Playing the Energy Game Inside-out

September 30th, 2014

What is your energy like right now? What about the balance you are experiencing between achievement and satisfaction? How much of your attention is focused on the world outside compared to the world within?

Are you mostly focused on doing, having or being?

If you are not sure about your answers, take a quick mindfulness test to assess the five main facets – observation, description, non-judgment, non-reactivity and acting with awareness. Mindfulness is defined by the extend to which we can stay present with our perceptions, thoughts, and feelings (even when they are unpleasant), without getting distracted or judgmental of the experience.

Are you able to perceive emotions without reacting to them and act mindfully?

How did you score? Do you find harmony between your experience inside and what’s going on outside? How smooth is the flow between your inner and outer world, give and take, inhale and exhale? It’s a never-ending game of life energies that is going on all the time, regardless of whether we notice the exchange or not…

One of the things that help me balance the inner and outer focus is surfing. Since I started with this sport I have discovered many parallels between surf and life. In a sense, we are all surfers on the waves of life, moving from where we are towards our desired direction. My excitement of surfing is not really because of the beach or any place I might be heading towards with the board, but mostly from the process of riding the wave and feeling super-connected. Likewise,I realized the aim of my life is not to arrive somewhere or become something, but rather to be fully mindful of the various experiences I am having, of the uniqueness of the ride I am on in each moment. Sometimes the ocean (world) is far too stormy (or maybe too calm) for surfing, other times it is dramatically unpredictable. Up to me to choose when I wish to surf (act) and which style I wish to apply…In any case I can always be all that I came here for, not just what others might expect me to be. For instance, I might choose to focus outside of me and play the outer game. Hence my wish might be to jump on the board and leverage the wind to ride the longest wave possible or the highest wave ever. Perhaps my goal in surfing (and life) could be to move faster than anyone else…

How would it look like to focus on the inner game?

Lets stay with my favorite metaphor of surfing for just a little. What’s happening inside during surfing? I am aware of tons of various stuff: from joy to peace; excitement and desire to doubt; want, judgment, fear, pain or negative self-talk. Why does it matter where my focus is? It is essential, because the focus drives my experience; and by adjusting it, the whole experience changes. If my goal is outside of me (some prefer to call it performance I might strive to achieve it no matter what,even if I encounter lots of obstacles and despite all possible interferences getting in the way. However, there is also the option to orient on the inner game which includes the process of learning and improving, as well as enjoying and feeling inner satisfaction. I guess it’s best to be aware of both external and internal factors; speaking of surfing it would mean noticing the wind, current, wave quality, other surfers as well as my own position in the ocean; my energy level, breathing, intention, memories…

The same thing is true about our life. Simply put, it can either be driven inside-out or outside-in. The beauty is we may decide how much of our attention (and therefore energy!) we direct out versus in. Moreover, we can intentionally shift the ratio between the two places of ourfocus. If I realize I pay too much attention to the external world I may turn down the “volume” of the outside to hear more of what is going on inside.

Can you notice where your attention and energy goes?

Once we are aware of both games, more options become available – which one wave to pick, when to jump on the board. In the analogy of life it means following my values and making mindful choices. Some examples? How I prefer to spend my time, with whom, for what purpose etc. I realized what I benefit from the most is trusting that I can be me, knowing that I am able tolead my energy where I desire; simply put it means trusting myself and the flow of both ocean and life...

You can’t over-think surfing the same as you can’t over-think life. But you can be fully aware and choose what you focus on. If we are grounded in the present moment, using our innate capability to choose where our attention goes, while trusting life’s flow, it feels as if the universe is on our side. It’s like getting a perfect wave having just the right wind in your back with a sun suddenly appearing from behind a cloud and your best friend smiling on a board next to you! A real surfing memory, btw :)

Do you experience moments in which everything seems to be just right and life flows very naturally without any extra effort?

When surfing, I actually feel oneness with everything around me,a really profound connection to everything there is, people, nature, earth. It’s indescribable knowing that I am part of something awesome and way bigger than myself. It’s the rightness of it all. There is nothing else to do, have or think of. I reach a place inside where time plays no role, it’s my full consciousness of the rhythm and tuning into it with my breath, heartbeat, and balanced action. All is in a perfect sync. It’s access to being completely grounded in the moment, aware of the subtle changes and accepting the flow not intellectually but with my whole being. From my point of view, this is freedom at its purest.

And it starts with our choice. Though in my case this state of being seems to be naturally accessed during surfing, I would love to cultivate the same attitude that so naturally leads to confidence and creativity in all aspects of my life…

Surfing serves me as the best metaphor for how to practice it. While surfing in the waves of the ocean, I come to levels of peace I rarely experience in an ordinary life.

I speak less and laugh more. I think less and feel more.

I focus less on outside and more on inside.

Ultimately, I do less and I AM more.




10.11.2016 04:19

I always love coming over to your blog! And, I enjoy seeing how you related surfing to your life. Inspiring!

11.11.2016 03:47

So happy to hear! Always inspired by Jon Kabat-Zinn's:
You can't stop the waves but you can learn to surf! :D