The Recovering Farmer

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Golf and Life

I am reading a book, written by a psychiatrist, that draws many comparisons between golf and life. (sorry K) The book is called Golf And The Spirit with the sub-title being Lessons For The Journey. While down in the States, a few months ago, we came across a used book store. Obviously the title caught my eye. Sounded to me like stuff I have written about over the last few years. Perhaps this could give me some new ideas. Perhaps it could validate my own thoughts. Perhaps it could teach me some lessons. Either for golf or for life. So far it has done all of the above. At least to an extent. And no, for the record, I do not read a lot of books other than novels.

I have finished the front nine. I am making the turn. Sorry, that sounds almost Biblical. This simply means I am half way through the book. That only took three months. Each chapter is devoted to a hole on a fantasy course conjured up by the author. What I have found interesting in Dr. Peck’s writing is the references to stuff that I like talking about. Stress, sleep issues, mindfulness, our intellect, our thoughts, and even a touch of spirituality. He seems to be particularly obsessed with paradoxes.

The Encarta dictionary defines paradox as “a statement, proposition, or situation that seems to be absurd or contradictory, but in fact is or may be true”. That sounds interesting. It has taken some effort to get my head wrapped around that. Let me give you some examples. Arnold Palmer once said that “Golf is deceptively simple and endlessly complicated. It satisfies the soul and frustrates the intellect”. That sounds contradictory all right. But if you think about it, it is true. I suppose you have to be a golfer to relate to that one. I recall sitting in a client’s house. On the wall was a picture with the following words. “We give our kids two things. Roots and wings.” Again, sounds contradictory. But if you think about it there is a lot of truth in that. By what we teach our kids, by the examples we set, by giving them stability, we are giving them roots. Roots that will define them in later years. By letting go, by showing trust, and through encouragement, we give them wings. We give them freedom because they have roots.

With the Sleepless workshops fast approaching I have been giving thought to the issues of sleep, stress and safety. Dr. Peck talks about our thinking. Of course, he views our thinking as something positive. He obviously does not know about my stinking thinking. But he also states that we must get a good night’s sleep to think clearly. Perhaps that is my problem. He says, and I quote, “As far as researchers can determine, most of the brain activity during sleep (including most dreaming) is devoted to emptying our minds of preoccupations, and concerns so that we can begin the new day with more or less a clean slate”. He ends the chapter by saying that “Without enough sleep, people go crazy.” I am looking forward to learning more about the gift of a good sleep.

There is my book report on the first half. Notice how little I actually said about golf? Perhaps that will come in my next report. For now I am moving on to the back nine. My score on the front was not that great. To many “problems” I recognized and had to think about. But I have a chance to redeem myself. A new beginning. I can still salvage a good score. If I change my ways. Actually just bought another book. Will take a break from the self-help book. I found out I am misdiagnosing myself. Perhaps reading a novel filled with violence will help. Make it a good one.

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