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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Embracing Discomfort By Jean VanOrden

I had a disappointing week on the golf course.  I was on the verge of giving it all up.  After a solitary moment of despair on the seventh hole, I had an epiphany.  My venture into the game of golf is not about becoming competent enough not to embarrass myself.  It is the symbolic quest of never giving up, of challenging myself to continue to learn and grow at a time in my life when I could easily say, “I’ve done enough, I’ve worked hard enough, I’ve had enough of pushing myself.” 

Golfing is a handy reminder that, as in life, if you are standing still you are falling behind.  That is not to say I am going to be a perfectionist who drives herself mercilessly ( I have plenty of experience with that.)  I have grown up enough to relax on the subject of excellence. Ideals have their place, but reality is unrelenting.   

However,   if I don’t keep my sights on some stars and reach for them, it is easy to let my body and brain slump into disrepair.  (I am far too fond of sleeping in.)  

In my golf game, each time I think I’ve found the secret mechanical tweak that would end all my embarrassing flubs, I find a new variation of the old flub.  Each improvement seems to change everything, and everything then needs to be adjusted to fit.  Maddening or tantalizing.  I will choose the latter. 

The next logical epiphany:  I will stop yearning for a space and time when I will eliminate my embarrassing lack of mastery.  I will embrace my deficits and know that I am not sinking but rising to the occasion. 

The next occasion will be at a women’s golf event I have signed up for.  That irritant will motivate me to get up and do my swing drills.  I am very uncomfortable about exposing my weaknesses so publicly but I have a week to prepare and, meanwhile, my discomfort will keep me moving. 

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