The Athlete Stress Redress
I am stressed, I am anxious, I am doubtful, I am frightened, I am negative, I am frustrated.
They are just some of the words I often hear coming out of athlete’s mouths when I work with them, especially in the psychology modality when they are willing to open-up. These are words that often crossed my own mind and lips as a former athlete and sufferer of anxiety.
The relationship to these words and self-definition I know every well. Sometimes working with others I can see my own reflection in the mirror of what people are explaining to me. There’s a brutal honesty in this work, a dropping of all bullshit to look straight into the conditions of what we think and believe.
The real issue I feel is that we define ourselves by the conditions we experience. Stress or anxiousness for instance happen to us, they occur to us, they are not us. Seems so ridiculously simple and yet there we have it, we define ourselves by what occurs.
I see it over and over repeatably again, and I know it so well because it was also me.
Stress and anxiety happen to us, we cannot be their definition because we stand outside of them, we are aware of them.
Conscious awareness is the energy field that senses the stress point, which means in simple terms that conscious awareness occurs outside of those two states of stress and anxiety. Of course, that does not mean for a second that we don’t feel it, it just means ultimately there is no definition in it, we cannot be defined by it no matter how strong it feels.
Athletes or people generally will at times say to me “ I am anxious”, and I like to say, no you are not, you are conscious and aware of anxiety taking place, it is occurring to you, it’s a happening and an experience, and like all happenings and experiences, it comes and it goes, arises and dissolves, in order for something to be a definition it must stay in place.
The only thing we can say about definition is that we are conscious and aware, that is about the only definition any human being can apply. Before you reference sleep and your consciousness coming and going, let me ask you this, how do you know you have been asleep? Did awareness leave too? You cannot not be aware, it’s what you are.
Deep inside you do!
The longer you define yourself by what is happening, the longer you will suffer. Both as an athlete and a human being.
For athletes this knowledge is not just important, it’s critical.
The life of an athlete demands you let go of the experiences, and it demands you let go of the definitions you “think” an athletic life puts on you.
You must have the capacity to re-start again and again, you must be able to hit the reset button, and with the knowledge that you are not defined by what you think, believe, or do, comes the incredible freedom to experience whatever it is you want to experience without being defined by it.
Without the definition comes possibility, the end of mind-based limitation, constriction and restriction.
Now this doesn’t mean you are going to turn up to your next race and you won’t feel nerves in your body, they are an evolutionary protection mechanism that would have kept you safe in the early days of mans evolution, and given you the ability to run away from tigers. But even that “you”, yes the real “you” that you are aware of, once again, is first and foremost awareness itself.
The nerves that run through the body you occupy, not only would have kept you safe, they now muster energy reserves inside your body to help you with this goal of yours.
So the next time you feel the nerves and think it should not be so, look at it for what it is. Let the nerves be and stay aware.
Nerves become anxiety when awareness is retracted and your mind starts with the labels and tags we started with, those labels that we turn into definitions, remember those? I am stressed, I am anxious, I am doubtful, I am frightened, I am negative, I am frustrated. Tags and labels that lead to judgments which fuel even more tags and labels.
When this circuit starts its thing, as it does, find yourself some space and ask the question, who is aware? I am aware! Who am I?
I am awareness! I am.
Take that awareness into your race and apply it as liberally as you can, because it is the real you, unhindered, free to fly, full of the energy that evolution itself is delivering to you.
The only thing that can block this path is the belief that you are a product and a definition of what happens to you, and the tags and labels your noggin likes to dream up.
Go and rip it up.