Singing and Swinging: What to do when you lose your way

Have you ever felt ‘off’? Things you used to do with ease seem to take a lot of focus and effort. Or you are going through the exact same motions as before, but you don’t feel fulfilled like you used to. As much as you try to get out of a funk, nothing seems to get you back to where you know you belong. No matter how many times you try to recreate Unique Life Feels (ULFs), it seems you are not able to feel what you once did.

This feeling reminds me of a scene from one of my favorite movies, “The Legend of Bagger Vance”. The one time all-star golfer, and hero of Savannah, Rannulph Junah (Matt Damon) struggles to find his swing. As his soon to be caddie Bagger Vance (Will Smith) points out, perhaps Junah’s real struggle is with more than the mechanics of his golf swing. Here is the scene from the movie. Here is a partial transcript if you want to skip the clip (though I recommend the clip).

Bagger: See, the trick is to find your swing.
Junuh: What did you say?
Bagger: You lost your swing. We got to go find it.
Bagger: Now it's somewhere in the harmony of all that is...
Bagger: ...all that was...
Bagger: ...all that will be.
Sometimes in life we “lose our swing” and need help to get it back.

Recently, my brother invited me to play some indoor golf and it became apparent I too had “lost my swing”. It was probably unreasonable to think I could just pick up where I left off, but mentally I expected to hit my normal shots. Even though I was out of practice and had not even attempted to golf for the past few months, something inside me expected the best version of golfer to shine through.

There is value in practice, routine, and working to improve. Even in small ways, how we spend our time makes a big impact on how we interact with the world around us. If there is something meaningful you want to maintain or improve in your life, there is a need to make a conscious effort to make it a part of your routine.

Trying to “find my swing”. The tree is a good indicator or how things started off! After getting back in the groove and settled things started coming together.

This post is about more than just golf though. The title for this post ‘Singing and Swinging’ hit me one Sunday while my wife and I attended church. At our church, we begin the service singing worship songs. On this particular Sunday I felt as though my voice as carrying the tune with some power, the notes flowed steadily as we sang along. Whether the melody or the harmony, my voice was locked into the songs. It felt great to sing and feel so connected to the music!

During the last song, I had a much more meaningful realization. My voice was much more of an outward expression of my spirit than I had realized.

The fact my voice felt connected and ‘on’ was great! The realization my voice, and spirit, had been ‘off’ for months was not.

I had been letting my faith wane. Not that I was actively abandoning my faith, but I was certainly no longer in a practice of growing my faith. In some way I had become Rannulph Junuh. I was expecting to stay filled with faith, even though I had not been making faith a priority. I believe the religious term for this situation is that I had become a sloth, not putting in effort to maintain or grow my faith.

As I stood in church and thought about how pure and connected my voice felt, I could not help but think of another clip from “The Legend of Bagger Vance”. In this scene, Bagger is explaining “the field” to Rannulph Junah. Here is partial transcript if you want to skip the video clip (although I recommend the clip).

There's a perfect shot out there trying to find each and every one of us.
All we got to do is get ourselves out of its way, to let it choose us.
...
Where everything that is becomes one.                
You've got to seek that place, with your soul, Junuh.                
Seek it with your hands, don't think about it, feel it.                
Your hands are wiser than your head's ever gonna be.                
Now I can't take you there just hopes I can help you find a way.                
It's just you that ball, that flag, and all you are.   
“The field” is the groove we all search for, the place where life makes sense. Often we might need someone (or something) to help us redirect in order to “see the field”.

During those few months of feeling a disconnect I did several things to try to fill in a hole I did not consciously realize had even been growing. As Bagger Vance explains to Junuh, getting back into my faith did not include a checklist of things to do, but rather involved letting myself go enough to feel connected with my faith once again.

For me, it is no surprise “The Legend of Bagger Vance” is based on a sacred Hindu story about a deity intervening in a warrior’s life to help them realize their full potential. I believe the Holy Spirit dwells in each of us and has the ability to help us all reach our full potential.

