The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. - Stephen Covey


Go ahead and POST!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Feeling Alive

The art of Being Present in the moment is one of the most rewarding yet illusive states of being. How often do you check in with yourself to see if you're really "here" or if you're lost in thought, worry, anticipation, or regret? One of the key elements taught to elite competitive athletes for peak performance is staying present on the razor's edge of the moment. There is a fascinating performance psychology book called "The Inner Game Of Tennis" by Timothy Gallway that states there are two parts of yourself working at all times. The CHATTER in your head is called SELF 1. This is the voice of judgment (of self and others), worry and doubt. If you know anyone who can't seem to shut their brain off, they can't shut off their SELF 1. The other self operating is the DO-ER - that part of your self that acts - aka: SELF 2. The state of optimum focus and performance (some call it "being in the zone") is when the SELF 1 is silenced and SELF 2 is allowed to operate unhindered by the egoic SELF 1. There are many ways people attempt to shut off the chatter in the mind. This is the main goal of Meditation. Thrill seekers feel more alive after a stunt because the mind naturally shuts off the SELF 1 in dangerous situations so the SELF 2 can deal with the danger efficiently. Your best self in any situation is where your mind is quiet and relaxed and your focus is not fragmented by mental chatter. This is the state of OPTIMUM PERFORMANCE.

So how do you get in the zone?
What do you do that requires optimum performance of yourself?
What threatens your focus?
How can you get out of your head and into the NOW?

I promise if you get into the practice of being present more often, you will see a dramatic positive shift in your effectiveness in EVERYTHING you do in life. Keep us posted!

All Things Possible!


  • At 8:25 AM, May 05, 2006 , Blogger Tom said...

    Hi Chris I guess I will be first here to post... well I hardly get into the Zone these days I have trouble sleeping at night due to my unemployment and handling things at home. I need to learn to meditate, I have been thinking about taking up yoga and one of the meditative arts I used to due some meditation and focus when i took tai kwon do but I had to give it up. I really enjoyed the classes. these days i dont so much other than drive a car that requires most of my attention. crazy out there.
    this process of focus is connected to your last ponderance of emptying the glass. I find it hard to get out of my head and I think most of us do. I am a worrier and a ducks in a row kinda guy although I am getting better. hahaha. I dont obsess over it anymore but I like to get the job done and get it done well. Perhaps this is my weakest topic that i have commented on since I found your web sight. I will be interested to see how others deal with this and hopefully glean some useful information to use in my further persuit of Tom Wickham for he is a bit lost to himself... I know he is a good guy he just needs to come out and play in this game of life... Once again Chris you hit a good topic one in which I need some help with. Thank you again for being you . Love you. Tom

  • At 10:42 AM, May 05, 2006 , Anonymous Jaschenka said...

    Interesting one again, Chris!

    I agree, Being Present in the moment is an art indeed. It's hard not to loose yourself in everyday's business.
    Hm, I guess I'm a worrier too and I can get carried away at it; one of those 'worst case scenario' types. I'm terribly practical and always have a plan of some sort in the back of my head just in case..The thing is, no matter how good your plan might be sometimes things occur that you never thought of (it's called 'life'), and funny enough it is at these times that we seem to perform best. Call it instincts, I guess.

    Anyway, my personal method to get in the Zone is drawing (what a surprise hey!) which is absolutely like meditation for me and without it I'm just (Although I would like to try some 'real' meditation some time.) In addition to that I am absolutely demanding in my way of performing while drawing which makes it a real challenge at times, but a very rewarding one too. By scanning my own borders, refreshing my techniques and pushing my limits in that process I require optimum performance of myself.
    I guess what threatens my focus is -like Tom- worries. It will break my concentration and keep me from the thing I need most. Fortunately I usually only need a little push in the right direction, someone to spill my thoughts to or some encouraging words to bring me back to earth. It's good to get a second opinion on the situation by people you trust- it puts things in a whole different perspective. (And often enough my doom scenarios vanished into thin air with that..)

    Another thing I find useful is to value small things rather than be swallowed by the big world. Take it one step at a time, and this will always give you something to smile at, no matter how little. It keeps your spirits up and..yes..your cup half full!

    No worries Tom, I'm certain there's a silver lining behind that cloud over your head..all it needs is a blow in the right direction to fly away!

