When I was young, my approach to everything was disruptive. When I surfed and skated, it was just about going hard. When something came to me in my personal life, it was acted out with little regards to consequences or feasibility.
As I grew older, I started to see links in behaviors and activities. I shifted from being the actor on stage to the observer in the audience. With my surfing, instead of just doing; I began to focus on the dynamics and mechanics.
When my son was young, we enrolled him in a martial arts class. I was keen on watching the classes and I instantly noticed that most of the drills were based upon common exercises we do today in a gym. I immediately drew upon the value of good centering they were trying to pass on to the students and I began to see how it radiated out to many facets of our life.
In many sports, there is a phrase called, “Rolling Down the Windows”. This mainly occurs when you are landing or completing a maneuver and your body goes off-balance. In order to try to regain composure, the athlete begins to flail his arms around. We all have seen this… It is the frantic arm motion we do when we hit a slippery area of a floor. Most of the time we end up on our butts.
Kelly Slater is the master of being centered. I watched a video of him and in moments of trouble, he calmly stretched his leading arm out in a straight line over his stringer. This seemingly kept his body still and centered enough to regain composure.
The key is that Kelly concentrates on staying in a direct line over the stringer of his surfboard. The stringer is a wooden strip that runs through the direct center of a surfboard. Thus, if you are in line with the stringer; you are centered.
I wrote before that feeling the magic is one mission for the year. Being centered is another mission. When you are centered, you are stable. You are calm. You are balanced. This pans out to all aspects of my life. Eating, relationships, stress, finances, and employment.
In times of trouble, the aim is to get through it without rolling down the windows.