Perhaps sometimes the spirit is communicating with us, and we are just focusing on everything except this one thing inside which can lead us back to a fulfilling life. Perhaps that Holy Spirit is always working to help guide our way, and we also just need to “get ourselves out of its way” and let it choose how we can use our gifts to live a fulfilling life. Peace.

Posted: A Nature Poem

Posted

I sit. I Listen.
I allow silence to surround.

With winter fading and spring awaiting,
no leaves on tree or ground.

With little wind the forest rests,
and invites me to do the same.

I close my eyes and rest as well,
and let the woods reclaim.

With mother nature all around it’s easy to let go.
Of all my stress and worry, right now I do not know.

And as I sit and listen to the stillness of the breeze,
my focus shifts to “Posted” signs, stapled to the trees.

They rustle and they rattle and break the peaceful quiet.
We have broken nature, though society denies it.

Nature is the great inventor of what was and is to come.
While we continue to abuse her, we become more numb.

What can a single soul like me do to help amend?
Certainly not turn away, ignore, or just pretend.

Nature needs us more than ever, this I truly know.
Our gifts alone can help or harm, destroy or let regrow.

Remove the “Posted” from the land, and also from your mind.
Nature is here to be protected, not destroyed by humankind.

I sit. I listen. I think of what could be.
For nature has already given all needs for you and me.

Back to Basics Entertainment

Last week in The Grand Rapids Press I found it interesting to find two articles which seem to pivot around the same idea. Article #1 titled “These toys can help kids have healthier minds, bodies” was written by a Harvard Health doctor and the list of toys to help a child’s mind includes: Blocks, drawing materials, dollhouses, cars, play kitchen, dress-up clothes.

For those of you who read this list and said “yeah right, any child would get bored with these.” you are not alone. Dr. McCarthy admits boredom might be the result of some of these toys, but she also points out that boredom might be a key piece to breeding creativity. “If they are constantly entertained, they will never learn to entertain themselves, and they will miss out on important opportunities to create and explore.”

Now just a few pages later in the same edition of The Grand Rapids Press is the article titled ” ‘Fortnite’ addiction is forcing kids into video-game rehab”. Whoa. In this article Jef Feeley and Christopher Palmeri give a laundry list of issues with kids being hooked into gaming, specifically Fortnite.

Continue reading

The Great Lakes: Keeping Them Clear and Keeping Them Here

Growing up in western Michigan I traveled to Lake Michigan with my family before I can even remember. Photographs of being at the beach is my only evidence for how young I was when I first experienced one of Michigan’s greatest natural resources, fresh water. I have also felt the lakes presence both directly and indirectly due to the lakes great effect on the local climate and its affect on the ecosystem. The Great Lakes contain 95 percent of the United States fresh water supply, and only trail the polar ice caps and Lake Baikal in Siberia in total volume of freshwater globally. Without the Great Lakes, the entire region surrounding Michigan would be much different, including the types of jobs and natural life in and around the state. Continue reading

‘Bull’ An Unexpected Literary Treat

For those who know me you might be able to envision my reaction when I read the opening line from David Elliot’s book, Bull. Sorry Mom, I am just quoting here.

”Whaddup, bitches?”

I literally set the book down.

But like a curious cat the intrigue of why a book would start in this way got the best of me so I reread the preface and started again.

I quickly understood this would be a unique read for me. I seem to stay in the non-fiction genre most of the time and this verse-novel version of the Minotaur tale from Greek mythology piqued my interest early.

With some thematic elements and some literary imagery fit for HBO the story reads quickly and presents the epic in an engaging way. Each of the seven characters communicates through their own poetic form. Another bonus in my mind is given the short stanzas of poetry, the story reads quickly. Continue reading

iNaturalist

Have you ever come across an odd spider, insect, or plant and thought, “Hmm, what is this thing?!” Enter iNaturalist.

iNaturalist is available for Android and for Apple and is completely free to download and use.

After downloading the app you can ‘Make an Observation’ by uploading a picture of the organism in question and the iNaturalist database will give you closely matched options. If the app does not automatically find a perfect match, the community of citizen scientists can suggest species information and help identify your unknown sample. Continue reading