    Elvish greetz, Be Inspired! XXX

  • At 5:43 AM, May 06, 2006 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Hi Chris,
    to live in the very moment is indeed one of the most important things in life. To be able to 'just be' (we call this state 'the flow') makes the difference between living and mere existing.
    Tom, I've tried meditation and it works wonderful! You'll need some time to learn to get into the meditative state, but that's a matter of one or two weeks. I've also had a yoga-class, this, however, was rather supporting to get into a good 'bodily' state for meditation. Running does the same for me (nonetheless yoga is fantastic and I can only suggest everyone to try it!).


  • At 5:18 AM, May 08, 2006 , Blogger Lara Ufuk said...

    Hi everyone,

    i just read that "The average person has 60,000 thoughts a day -- many of which we're neither in control of nor aware of. " Good topic Chris. i don't feel like there is one simple, straight answer to these questions since i use various methods depending on my mood, resources at that time and and ability. But i will try to share them as much as i can hoping that it might help.

    My belief is my greatest support in this that a kind of meditation is part of my life which i try to do as much as i can.. it is a state which lasts only a couple of minutes meaning that i can do any where, anytime when i drive, cook, walk, run...etc. all i need is my focus on my FREEDOM from everything and everyone and my INTEGRATION with the universe it self which takes me to my essence, original being and reminds me that that is where i will return.. it is a state of being full of love and freedom which comes from being integrated with the source of love/universe... even though information is never enough to feel the energy it helps a lot to read regularly about it..

    Other times, i have an incredibly busy mind so it is a big challenge to shut it down.. like you Tom, there are times i can't get much sleep just because i can't shut my mind.. but it is much less compared to past basically with learning to think more positive, realizing the perfection the universe meaning everything happens has a good reason and learning not to judge anyone for anything they do..

    in order to catch the present moment, i also try to be aware of my thoughts as much as i can..if they not good thoughts of course i try to change or not to think..if they are good thoughts it is good for our future but i still remind myself that my future is CREATED with my present actions..and even the smallest thing i do counts.. in fact i believe that they are the ones which will create my future as the bricks.. so i try to act know no matter how simple the act is.. acting on a positive thought with feeling good is great when i can.. but if i can't this means i am not feeling good enough for it i try to feel good if not by meditation by doing simple things like listening to a lively music, running, watching good movies, being productive about something/work if i have any, reading, communicating with people, dancing...etc ..but sometimes either nothing helps or i just don't want to push myself too much..i don't think that i have to feel good all the time.. we are humans.. personally, i am very emotional and can be moody.. as long as there is no self pity and no negative thoughts about future i let myself to feel bad, not to do anything, stay away from everything etc.. if there is something which upsets me very much, again without connecting any negative thoughts related to future and judging anyone, i let myself to react to it as humanly as possible.. this makes it easier to realize that the present moment which we don't feel good are always is a part of life but just temporary.. no matter how bad i feel just try to think positive..

    One last thing: the more i manage the focus at the present moment , the more i realize how comforting it is not to think about future which makes it easier every time.. because it basically gives freedom.. freedom of worries, expectations, disappointments, career...etc.

    Very best,

  • At 3:04 PM, May 08, 2006 , Blogger Christopher Showerman said...

    As always, you all have stunningly beautiful things to say. Thank you Tom for your openness and sincerity. Jaschenka and Lara - you guys sound like you could teach classes in therapy! I enjoyed practicing some of your ideas - although my meditative drawings don't look anything like Jaschenkas! Finally Welcome Earonn! Thanks for the thoughts about Yoga. It's a great way to regain focus AND agility! Bravo!

    All Things Possible!

  • At 8:42 PM, May 09, 2006 , Anonymous DaveW said...

    Hmmm - I wonder how much we could all accomplish if the "chatter" could be eliminated altogether?

    I don't think I've ever really thought about how I get into the "zone" but I certainly recognize when I'm there regardless of the activity - so many things require optimum performance, work, excercise, any creative activity. I don't know about anyone else, but I find if I'm not feeling well or overtired I lose focus easily!

    I find it helpful to take a few moments before any major undertaking to focus on the goal and clear my head so to speak.

    I'll certainly be trying some of the ideas presented here in the near future!


  • At 2:04 AM, May 10, 2006 , Blogger Lara Ufuk said...

    when i was meditating this morning i realized one more thing which seemed very effective and therefore important to share..

    relaxation and focus is much easier if you add deeeep breathing to the meditation which i mentioned before.. it is important to breathe slowly and deeply from diaphragm.. it helps the integration with the universe, just to be a part of it because it lets the energy to flow in the body easier.. the energy flow in the body is a huge topic itself which really everything is about and that is also what yoga does opens the channels for the energy flow..

