Zen?

    This post follows on from the last one.
    It was a crisp and clear dawn, -3 and the river still had some flow. It was business as normal, it felt good. It is a place of wonder and spells for me. Others on the same day just didnt have the same experience, they left the river questioning ability, place, and performance. They left with doubts. Looking as ‘what if’ and ‘worse case scenario’. 
    The result of this for many is that they freeze up, focus on potential negative outcomes which loops as feedback in worse performance and a negative mobius bind they are unable to release from.

    I have tried here to explain my own rational for dealing with mind games, it may help others.

    I have, for this reason decided to write as a reply to an email, it may answer these questions for lots of people.
    ‘First off I guess what you feel in the negative out come is insecurity, am I right? Its not fear in the surrounding per se, but fear in your own mind, your own thoughts and ability. If this is true, which I expect it is, the following will be of help. You can get the long winded approach in the book ‘Inner Skiing’ and for some part in ‘Tibetan Book Of The Dead’.

    It is natural to have mind games, everyone has, but the ability to develop from these is key. Your river reading and skill sets you have are obvious – you have too many years under your belt for that.

    Let me quess, yesterday, after that tricky hole- you had fluffed one, perhaps two strokes, perhaps you rolled. Then in the eddy you saw the river simply run away, the grey walls closed in and no obvious break and rest appeared. It is only a guess but when you fluffed, you began to doubt yourself. This had a domino effect on you, right?

    Fuffing is fine, the human body can fluff, can miss its beats. When you walk to the pub and trip over the curb does that spoil your night? No. Is doesnt why would it? Boating is the same, the body/mind knows what it is doing, christ you would not be in the flow if it didnt. Simple mistakes really dont matter. Believe it or not they are not life and death choices. If you look at the Llanberis footage I fluff the lead in, does matter mind you.

    This leaves us to the mind games, whilst you can scroll down this blog to the essays I did on Fear, or to Doug Ammons site it is perhaps of minimal use, words always seem to fall quiet and unused in some ways. But lets look at it another way, lets look at a river you know well.

    Lets look at the graveyard at CT, although it could be any river you can mind map. It is my quess again, but I am sure I am right, that you launch in at the top, paddle over to the big eddy before setting off down the flow. On the way you will take some eddys on both left and right, before pausing in the large eddy on river left, near the gate and white sign (it has some EA info). This sign, this eddy is the crux of the whole top of the graveyard, just like splat rock is for the lower half.

    All the moves you have made, whilst you have made many times have always been as a result of the big eddy by the sign. You have had the confidence to make the moves because, at an unconscious level you have had a fire door a place to escape if it all goes wrong… You see this lots with groups.

    So if we establish that you are happy and confident if you know you have a fire door to run out off it it gets too hot, all we need to do is look at ways to put fire doors, escape routes on rivers without the feeling of failure.

    It is never a failure to walk, or portage.

    The question you need to ask is simple.
    1) are you ready to accept the worst case out come of a move.

    I had to explain this to another group yesterday.

    For me a worse case scenario is dynamic, it changes with each stroke, each movement. The mind does it for you. Yours said, ‘hang on, lets get the f**k out’.

    We need to ask why, what was it to be scared of. For you a worse case on the river is one of a few things. Its either a roll, a swim, or and perhaps more so, dinted pride. We know, you and I, that a roll fails from time to time, no issue. A swim from time to time, no issue. Few bruises, end of discussion. Its the Pride thing, the ego game, whether you know it or not. We crave a meaning to our actions, our own mind, our sense of self. Ego is the only word we can use in English. It is perhaps a close link to French as jouissance or the objet petite a, if we look at it as a missed piece. The one we chase in our mind. I only assume that your mind, the monkey analytical mind, made the choices for you, it then moved your body like a puppet? This for me that is, should not be of concern.

    Who does it matter to? It matters to no one but you, its not even like your mind is that bothered, since it blocks you at every turn. Then annoys you for it. So we need to keep telling the mind to ‘shut the up, stop telling me I cannot do it, nothing makes me want to do it more than been told I cannot’. Red pill blue pill time if your a Matrix fan.’

    As readers I expect you will disagree with some of these points I have raised, please do. It will then allow you to grow. 

    Remember you never failed.
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One thought on “Zen?

  1. I shot Huben Steps decades ago glass boat and learnt a lesson.I only just made it.
    As my father said of me regarding life “Yes Matthew, clever but wrong” . Walking Harkpur1, stuck in my throat. I gained more from doing that because I accepted my ability and said ” There are no winners or losers on a river …we are granted time to be at one with ourselves..enjoy the moment …smile and walk away.

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