R.I.P – JOHAN CRUYFF
“It’s like everything in football – and life. You need to look, you need to think, you need to move, you need to find space, you need to help others. It’s very simple in the end.” – Johan Cruyff
Physical – Mental Transition
Finally I feel good enough to start hitting the gym again. For almost 5 months I have been rehabbing my knee and its been one of the toughest things i’ve had to deal with in many years.
Both mental and physical challenges have been my constant companions as I dealt with issues surrounding my knee/physical situation.
Life is messy and unpredictable. It has its way with you, no matter how hard you try to control it. The trick is to experience each moment with a clear mind and open heart. When you do that, the game-and life-will take care of itself. – Phil Jackson
Working out has a way of releasing all of the pent up shit that our mind thinks is important. As we know its just our thoughts attempting to take us away to either future or past events. Both illusory at best and both take us away from the only moment we really have……..Now.
This concept of only having Now was a transformational moment for me. When I delved deeper into the concept of Now, I realized, with extreme clarity, what that meant and its impact. Once it took hold I felt I could never go back to my old way of thinking. It was a shift in consciousness.
So here is the thing about the Now. If you really think about it – its the only thing we have. Have you ever experienced, done, thought, or felt anything outside the Now? Do you think you ever will? Is it possible for anything to happen or be outside the Now? The answer is obvious, is it not?
Nothing ever happened in the past; it happened in the Now. Nothing will ever happen in the future; it will happen in the Now.
What we think of as the past is a memory trace, stored in the mind, of a former Now. When we remember the past, we reactivate a memory trace, be we do it in the Now.
The future is an imagined Now, a projection of the mind. When the future comes, it comes as the Now. When we think about the future, we do it Now.
Those are teachings that I’ve incorporated into my life from Eckhart Tolle’s “The Power of Now”. I recommend utilizing these concepts in your life to see if it makes a difference. It has for me and I hope that it can for you as well.
Don’t forget to be in the present moment – The Now
ENTER THE ZONE
If you have ever competed in any sport, then I’m certain you have entered the ZONE from time to time.
Such an elusive yet unbelievable place to find oneself. Our only wish is to stay in the bliss forever, however as soon as we realize that we are in the Zone – then poof, it’s gone. We are out and can’t get back in.
If your game is Basketball then it seems as though the basket is as large as a lake. Every shot seems to gracefully tickle the net on its way down. If Soccer or Martial Arts is your thing the Zone makes everything slow down. Every movement becomes poetry – you can see a few moves ahead and counter with ease and simplicity. You make the activity seem extremely easy.
The greatest in their respective arenas are the ones that make it look easy.
The Michael Jordons , Kobe Bryants, Leo Messis make the game look so easy, that to me is true brilliance.
The real question is how to STAY in the ZONE.
I learned a technique called NLP. Neuro-linguistic Programming. Its a simple strategy that creates triggers that allow you to control your state. Here is an example of how I used it to maintain the zone for longer periods.
BTW, this technique can be used for many aspects of life not just athletics. Be creative and try to create your own positive triggers. Be safe and enjoy the journey.
Pulled my back whilst in mid-sneeze. Where does it say in the definition below – “to also have the ability to pull a muscle in your back”. Damn spasmodic action
Remember It’s Only Stuff……..that we have to deal with.
I choose to look at this as a positive sign. My body is telling me that I’m out of whack in some areas and I’m compensating for that wackiness elsewhere in my body. This downtime gives me the opportunity to delve into the reasons for being out of balance. I just let the feelings happen and I watch them without judgement.
Another opportunity to practice patience and mindfulness. Seems to help me get through. Hope it helps you too.
Sports psychologists say that even though many athletes initially feel relief after finishing their athletic career, some still suffer depression and other mental-health issues for several years.
Personally speaking I believe I suffered from a mild case of depression after my latest knee surgery. It was needed due to over use through out my athletic career. Believe it or not there is a psychological phase that retired athletes go through that parallels the loss of a loved one or another tragic event. Kinda crazy.
I found that replacing the competitive fire with another passion makes the transition easier. Still not easy but a bit easier.
An interesting article entitled “Psychological effects of Retirement in Sport”. Check it out at the link below.
Loss of Identity
A study by Lavallee & Grove (1997), identified that individuals with a high athletic identity at the time of retirement were more likely to experience a higher degree of emotional adjustment difficulties. Very interesting article.
There is a lot of focus needed to excel in athletics and that focus needs to be harnessed and directed to another avenue. I know it sounds simple……but its challenging.
Another study I found – North and Lavallee (2004) – looked at how athletes plan their lives after retirement and found that after athletes retire they focus primarily on starting a professional career, taking a degree, having a family and enjoying life.
“Nothing could satisfy me outside the ring… there is nothing in life that can compare to becoming a world champion, having your hand raised in that moment of glory, with thousands, millions of people cheering you on.” – Sugar Ray Leonard
We need to change our identity from athletes to former athletes. We should acknowledge the differences between them and learn how to prepare for them. I look at the whole thing as a transition to the next chapter. I enjoyed my athletic career and now I’m looking forward to understanding where we go from here.
Remember…..It’s only stuff
Ok so here’s the skinny. What does an aging athlete do after his/her athleticism diminishes?
Whether you were an elite professional athlete, college, high school, or played pick up you will eventually encounter this phenomenon called “Aging.”
When your new friend, Aging, first arrives and knocks on your knees (enter your own appropriate aching body part(s) here) with his wand of stiffness – we think its ok. After all we are used to feeling stiffness after workouts or games. Then we realize the stiffness isn’t going away as quickly, if at all. The small nagging injuries that we once laughed at become more serious and take longer to heal, if at all.
Don’t forget Aging’s other friends that get invited to this little party, pulled muscles, strains and sprains, fractures, Charlie horses – and those are just a few in the physical realm.
There is always the mental/emotional aspect that is ever present. We cannot perform in the same manner – jumping, running, passing, shooting all become slowed and labored.
Aging’s wand of stiffness turns into an iron fist.
Ok we finally get it, the time has come to hang up the ole shoes. Now what happens?
We are still very young in our minds and we go back and forth for a few more days, months, or years, (your mileage may vary), giving it one more try. THEN……
We REALLY get it after one last injury. We are done. We finally come to the realization.
Ah the good ole days…….are gone.
This is where you have to get handle on your mind and its old patterns. Time to start changing the way we think and workout. Keep in mind the good ole days are gone, however we still have plenty of life left. All we have to do is change our mindset to start a new path.