Thursday, August 10, 2006

A Happy Place? No, Better!

Ah yes “The Zone.” What is it and how do you get there? I’ll describe to you what it is, how you arrive is up to you. For those that know what I am talking about with the switch then you know where I am coming from when I talk about the zone. Basically it is an extension of leaving the switch on for a long time. It is much more focused then turning the switch on however. You will never miss while you are in the zone.

You hear a lot of people talk about “hype.” The zone has nothing to do with hype. It’s about a total calmness and restraint. It is a oneness of body and mind and has this Zen like quality about it. Everything is calm, focused, relaxed…easy! You sense of awareness is more keen and sharp at this point also. You field of vision is wider, you can hear more things going on, you can feel the presence of the people around you. We all take up space in this universe. You have yours and I have mine, but can I feel you without physically touching you…this is what I am talking about.

In this state things feel like they slow down. This hyperawareness gives it that feeling. Nothing catches you off guard, nothing catches you by surprise, there is no need to panic (which is what makes things fly by in an instant.) You have removed survival mode from the equation and you are fully in control of yourself. It is a very different highly focused and very intense state of mind and body.

I have found this many times throughout my life. The first account I can remember was from my sophomore year of high school. I was running in a cross country race and everything suddenly got effortless. I won the 5K race by a substantial margin. One thing stands out and you can see it in the photos from the race. The pictures were taken in black & white too which makes it even more visible. There are pictures of me during the course of the race passing people and you can see a world of difference in the way I carry myself. My posture, the look on my face reveals what went on. Looking back on it now I understand what was going on.

I continued to have these moments throughout my running career in high school & in college. I have lots of pictures and the same look is always prevalent. The feeling that I had during those elated moments was one of floating. Everything felt effortless, breathing slowed, I was in a fully relaxed state while pushing my body to it’s limits. The thing for me is that unlike most people who get to this state, I can remember most of what happens. Only once was I not able to fully remember and that was due in large part to the fact that I had stretched well beyond my physical means and entered a whole different state that I have absolutely no clue about!

I worked hard at drum corps to bring these things to the field with me. After years of practice and preparation I have learned how to harness this feeling and how to get myself into the zone. It’s not easy at first, but once you learn the keys to it, you can really do some incredible things out there.

Of course it’s never this easy! A lot of things have to happen, and this is just once piece of the puzzle. I’ll get into one last thing tomorrow and that is relentless preparation.

That is all for now…Can’t give away all of my secrets in one day!

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