    Tom, i have written this much mostly for you because i know some of this might help from experience if you can do them.. if you like to ask more don't hesitate to email me.. my email is

  • At 10:20 AM, May 10, 2006 , Blogger Christopher Showerman said...

    Hey Dave!!

    You are so right about being more efficient if we could quiet the chatter. I was working out with a friend this morning and told him to put all of his focus on one simple thing - in this case a line drawing on a machine. This kept his SELF 1 occupied enough so that his SELF 2 was able to do an awesome set of tricep extensions where he felt physically fatigued by the end but felt mentally as if someone else did all the work. His work out was completely calm mentally and completely efficient physically. I thought it was a great example of what can be accomplished in "The Zone".

    Good Luck with your application!

    All Things Possible!

  • At 11:11 AM, May 10, 2006 , Anonymous Jaschenka said...

    Wonderful input Lara, love that part about the breathing! I never gave it any thought really; I'll try to do so next time I draw and see what I come up with.

    In addition to my 'meditative drawing' post above (in which it is not about the results, Chris, but about the effort you put into it and the energy you get out of it!) I figured some of you might be interested in the concept of the 'mandala'. This is really my mom's area so I asked her for an explanation to inspire all of us out here. Here goes (thanks mom!)

    The word “mandala” comes from an old Indian language: Sanskrit. It means circle. Nothing more, nothing less.
    The circle is the most common form around us. It has no beginning and no end. It goes on and on as life itself. It has a centre and an outer edge.
    We are like the centre in that circle. We can stay in our own circle, safe and secure. Or we can develop ourselves and grow and break out and discover the world outside.
    Drawing mandalas can help us with that. When you draw and colour a mandala you are very concentrated and you can forget everything around you. When you see your mandala come to life because of the colours, it gives you a great feeling. You can relax and at the same time it gives you energy.

    Most people say: “but I cannot draw”.
    For drawing mandalas there is no need to!
    With a pair of compasses and a ruler and pencil everybody can draw a mandala.
    You just have to learn the basics: how to divide a circle in parts. Then make some aid circles and start drawing lines in every part. Straight lines, curves, spirals, zigzags, bubbles, etc.

    Drawing and colouring mandalas is very therapeutic and healing.
    You can see the circle as your own space, where you can find peace and rest.
    When you draw mandalas you can learn about yourself: do I stay in the centre or will I break out? Do I use dark colours or bright, do I make round lines or sharp? Do I do these things in real life too?

    It’s very interesting to see how people “behave” in their drawings the same as in real life.

    Drawing mandalas is fun, healing and has much value. Read a book about mandalas and try it, or start colouring pre-printed mandalas, they are available on the internet.

    Try it, and grow!! Good luck!

    (Take a look at my moms mandalas through the link below to get an idea!)

  • At 12:21 PM, May 10, 2006 , Anonymous Jaschenka said...

    OOPS, something went wrong with that link. Just click on my name below to go to right place, alrighty.

  • At 3:33 AM, May 11, 2006 , Blogger Tom said...

    wow Jaschenka your moms mandalas are beautiful. I can see the tell a story of life . what she has seen or wants to see. her thoughts. I can see why this would help to free your mind of day to day problems. thank you for sharing this with us. I will have to try to draw a mandala. Tom

  • At 8:03 PM, May 11, 2006 , Anonymous Anonymous said...


  • At 8:06 PM, May 11, 2006 , Anonymous Sue said...

    Hi to all...I think I lost my post and will start over! -- I've enjoyed the conversation about different ways to quiet your thoughts and get into the "zone" as Chris puts it. I've been very interested in the labyrinth (not a maze) concept.. I walk for exercise, but I'd like to be able to truly walk a labyrinth as well, because I've heard how wonderful that is for centering. There are none near me and I've thought of building my own in my yard. Has anyone, perhaps Jaschenka, experienced this? There are some truly marvelous labyrinths in Europe, I understand, such as the one at the cathedral in Chartres, France. There are virtual labyrinths on the web, but a real one must be quite a meditative experience. -- I loved the mandala information and found "mom's" -- beautiful! You are all so eloquent on this forum! Sue


Post a Comment

<< Home