Turning lead into gold on the linksby James Fish on 07/15/13
A lot of times when playing a round of golf we don't always put our best foot forward. We sometimes start by playing a poor front nine holes and losing our will or spirit to bounce back and recover. But we should try to go the extra mile by not losing our cool, our center and ultimately our composure because when we take some small amount of time to follow the breath, everything changes. We feel light again, fluid and open to changing our perspective. A good Zen priest is never ruled by his or her emotional body and neither should we. If we can be more connected to our breath on a regular basis the misfortunes of wayward shots or missed putts can be converted into the fortunes of a better balanced perspective as we forge ahead towards our next shot. Case in point: earlier today during a playing lesson with a student of mine I made a great putt from off the green to save par on the first hole, a par-5 at Fox-tail North. Then I proceeded to make 8 straight bogeys. I had 4 three-putts and was beginning to feel the frustration mounting. But I heard the voice of my intuition telling me to stay cool, hang in there, the tide will turn. And so it did and even though I made a few more painful bogeys on the back nine, I finished strong by birdieing both the 16th and 18th holes to finish with a one-over par score of 37 on the back nine. When we find the fortitude and inner calm to weather the storm, we can become the Alchemist on the Links by turning lead into gold. By staying in the present moment and recognizing the power and importance of the process, we can move into a higher zone of awareness and see the ground before us from an elevated perspective. This shifting of our focus is the beginning of a thousand-mile journey which begins with a single step, a single breath and a single-mindedness.