instrument to be used, it must be kept in good operating condition.  

Are we cool?

Aaiiight, let's roll...

The swing!  The way we swing at the ball is the way we swing at life.  The most important thing to remember about the swing is that there are no straight lines...only circles.  For years, I desperately wanted life to be linear so I could use my linear swings.  I kept swinging away but I was getting beaten up by the ball.  Thankfully, I have now surrendered to the truth that life is not straight and flat...and never will be...and so I've simply had to change my swing.  

Also, if you don't follow through all the way, you won't make the shot.  You have to have courage to swing through the ball...without hesitation...even in the face of self-doubt and an intense fear of missing.   You have to throw your whole being into the ball.  You gotta get physical!

A lot of us live tentatively, we do half of a swing, we cut it short and hope to make the shot.  We want to make ourselves successful, live our dreams and follow our heart....but we're stuck in the fear of failing.  Afraid that we might swing and rocket the ball outta the court, or we might miss the ball completely.  Yikes!

We don't swing with all of our being because we're just trying to get the ball in the court...and we're not playing to win!  We settle for a mediocre life of pushing the ball in day in and day out.  And what results from that?  We experience a lack of meaning, purpose, and passion.  

We have to pour our whole self into our life for it to be great! Too often we protect against making errors with a slow-paced swing not realizing that playing "safe" is actually creating the errors!  We gotta start acting decisively even when we don't feel it!  We gotta commit to hitting through the ball no matter how tight and nervous we feel.  

Feelings cannot dictate our play!  Ya hear!?

Phew, that was getting heated!  I'm thinking that we've probably had enough physical conditioning for one day...so let's take a seat for the changeover.

And until play resumes...remember this: 

Life (and tennis) is about mental toughness...and strengthening your body and swinging freely are critical to strengthening your mind. 
 
"No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees." Hebrews 12:11-13

zenthuze...on a mission...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Play Ball!

I have this 'thing' about not being controlled by anything.  And the reason is this...if I'm being controlled, then I'm living in slavery!  I'm not truly free if I have to have a cup of coffee to start my day.  I'm not living in freedom if I have to workout every day to make me feel good.  And I'm certainly not free if I shy away from doing things because I'm afraid.  

Fear is an emotion I feel intensely...in many areas of life.  It's a powerful and often paralyzing emotion....and it paralyzed and controlled me in a seemingly meaningless way...in my game of tennis.  Yup, playing ball.

In my earlier years, I just couldn't break through my intense fear of losing and my need to win.  I now realize I was squeezing so tight because winning and losing were tied directly to my self-worth.  If I lost, I was a failure.  So, in my mind....who I was depended on what I did. 

It was so bad that I just took on a belief that I was no good at the sport.  No good at winning, competing, handling pressure, and performing in front of people. I was like, "Hayley, why don’t you just pack your bags and go kick rocks or something where less mental strength is required.  You're obviously not cut out for this."

And these thoughts gripped me for years.  But recently, I had this burning hot desire in my heart to overcome this part of myself.  I felt I was being called to bust through the fear and break apart the mental and emotional torment I experienced out on the court.  The self-doubt, self-sabotage, anger, frustration, negative thoughts...all of it!  And so, I decided to do it...AFRAID. Very.  Afraid.

That meant being on the verge of hyperventilating on the court, embarrassing myself, choking, swallowing my pride, letting my ego get bruised…just taking blows physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.  But something in me knew I had to keep at it.  I couldn’t let myself get defeated by a dysfunctional part of myself.  I couldn’t live the rest of my life knowing that I quit because I let fear and mental weakness run my show.  

Now, several months into it, my original simple goal of being able to play well, compete well, and feel what it's like to win...has miraculously become an adventure that is teaching me more about life, myself, and personal transformation than I ever thought possible.

So of course, I wanted to share the mind-blowing nuggets that have been coming to me on the court…but when I started listing them all…it took about eighteen thousand pages!  So I’ve decided to create a "play ball" blog series.  It might be a 3-set match, or we might end up going the distance…a 5-setter!  Either way, it’ll be worth the watch…even for you non-sports folks out there!

So for now, I’ll leave you with a match preview:

There are three important parts of the game:
(1)   you the player
(2)   your opponent on the other side of the net…and…
(3)   the ball!

Additionally, as a little warmup, I’ll tell you this:  
 
The tennis court is a microcosm of your life....and the way you play the ball is the way you play your life.   

Also, who you are on the court is a direct reflection of who you are at your core.   

And finally, tennis and life are both games of adversity management.

So there you have it!  Stay tuned in for the broadcast of a match of a lifetime!  

“An athlete can't win unless he competes according to the rules.” 2 Timothy 2:5

zenthuze...on a mission...