New Castle News

Healthy Living: Lori Brothers

July 19, 2012

Healthy Living with Lori Brothers: Stay in the moment to master your game

NEW CASTLE — Golf is in the air.

The Jameson Golf Classic’s 20th Anniversary was this week. It has become a signature community event in our area.

I dream of having enough time to golf — one of these days. I actually like golfing. I even enjoy walking it — carts are OK, too. I have my own set of “inch-short” clubs. I’m very proud of them. Over the years of non-use, I must say, they’ve faded. This is so sad.

I know all too well that if I actually played a round, there is a chance I would have as many bad holes as good ones. Don’t get me wrong, I play well enough to be enthusiastic about playing. What inspires me to look forward to my game?  It’s that old golf philosophy that you have to play the game one hole at a time. Don’t let the bad swings and missed putts get you down.

I’ve picked up this idea as a metaphor for living as well. I regularly remind myself, even though I haven’t actually golfed for years (unless you count putt-putt) that, in order to succeed, I have to let go of the hole I’ve just played and focus on the hole right in front of me. This is true even if you have played the last hole well. All you golfers out there know exactly what I mean.

This has truly become a philosophy I live by on a daily basis. You may have heard of present-moment living. It is bringing your attention to what is happening right now. You let go of the good and the bad in order to do your best in the current moment.

It works great when you can activate it. It can be a challenge when you have emotions and adrenaline running through you, whether you just completed your second double-bogey, or you’ve just eagled a hole.

Remember to question when you feel off of your game, “What’s happening now?”  Questioning why you are over-eating is the same as asking what’s off in your swing. Look at the deeper “why.”

When getting frustrated with the game, some players throw their clubs up in the air, others use choice words and still, there are those who clench that driver determined to hit it straight the next time. Good luck.

Clenching and continuing on in the same manner as you have been going, especially when it is not turning out the way you intend, does not create a pretty picture. You know that saying, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results.”

So, keep the metaphor going. Where are you clenching? Presence will empower you and can bring you back to your game. Sometimes you have two bad holes, then, get back on track and win the game. Until you are the master of your own presence, this can be challenging, especially when you are playing with really good golfers.

So, what is the point of developing this philosophy? The answer: Anything can happen. This is great news. You open yourself up to infinite possibilities when you don’t limit yourself to the past with high expectations, egoism, criticism, self-loathing or self-judgment.

Famous golfer Bobby Jones said, “Golf is a game that is played on a five-inch course — the distance between your ears.”

Coming into the present moment is the ultimate meeting of yourself. Then you can master your attention and stay focused on bringing your best to the now. The results can be a hole in one, whether you win or lose, because you know you’ve done your best.

(Lori Brothers is the director of The Dean Ornish Program For Reversing Heart Disease at Jameson Hospital, www.jamesonhealth.org)

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Healthy Living: Lori Brothers
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