You May Find Yourself

And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack.
And you may find yourself in another part of the world.
And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile.
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house
With a beautiful wife
And you may ask yourself
How did I get here?
--Talking Heads, "Once in a Lifetime"

In his piece on Tuesday, Jerry brought our work here full circle, returning to the topic of how we would work with Tiger Woods. Jerry acknowledged that Tiger has forgotten more about how to play golf than we will ever know, but said that this doesn't matter. We'd start with Tiger the same way we start with everybody: with centering and the breath.

While working with top athletes is a dream we hope to see come true, the main constituency we expect to work with is non-famous people like ourselves who seek to maximize their potential. We've assumed that because our methods bring deep feeling to the body and, with that, a concomitant feeling of vulnerability, certain groups of people won't be amenable to this work.

But in the past couple of weeks I have watched with something like wonder as I've had conversation after conversation with members of exactly the group that we've considered least likely to be our audience, which you might find kind of funny when I tell you who they are. (Sometimes we fail to see what's right in front of our faces.)

These conversations have been with men, my age or a bit younger, who find themselves in situations not unlike where I found myself a couple of years ago. They seem to be looking around and saying something like this to themselves:

"I thought I was living skillfully. I thought I would be more at this point in my life. But when I look at my life, I see a lack of purpose, a lack of solidity. I lack the fullness of my own integrity, and I don't know how to make it better."

As the song says: "How did I get here?"

Once these conversations started to happen, I realized that of course there are men just like me out there who could, as I did, use a little help. And of course I am being called to help them. The universe tends to send us exactly what we need in order to learn and grow.

What they're experiencing: I have been there. Hell, I am still there. I do not live in the fullness of my own integrity, and I suffer in that lack. But I am trying, goddammit. Though I may have miles to go on this journey toward solidity of self, I also know just how far I've come since I started this process. And what was the first step in beginning the process of change? It's exactly what Jerry said on Tuesday: it started with centering and the breath.

Training Tiger Woods

A little over a year ago, this project started with me writing an open letter to Tiger. Now, that I have declared that we are ready to begin teaching, I thought I would spend a little time talking about how I would help Tiger return to relevance in the golfing world.

Before I start, I want to clarify that I am absolutely sure that Tiger has forgotten more about golf than I will ever know. I do not doubt his golf acumen or his swing. I am sure that he and those around him have analyzed every aspect of his game, and yet he’s still not playing. The last statement that I read talked about his game not “being there yet.” Although the only information that any of us have is being released from those around him, I personally have my doubts about his golf game not being there.

The stress of returning to the public’s eye, the speculation and attention of the golfing world, not to mention the insatiable need of the media are each in themselves reason enough to stay away. But combine those and I begin assuming the ‘game’ that isn’t there is the ability or desire to deal with everything outside of golf that comes with Tiger trying to make a comeback.

Over the next few weeks, I will lay out how Ben and I would help a professional athlete using the TTW principles.

So, where would I begin with Tiger on this journey? At the beginning of course. With centering and breathing.

Bold Assertions

We began with the practice of centering (a practice accessible to all) and hypothesized that we could apply it in the service of meeting our highest potential.

We spent a year testing our hypothesis, and ultimately we deemed the experiment a success: through the application of centering, we discovered some of the blocks to our potential, and, through centering, we began to move beyond those blocks.

We make no claim that we've arrived at any destination, for there is no destination. The practice continues, and will continue, always.

But we believe now that with consciousness, we can achieve up to the very limits of our potential. With consciousness, all blocks to achievement can be overcome.

This is not theory. This is not an intellectual exercise. We are living this practice, and it is in harvesting the fruits of our practice that we dare make such bold assertions.

It is our observation that many people are stuck, embedded in patterns that no longer serve them. We've been stuck in such patterns ourselves, but through our practice, we have seen our patterns change.

Through our practice, we have seen our lives change for the better, and it is in service to that change that we are called to teach.

Achievement Through Consciousness

Have you ever heard that one magical word that makes everything make sense? That once it’s been heard, you’re forever different? It’s as if the transmission of knowledge from teacher to student is finally completed. All it took is that one elusive word. No? Me neither.

I might hear that word, and for a moment I get it. But until I feel the power of the word flow through my body and I experience the word as part of my being, I cannot claim the knowledge as mine. And even then, I might need to experience it over and over again until not only is the knowledge mine, but now I’m capable of sharing that knowledge with others.

This is how I learn. This is how I teach. This is achievement through consciousness.


In his piece on Tuesday, Jerry boldly declared our experiment a success. We're ready to teach, he said.

I wouldn't have made that declaration without him doing so. I might have gotten hung up on that my golf game is still very much a work in progress. How far have we come? Very far. How far do we still have to go? Well, any concept of a final destination is unskillful thinking, but even if we limit ourselves to our initial goals (Jerry breaking 90 regularly, me breaking 100), I suspect I still have a way to go.

So are we ready to teach?

