Tag Archives: attitude

A Truce

It had been a strugglesome week at work and I was feeling rushed and dejected when my husband suggested we go outside and have a few practice swings with the clubs. A few days before, I had reluctantly agreed to join an outing of four couples for nine holes of golf. Let me tell you something about golf. I don’t care for it. I find it full of aggravation and without reward. I was dreading spending my first opportunity to relax feeling like a total failure surrounded by people who play regularly. But I am a good sport…sort of. “Fine,” I had said, sounding more like “Why GOLF?”

The last time I had played was four years before and it had ranked among the worst leisure experiences of my life. I don’t know how many years it was before that I had played but it was more than four. Last Friday out in the yard, I picked up my driver with poor grace and assumed the position. Instantly there was a blaring chorus of voices in my head. Some were telling me what a bad experience I was about to have, some were telling me what a lousy golfer I am in general, and others were critiquing every single aspect of my swing (SO many ways to do it wrong). It was both deafening and oddly familiar. They sounded just like the voices that used to hound me when I was writing. I couldn’t believe how awful it felt, and I couldn’t believe I had persevered with writing as long as I had, clinging to a certainty that I had to battle through the noise and the unrelenting negativity. As I said in my last post I eventually did give up, and rebooted my writing in Safe Mode, which for me was to only write when I felt like it and to only write for myself. I chose to share my writing when I wanted to with a supportive group of friends who also write, but I absolutely gave myself permission to not do our writing prompts at all, or to write about something else if I wanted. I gave up overthinking and trying to be perfect, and in doing so had made peace with my writing. The voices quieted to a manageable murmur.

Out there in the yard, facing down a leaf in substitution for a dimpled ball, I decided that If I could do that with writing, when I really, really care about writing, I could also do this with golf. Some of the advice my husband offered made no sense. “Position your club face so it impacts the leaf like this.” “Aim so you hit the leaf right at this point.” Incomprehensible concepts which I rejected. Some of the things he said resonated. “Plant your feet.” Yes, this I had experienced in yoga and Pilates, feeling my feet connected with the earth as though my body was an extension of the planet. “Slow your swing.” That I understood, even if I didn’t like it. I just wanted to get the game OVER, but when I slowed down, my swing felt more controlled. Out on the course with an actual ball and an adjusted attitude (less competitive, more experimental and compassionate toward myself) I had a not-terrible time. I had a few (feet planted, slow tempo) strokes that were pretty decent, and the rest (which were absolutely consistent with my status as a perennial beginner) didn’t bother me. Best of all, my inner critics were silent. Nine holes wore me out, and I ended up with a blister on my thumb and some sore muscles the next day, but I also found I had been able to call a truce with the sport. I would be willing to golf again…you know, once my back loosened up.

I even learned a few things from golf that I can apply to my writing. If my metaphysical feet are planted, I have strength and balance to write from. If I don’t rush my message, it comes at its own pace and makes more sense. More peace, fewer voices seems like a good direction to keep moving toward. Fore!

Lynnette golfing

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You Decide

Check out this thing that Kelly (Hot off the Wire) gave me for Christmas. I thought it was just a funny little block of wood with words on it, but it is magical. Look.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Regardless of which end I elect to turn topside, I have to consider my state of mind, and choose. Because it is a CHOICE. And I forget that all the time. Sometimes it is what it is, and sometimes it is what I CHOOSE it to be. In this case I am referring to my perspective. Even if I choose, “not so much,” the fact that it is my choice to take that attitude makes me feel so much more powerful than I felt when the choice was buried under the to-do list, the horrible story I read in the news, the bittersweet pang I feel watching my boys trudge down to the bus stop, and the rejection letters. So this little block of wood magically wakes up my brain and says, (like Kelly would,) Hey, make up your mind already!

Cyclists: Smug but Balanced

I have been a cycling enthusiast for over ten years now, though I’ll admit I have been more enthusiastic some years than others. I have done the century rides (100 miles, yes, in a single day) and the multi-day rides, the triathlons and team triathlons, the fundraisers, the group rides and the solo rides. I love the bicycle and the road and the hills. Not so much the wind or the “rumble bumps” engraved into the shoulders of the pavement, but what can you do? Another cyclist friend of mine has a friend and a neighbor who despises cyclists on principle: we don’t belong on his roads. There is a statute in Minnesota <169.222> that says we actually do, but as far as he and his like-minded buddies are concerned, that is beside the point. I kind of get it. It can be nerve-racking sharing a lane with someone who has nothing but two narrow spinning wheels, a helmet and some Lycra between him/her and the road. Keeping an eye on the distance between the cyclist and yourself as well as the oncoming traffic also can be a little stressful as I know from my own experience, especially when some bikers (like some motorists) can be a little unpredictable. But I don’t think these valid concerns totally explain the hate.

Having hung out with and observed cyclists individually and in groups for years I say this with conviction: we can be a smug, self-righteous bunch. We are in love with our bikes, our gear, our numbers of miles, our average speed and our highest speed. We love our tight molded calves and our endorphin rushes. We even love the “ring tattoo” of black grease many of us wear on our right legs after a few stops and starts. We love drafting off each other, our front tires inches from the back wheel of the cyclist ahead of us giving us free speed until our turn at the front, and when we get fancy and whip out the rotating paceline, where two tightly packed lines of cyclists synchronize movements in an aerodynamic road ballet, well then, we are downright infatuated with ourselves. Because it is cool. And it’s challenging to work up the skills and the miles and the confidence to do it all. We like that we power our own rides. We like the sounds, sights and smells of the outdoors (most of the time.) We like how the stress of the office, the relationships, the future all falls away as we press forward—building speed on the flats, heaving up the hills, shooting down the other side and doing it again as we push our hearts, lungs and muscles to go farther, or faster or just to go. You have to have balance to stay upright on two wheels, but spending time on a bicycle brings balance to life. Life just looks different from a bicycle saddle.

So we can be a little obnoxious, drinking post-ride beers in our sweaty Lycra with our grease tattooed calves, laughing uproariously at endorphin-fueled stories of the guy who got off the route and had to be chased down and returned. Maybe the conversation turns to bike trips in Napa Valley, or Europe or to the newest, best bike tech with the absurd price tags. We might groan about our aching whatevers, but we feel good. That can be hard to be around, but don’t hate us because we are celebrating our good fortune to be cyclists. Come join us instead.

Coming soon: an excerpt from Hollywood University. We are looking for representation, so if you like it and know someone in the publishing world, let me know!