Over the last four weeks, I have attempted to teach you to systematically increase your capacity to feel and create flow. The next step in this process is to begin to consciously apply the lessons in building flow to other aspects of your lives. As an example of how to do this, I went to the driving range in order to practice building flow within my golf swing.
I started by centering and doing a few light stretches while paying particular attention to my breath. At the end of five minutes, I was relatively loose and very centered. I took a few practice swings using a 58-degree wedge.
The goal was to create a reproducible pattern with my pre-shot ritual that would help to keep me centered while minimizing potential errors during setting up and executing the swing.
I started by standing behind the ball and taking a centered breath while picking my aim point. I placed the head of my club on the ground aimed through the center of my ball at the target. I then squared my club face to the ball and aligned my body to my club.
Addressing the ball (doffing my cap and bowing - Hello Ball! – and no it never gets old for me), I took an open and flowing breath up through my body and released the tension in my torso. Then, in order to ground my energy and lower my center of gravity, as I exhaled, I would bring the breath back down through my body and anchor it deep into to the earth. I practiced this ritual until I could comfortably execute it and felt balanced within my stance.
Now for the test: Using my newly developed pre-shot ritual prior to every shot, I would initiate my backswing from my core and attempt to hit a nice high arcing shot towards the red flag about 100 yards in front of me.
I considered a successful shot any that hit within a 10-yard radius of the flag, and the results were absolutely stunning. I hit 12 consecutive shots that all were well within 10-yards of the flag. Several actually hit the flag itself.
The next test would be switching to a longer club. Using my nine iron, I took a few practice swings and spent a couple of minutes working on the pre-shot ritual. After getting comfortable with a longer club in my hand, I started hitting balls toward the white flag about 130 yards out. After a couple of shots to dial in, the results were very similar: 8 of the last 10 shots were within the 10-yard circle.
The techniques for building flow that I have laid out over the last four weeks can be applied to all aspects of our lives. Using ritual practice to help build flow and create habits that help create consciousness is critical to the process.
This week’s assignment is to apply these principles to another aspect of your life. Create a ritual that centers you while building flow within your body. Allow yourself to stay conscious and notice what happens.
Note: I was hoping to recreate the test prior to this post. But, we are still hitting off mats and you cannot compare the scores of hitting off mats to hitting off the ground. I will recreate the test and report the results when spring has truly sprung.