Delighted by rain over the past weekend I was able to do something I rarely do for a lengthy period of time: Read!
Over the few days of rain I read the book The Rise Of Superman by Steven Kotler. Interesting read, at first I wondered if it contained the secret to accessing super human qualities and in essence it did but with a catch. Nothing comes without a price.
The discussion and stories in the book related to finding your flow in life or that special space where split second decisions are innate and made without actual thought because our thinking is actually suspended in life or death situations. Hence why adventure athletes are the ones who most often experience this feeling. They know when they jump off a cliff or building that the "flow" will hit but only if their life is on the line.
The flip side of this is that it then becomes only attained by doing something more challenging and risky. Akin to chasing the dragon with drugs, never finding that ultimate high after the first hit; unless you do more.
The brainwaves that they access in these moments are only attained by some people after years of dedicated meditation and even then not as intensely. What does that mean though? Is the shortcut that ultimately ends their life worth it? Many would speculate yes.
One could take drugs to find this freedom as well but they are all shortcuts with ramifications that you have to be able to live with or die for. The parallel to quick fixes in fitness or diet industries is astounding. If you drop fifty pounds with very little effort or the creation of new lifelong habits does that really internally reward you? No, it is extrinsic reward with the comments you get from everyone around you. Steriods are a surefire way to gain mass and look ripped sooner but what is the intrinsic dialogue going on with all the external reward? Deep down inside you have to realize that it isn't real, all the facades add up over time and decay our soul.
I can relate to the athletes as the natural progression in life for myself has always been to go further, faster or try something new. The difference is that it isn't dangerous, it enhances my life and my ability as a trainer. Keeping the brain engaged along with the body, learning new things is what prevents aging, the minute we stop learning we start a decline in our mental and physical capacity. Have you ever watched a person walk across the street that has lost the ability to pick up their legs or open their chest? They shuffle, often times tripping eventually and breaking a bone with then leads to social isolation and early death.
There has to be a balance in the middle, a natural progression without peaking too soon. Earning the highs without killing ourselves for it.
It was surprising the other day to realize I haven't wrote since the end of January. Life is busy (chosen) and with it the need to write has been saved for newsletters.
Ask yourself when you look in the mirror at the end of the day: Was what I did today a reflection of my internal self or external validation sought readily in social media and other outlets nowadays. The answer might surprise you if you can hear the real voice talking.
I Live Life Now,
Paddle Canada SUP Flatwater I Instructor