I’m not a big fan of sports. I never have been. I was always a skinny kid, so I could never play. My dad wouldn’t even let me be a benchwarmer because he thought I would be destroyed, and also because he couldn’t afford the uniforms and travel and the time, etc. Dad didn’t watch sports on TV, and so neither did I. I still don’t watch sports. Honestly, it has much to do with I don’t have time to sit down for that long and get worked up about someone else playing a game. It also bores me fairly quickly.
When I turned eighteen, I started martial arts. I learned pretty quickly that I liked the challenge, and the competition. While other guys were watching millionaires toss a ball around on TV, I was scoring head shots for extra points. I was learning who I was by being beaten, and occasionally doing some winning.
Then I started competing in Powerlifting. I competed for ten years. Took home a ton of trophies, earned four state records.
In Powerlifting and in Martial Arts, I rapidly discovered I was never competing against anyone other than myself. I was competing against yesterday’s version of me. My strengths and weaknesses, my wins and losses, my skills and my absence of skills.
This leads me to movies – again.
Since I never watched sports, I never watched sports movies. The one thing I like about the sports movies I have watched is that the protagonist (or the team) must find it within themselves to rise up against the odds, find the strength within themselves, and be more than what they are to overcome the insurmountable obstacles and win the prize. It’s the inspiration I enjoyed, not the sport itself. I couldn’t care if the basketball team won the championship, did they push themselves beyond their preconceived limitations and become more than they could be?
So instead, I watched a ton of martial arts movies. Simply because the same message is conveyed, suffer more in training than in combat. Be more than what you were yesterday.
There have been a lot of cheesy martial arts movies over the years. Hell, they are all cheesy. They basically have the same plot.
“You killed my (fill in the blanks) or beat me once, now I must train really hard to defeat you.”
But when it comes to the sports movies I have seen, I really enjoyed those that carried this message:
Suffer, train hard, focus on the challenge at hand, win.
One of favorite sports movies is “The Replacements” starring Keanu Reeves and Gene Hackman. Both men are stellar actors and brough their best to this film.
The premise is simple. A football team is on strike because they want more money (than they already have). So the team must hire a bus load of has-beens, washouts, criminals, gangsters, and psychos to play for them. These guys are all from different backgrounds and social strata. Over the course of basic training and the first few games, they have to learn to get along, get back into shape, and learn to play as a team that knows each other’s moves.
Over the course of a season, they eventually win more than they lose. They are given a shot at the championship. Will they win against seasoned professional players? Watch the movie.
There’s a scene in the movie where the coach (Hackman) is discussing the things that went terribly wrong during their last game. He discusses the concept of FEAR. The team starts bringing up their phobias. Reeves’s character has different ideas.
He tells the team about quicksand. How every moment you seem to sink deeper and deeper into ruin. Quicksand is how one thing could go wrong, which dampens your spirit. Then another thing goes wrong. Then it seems like all is going to hell. There is no way out.
The idea of quicksand isn’t relegated only to sports or movies about sports. Mr. Murphy (of Murphy’s Law infamy) seems to visit us all occasionally. When he shows up, things can go to hell very quickly. Mr. Murphy can cause one simple thing to go wrong and it seems the rest of the day is shot.
Take this morning, for instance. On my way to teach Tai Chi, I had plans of making a deposit at the bank. It is Saturday, and if I get the deposit there before noon, it will be put in the bank today. My class starts at 11am and ends at noon. If I don’t get the deposit to the bank on time, it will be Monday before the money is added to the account. I realized that I left the house later than planned.
Speeding down the highway, I quickly considered my options. One branch is in the opposite direction of where I am heading. It may take me a few minutes to get there and double back toward my destination. Another branch is on the way, more or less, but doesn’t have a night deposit slot. I’ll have to wait in a line. I considered this carefully and calculated my available time. I arrived at the conclusion that the branch that’s on the way might be my best option.
This is when Mr. Murphy shows his ugly face. That branch is closed. The tubes aren’t working. I waited a few minutes, pressing the call button on both tubes, before deciding I was now running late and had to leave. The deposit had to wait.
On the way, I called the wife to let her know I didn’t make the deposit. Then she hit me with the news. The really bad news.
The reverse gear had gone out on the truck. NO reverse. That was a rebuilt transmission we had installed 60k miles ago. It should have lasted much longer. Now it’s out.
