Final Day of Practice
It has been a bumpy road getting to this point in my preparation for this tournament. Lots of old demons that I thought had been jettisoned popped up. Many of my blog followers have sent me suggestions about how I needed to be thinking to be free of the expectations that had been pushing and pulling me into a negative state…and the resulting distortion of my own playing levels.
Tips such as remembering that last year stands alone and that this is a new year, just go out and enjoy playing, focus on whatever has worked in the past, relax, and don’t worry about results. There is never a shortage of good tips and all of them are helpful to know. But the work is to move from the external awareness to the internal shift. That is where I have been putting my effort over the last two weeks.
Each day I have used my meditation time to go deeper and deeper into a feeling state of acceptance and anticipation of the joy of playing that is part of who I am as a player. Frankly, I never am quite sure if I have moved from the external thinking this stuff to the internal shift of really feeling it. When I feel it, I know that it is real and lasting.
So when I arrived to practice on Saturday I didn’t know what to expect. As soon as I stepped on the court and hit a few balls, I felt great. I felt the shift. The shift to feeling like the Bob on the court that I have become familiar with. I instantly knew that I wouldn’t need to try to be anyone but me. The confidence that I could just be Bob and that that would be enough was freeing. I settled in. For the first time in months I was back in my element and having fun.
Sunday practice was the same. I feel the flow. I am relaxed. I am moving effortlessly. I am on the ball. It is as if the last few months did not even happen.
I am reminded, again, that this challenge, this struggle, was something that I needed. It was a reminder that the work never ends and that I must always welcome the work. The adversity is just what is needed to continue to grow. Without it there is stagnation. No change. No growth.
And I live to grow every single day.
First match tomorrow. Cannot wait. Hard to believe that I was considering bailing out on this tournament.