(AN OTHER) […] I’d much appreciate any advice on dealing with mindgames…
Generally speaking, I don’t have the confidence that I’ll be able to perform at my ability level, unless i’ve recently demonstrated that to myself.
The result is usually that I freeze up, focus on potential negative outcomes and that translates into significantly worse performance and a negative feedback loop in which the deterioration in my performance and state of mind only gets worse until I’m forced to remove myself from the situation, at which point everything usually gets better.
(DCK) First off I guess what you feel in the negative out come is insecurity, am I right? Its not fear in the surroundings 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’)
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. So it is the focus on the negative.
Let me quess, yesterday, after sticky (a local named river hole) – you had fluffed one, perhaps two strokes, maybe rolled. Then in the eddy you saw the river simply run away, the grey walls close and no obvious break. It is only a guess but when you fluffed, you began to doubt youself. This had a domino effect on you, right?
Fluffing 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 athe our Llanberis footage I fluff the lead in, does matter mind you.
This leaves us to the mind games, whilst I can point you to the 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 this way. But lets look at it another way, lets look at a river you know well.
Lets look at the graveyard section at CT. It is my quess again, but I am sure I am right, that you lauch 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 lke 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 of, if 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.
So this brings us back to the Glen.
You scouted the first drop and ran on river right before punching the smaller but sticky ledge type hole, breaking out on river right above monkey drop/left wall.
At an unconscious level you have made this large river right eddy your fire door, you made it, pause. No drama. Whilst scouting you knew you could make it. Then what? Did you scout Monkey Drop and decide it was time to walk away? If you scouted two further eddys would have appeared to your unconscious mind. BUT and its a big BUT missing these leads into Henry Moore.
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 fuck out’.
We need to ask why, what was it scared of. For you a worse case on the Glen 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.
Who does it matter to? It matters to no one 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 fuck 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.
I expect you will disagree with some of these points, please do. It will then allow you to grow and I can send some more details foro you to work on. Remember you never failed.
I know your a science bloke but have you read much Zen?
(AN OTHER) I have read a wide assortment of zen koans and other bits and bobs. I’ve been waiting to get to my computer to reply fully […] This is most helpful btw, a new lens of thought to consider problems is more useful than mere suggested solutions.
(DCK) […] Im not saying I am right, but it seems to work for me and others
(AN OTHER) You were close enough for it to make sense.
(DCK) Thanks. It means lots to me […] What I think and do is not insular. I am likely to adapt what I said.
(AN OTHER) The only thing that didn’t fit was the ego thing… I had to give up a lot of my pretentions in order to switch disciplines and keep boating at the same level. I have become rather risk averse over the last year or so.
(DCK) yea Ego is not the right word, but I dont have a word 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. I only assume that your mind, the monkey analytical mind made the choices for you, it then moved your body like a puppet?
Fear is only a concept of the mind.
(AN OTHER) How do you control your fear? or overcome it when standing at the top of a gruesome looking rapid that you are deciding to run? Do you think back to what you have run in the past? or do you try to make an individual judgement?
(DCK) I like the questions you ask – more people should. For me I know fear is only a construct of the mind. We can control the minds actions. All we are and all we will ever know is the mind. So I assume this answers question one and in part two.
So looking at a rapid what do I think – to think. In other words what is the program my mind tells itself it should run – fear, anxiety, trauma etc. Again all constructs. Let’s look at the Llanberis drop I did last year. The footage is now online and I can make a storyboard in my mind, when I watch it, of the thought process. The scout, all good, I always work backwards from the expected final point to the leading position. Then nothing – no thing, to think. Watch the footage and you will notice the slow thought process as I paddle to the lip, the final stroke and that’s it, a return to no-thing. Same as wassons, etc. All a thought of no thing, not nothing per se. The mind is capable of making choices at an unconscious level so much faster and better informed than we try to force it to show us consciously.
So in relation to your question 3 and 4. I. Don’t think back or forward at all. I believe this to be true at a conscious level. I am more than aware that the unconscious mind works without boundaries.It is a courtly romance, where the ultimate pleasure is in the chase, not in the final act of passion.
I am developing a workshop (for my own understanding) and would be happy to discuss these routes with you. Where meditation, detachment and an understanding of the self play out.
For me kayaking is no sport. It is more. Lots more. Each time I sit in a boat, for work or pleasure, it is to still the mind. Give the conscous mind the breath, or a song to sing and the unconscious will develop – it understands its own need to survive.
Hope this is understandable? More questions would also help me understand my own theory.
(AN OTHER) This is really interesting Daz! I think I’m always looking for a quick fix or a solution to my problems, but rather you have given me lots of food for thought to go and consider ‘in the field’ as it were. Im not sure I totally understand everything you have written but that could be just becasue I am tired and have had a long few days but that is the great thing about conversations that are written down. I think I want to be able to have a still mind when I kayak. I think my problems stem from overthinkning everything – it seems everything and everyone comes into my mind when thinking about running something hard rather than stillness of thought. I would be really interested in workshop/meditation etc. if only to learn how to still my mind when I need to.
I guess that it comes down to the fact that I do not feel I can control my mind, but that it is an outside force trying to control me.
This may not make any sense, but I am definately finding it helpful to write down.