The truck is 25 years old and only worth $3000. A new transmission will be $3500, plus, the transfer case had been out a while, and that’s a couple grand more. The truck is pretty much done.
Two things went wrong today.
I could have gone crazy. I could have really gotten worked up over all this. I’m fasting today and I could’ve used this as an excuse to really let out a long tirade of “woe is me” profanities.
But I didn’t. I did not fall into quicksand.
This is just a thing.
The money will make it to the bank. It will be Monday, but it will be fine. We can let the truck sit a while. We’re in the middle of moving, but my son has a truck. We could even limp ours along if we don’t use reverse. Both our properties are such that I don’t have to use reverse to traverse either plot of land. It will be alright.
I put Mr. Murphy in his place. I don’t need to get worked up over any of this. This is just a thing. I can work around this. If I let this get to me, more things could go wrong. My attitude could exacerbate every little event that happens today. The entire day could be destroyed if I let two events deter me.
You can do this too. You can focus on what is truly going on. Be in the now. Be present. Be the boss of your emotions. If you let your emotions take over, all hell breaks loose. Mr. Murphy gets his foot in the door and lights the house on fire.
I tell my clients a simple rule about health. I’ve made it a sign I plan to hang on the wall.
Well-being is determined by only two factors.
What you put in your mouth.
What you put in your mind.
You control both of these factors.
In fact, they are the only two aspects of your life over which you have any control at all.
Your body is controlled by how your mind operates. If you think everything is doom and gloom, that’s exactly what you'll receive. You create those circumstances with your mind, you thoughts, your attitude, and your actions.
These thoughts will also negatively affect your physical body.
Where do you feel fear? In your gut.
Where do you feel dread? In you gut.
Where do you feel anger? In your gut.
Where do you get that feeling that you know something you can’t explain? In your gut.
Where is your immune system? In your gut.
Where are four of your neurotransmitters produced? In your gut.
How you approach life and circumstances directly affects a large percentage of how your body operates. There’s that old saying “You are what you think.” Several people have written books about this. Your body reacts to everything you think and feel. Your body cannot tell the difference between a real crisis and one contrived by your mind.
When Mr. Murphy arrives unannounced at your daily dinner party, you have an opportunity. Slide into quicksand and get in over your head, or become mindful of your situation and fully aware of your circumstances – right here and right now.
Don’t let one miscalculated, misinterpreted scenario set the tone for your whole day.
By the way, I taught a great Tai Chi class and no one was the wiser that I had a couple of bad events. Because they weren’t bad.
Everything will be alright.
Because I feel it will. I know it will. I am directing it and willing it into being.
And I’m not going to let it get away from me.
This is not an obstacle, it’s an opportunity.
An opportunity to rewire my neural pathways to keep my emotions in check when things first seem to be crumbling. It's training. Just like martial arts.
Equanimity is the ability to remain calm in the midst of chaos.
Beginning each Tai Chi class, I lead everyone in a guided meditation. We focus on the now. What is happening inside and outside you this very moment. Being aware of it without losing yourself in it or judging it.
Then we begin our work for the day. I stress their bodies just a little bit and remind them to breathe and relax. We can remain calm when things are stressful. We can keep our composure when we are taxed.
This is the essence of Tai Chi.
This is what I teach.
Because this is how I live.
Just like sports, how you train is how you’ll perform. Train yourself to remain calm in the midst of chaos. Train your brain to relax and focus when stressed. Each training day, push yourself harder. Become more than what you were yesterday. Become capable of taking any challenge.
The more you sweat in training, the less you’ll bleed in combat.
You cannot control your circumstances, but you can control how you react to them.
Don’t fall into quicksand.
Remain calm and breathe.
Joe “Weeg” Weigant is an empowerment coach who specializes in combining different bodywork and energy work modalities (Reiki, Acupressure, Tuning Forks, Massage, Reflexology, Sound/Vibration Therapy) to release trauma, reset the autonomic nervous system, and balance the energy systems of the body. This begins the healing process in the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of our lives. Weeg sells herbal products by Nature’s Sunshine and Pure Herbs Ltd. and is a Representative for Juice Plus. Weeg teaches Karate and Tai Chi, Reiki Certification, as well as seminars and workshops in metaphysical and spiritual matters. Weeg is available for sessions at Tri State Holistic Wellness by appointment only.
Contact by text 812.568.5356, or Facebook Messenger to set an appointment.