Absolutely we are. But let's be very specific in exactly what we're here to teach. We're both practicing golf avidly, but we're not doing it just or even primarily to learn golf. If that's your main goal, you are probably better served by finding someone who teaches more traditionally than we do--we can model centering, we can model our own practice, but neither of us can model a completed swing. By some measures, I'm no more than a highly devoted advanced beginner. Jerry would probably call himself an intermediate-level golfer.

But if your goal is an exploration of yourself, a willingness to confront your deep tendencies that get in the way of you meeting your highest potential--in all walks of life--then we're exactly the people you want to work with. I am unequivocally a better golfer and tennis player than before I started practicing with these principles. But far more important is how deeply I have come to understand barriers and blocks that I (and others!) put in my way from a very young age. More important still is that I am starting to release those blocks, and that release is making me a better person. I am living a better life. Yes, my golf game and tennis game have improved, but that pales in comparison to how much my life has improved.

TTW – Moving Forward

A little over a year ago, Ben and I embarked on the TTW experiment. We were going to try to develop a training program that would help people reach their highest potential.

Our tools were to be our willingness to be conscious, the determination to practice, and the ability to challenge ourselves physically, mentally, and spiritually.

If you have followed us on this journey you know that we chose golf as our medium to test our theories.
Today, on Tuesday October 4th, 2016 I am declaring the experiment to be officially over. I am also declaring it a success. I have no doubt that Ben and I are better golfers, teachers, and students from the work we have done over the last year. So the time has come to quit experimenting and start teaching.

I am proud to announce that Ben and I are formally creating a company to begin offering our teaching techniques and services to the community at large. Very soon our company:

                              TTW Coaching
                    Achievement Through Consciousness

Will be open for business. Over the next few weeks, we will begin to post some thoughts and ideas on expanding what we learned with the golf experiment and how we plan to apply them to other aspects of coaching.

Note: On Wednesday October 5th the day after I drafted this post, I went to play 9 holes at Coal Creek Golf Course in Louisville. It was a cool afternoon and I was able to walk the course alone. After 5 holes, I was 1 shot under par. That’s right. Minus 1 after 5 holes. I think we’ve got this!

Finding Joy in Golf

I have spoken many times recently about my desire to unlock the power of my golf swing. The skills I have cultivated through my centering practice, especially the ability to feel more accurately and acutely what's going on in my body, have allowed me to notice that, when I work on power, I clench the muscles in my jaw when I swing: I don the stony mask of grim determination.

Do I even need to say that there can be no benefit to this expression of tension? Whenever I experience a moment's breakthrough in one of the sports I practice, it's always accompanied by a feeling of effortlessness. In skiing and mountain biking, I experience it as near-weightlessness, as though flying. In soccer or tennis, I'll accomplish something at or beyond the limits of my ability with an ease that makes success seem pre-ordained. In golf, I feel freedom of flow, with no blockage and no tightness.

In our lesson last week, I witnessed a lot of struggle from my students. One wore the mask of grim determination. The other offered a slight scowl or slump of the shoulders with every ball she hit. They both so wanted to hit the ball better. I tried to convince them that we're on the right track, that what we're doing together is working.

But in my own practice, I still find myself wearing that stony mask. It seems I don't fully trust that I myself am on the right track, that what I'm doing is working.

I know I don't want to go through life wearing that grim mask. But it is not enough to say, "I don't want to hit with grim determination." After all, as we've said, the body doesn't know not. So how do I remove the mask?

I began to ask myself, "Can I hit the ball joyfully?" I began practicing some 30ish-yard pitches, and I set that as my goal: I wanted to discover what hitting the ball joyfully would feel like.

Would I claim to have completely figured it out? No. Sometimes my hitting was fun. Sometimes I got frustrated.

But I did notice this:

It was a beautiful day in late September, sunny and warm, and I was in a giant green-grass park, the entire thing essentially a playing field. I was holding an oddly-shaped stick, and I was using it to try to hit little white balls up in the air in smooth and lovely arcs toward a distant flagstick. In the grand scheme of things, that's kind of a silly thing to do, don't you think? But I found pleasure in the motion of swinging that stick, and delight in the ping that sounded when the stick's striking face contacted the ball just so, and beauty in the balls' smooth arcs.

Framed like this, do you wonder, as I do, why we struggle so?

What If?

I worry sometimes that I'm deluding myself about how well the techniques that Jerry and I have developed are working. Maybe it's just that I so want to see success that I do.

Except: No. It's not that.

On Thursday, I was practicing hitting pitch shots from 30ish yards away, and I watched the balls group around the pin. A year ago they didn't do that. I unequivocally have a better short game now than I did a year ago. The practice is paying off.

On Saturday, I was playing tennis, and I paid the most objective attention I could to the quality of my serving, and undeniably, I serve with more power, accuracy, consistency and confidence than I did a year ago. The practice is paying off.

It hit me that the truly challenging question isn't, "What if it's all just confirmation bias?" It's far more challenging to consider this: What if the work we're doing is capable of unlocking our abilities to the very limits of our potential? What if this all really, truly works? What if, by continuing to attend to what's going on in our bodies and what's going on with our energy, coupled with regular practice, the end result is that we see improvement to levels we've barely dared imagine?

What happens if we discover that our limitations have been largely self-imposed? Then what do we do?