EXTREME SPORTS RECOVERY
In 2015, by way of a sychronistic sequence of events, I was introduced to the world of Skydiving!!
I had just completed my Awaken Mastery - Movement, Magic, Manifestion Retreat on the Big Island, Hawai'i, and found myself on the North Shore of Oahu for a little R & R.
Loving Hawai'i so much (a place I only "discovered" on my Hula Hoop journey), I thought to myself "Hey, I've always kinda wanted to try this, and this is one of the most beautiful places in the world, so maybe I should do a tandem here."
Who knew that this was going to be one of those completely life changing decisions, that comes when we allow ourselves to think AND ACT, outside the box of the "known zone".
And being fascinated with all things "nervous system", and how our Primal Mind unconsciously controls soooooooooooo much of our behavior, it seemed like an interesting choice to push mine a little further.
Well my adventures in skydiving have been A MASTER COURSE in challenging the control of the nervous system over my thinking and responding.
And frankly it took EVERY TRICK I already had up my sleeve, to continue in the sport, after I was told I was "probably one of the people in the world who JUST COULDN'T DO IT. Your brain CAN'T handle it" during my first day of training jumps.
When I look back at what I might have lost, if I had believed those words AND the raging voices in MY head, I just can't believe it.
Not only the thrill of the experience itself, and the rewards of a continual learning curve, but the incredible community and deep friendship of some of the kindest, funniest, dearest people I know on the planet, as well as the delights of traveling to different and unknown places to "check out the view" and expand my sky family.
Instead, with the skills I have, I reframed the dreadful nervous system responses in my body, as I "forced myself to the door" time and time again, knowing that if I could just retrain, through repetition, the neural pathways in my brain to accept this proccess and STOP RESISTING, I would get the joy that awaits on the other side.
I had to persist past what the "lies of the body/mind" were telling me to get to the GOLD!
AND I DID!!
Pictured above is me just at around 200 jumps! I'm know for my "stoke face" because for me every jump, no matter how "successful", is a victory.
Victory over perceived, imagined or "real" limitation.
Essentially this is what RECOVERY is. Recovering YOURSELF from an experience that has created a sense of limitation, mental, emotional or physical.
RECOVERING from any thing that might put you in a conflicted, psychological Body/Mind state.
In extreme sports, which I class as anything that might be perceived as a threat to the nervous system (skydiving, motorcross, big wave surfing, rock climbing etc), there are several areas where RECOVERY may be necessary -
TRAUMATIC EVENTS - Whether it be your first cutaway, crash or "brush with death", or you have witnessed a friend or loved one's death, untreated trauma is one of the ways we can start unconsciously sabotaging our relationship with the sport we love, and even start "creating" injuries or incidents that will keep us "away from danger", and painful, overwhelming emotions, even though we essentially love what we are doing.
INJURY - Physical injury is part of the nature of extreme sports, but our psychological relationship to the events themselves can also have a BIG IMPACT on how quickly, and well, we recover. Often the primal survival emotion of "Shame", and other charged feelings around the events themselves (fear, anger, sadness), can inhibit the body/mind from being optimized for full and speedy recovery. Limitations on range of movement, continual and chronic pain and reoccurrences are all indicators that the unconscious, psychological body/mind might be at work).
LIFE BALANCE - The addicting nature of extreme sports can also play havoc in other areas of life, finances, relationships, work commitments. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having passion and devotion to what you love, but if harmful effects are starting to outweigh the benefits, and you don't know how to change it, its vital to look at sabotage programs, that might be fueling compulsive behavior.
PERFORMANCE ANXIETY - Any time we push our comfort zone with a new goal or expectation, the unconscious psychological body/mind can throw up a lof ot "threshold resistance", with all its naughty "act outs". Whether you are just starting out, or you are advancing in the sport, taking on new physical, competitive or professional challenges, nervous system sabotage can range from the milder increased anxiety, "choking", emotional stress, spaciness and distraction, wanting to "quit the sport", to much more dangerous, physically threatening conditions, chronic injury, "manufactured" accidents, uneccesarily reckless and life threatening choices (ironically). Knowing how to recoginize and work with "threshold resistance" will not only prevent negative outcomes but will also greatly enhance positive results.
EMOTIONAL STRESS - The intensity of extreme sports, and their often "closed communities", provide a unique set of emotional stressors for participants. In addition to dealing with a higher rate of serious injury, and death, amongst friends, emotional stresses such as relationship break ups with people you may be partnered with in a team, or "stuck seeing everyday", limitations on professional, sponsorship or work opportunites, or feeling forced to be around people you experience conflict with as a part of training, working, traveling, or playing, can really take the joy out of the day to day experience, and even create dangerous psychological states for particpating in high focus requiring extreme sports. Learning how to "reduce charge" authentically (not suppressively) can bring about huge shifts in mental and emotional wellbeing, even under the most difficult circumstances.
ADDICTION - While many extreme sports athletes like to party, there's a line between fun and addiction, with all its potentially destructive outcomes. While many people want to focus on "stopping the addiction", addictions tend to release MUCH FASTER, and organically when the underlying stressors, many of which can be connected to dysfunction in the nervous system (conflicted body/mind) are addressed in a caring non-judgmental environment. Additionally addictive behavior is not transferred to another outlet, even when the addiction is quit. Quitting a sport you love, when you have too many associations and potentially retriggering people or places, can be another unfortunate outcome. Neutralizing "triggers" and having Tools to turn to when triggers are activated, can be a major help in overcoming addiction, without having to abandon what you love.
DAILY WELLBEING - In all extreme sports, where the activation of stress hormones like cortisol, is innate, it's important to understand the short term and long term negative outcomes of a system consistently pumping cortisol. Loss of sleep, hair, muscle mass, sex drive, clear thinking, energy, production of Human Growth Hormone (needed for physical recovery and healing), as well as weight gain, physical aging, isolating, irritability, explosive emotions, being easily overwhelmed by people, and daily life tasks, are among some of the indicators of high cortisol. Some simple learned practices can "switch off" the "fight/flight/freeze" stress response and accompaning production of cortisol, and return you to the restorative "stay and play" mode with all its benefits. The significant connection between high cortisol levels and chronic illness, mood disorders, PTSD and many other serious mental, emotional and physical issues, makes this a subject well worth understanding for both short term and long term wellbeing.
GETTING IN THE ZONE - Most of the most remarkable achievements in extreme sports, and in life in general, are attained while being in "the zone", a place free of the "negative inputs and distractions" of the psychological body/mind. A place where our minds, bodies and created reality, are so in 100% congruence with what we are doing, there is no time/space/thought (all constructs of the Mind), just pure, creative action. Sometimes we are naturally "in the zone", but sometimes we need to find it. A plane ride to altitude, a drive to a location, a paddle out, can all be free time we use to work through what is keeping us in psychological body/mind, and not in body/mind as a Tool. As a stand up comedian I had some of my most amazing "in the zone" sets, after having a complete meltdown, seconds before. Being "in the zone" for a significant event, can be prepaved in the moments, days, and weeks beforehand, through using a conscious process of resistance activation and release no matter how stressed out and anxious you are leading up to it. Remember, the zone only needs to happen in THE MOMENT and not a second before. And it does not come by "pushing down" what we don't want to think about. 100% congruence means 100%, conscious and unconscious, mental. emotional and physical alignment IN THE MOMENT. The bigger the goal you have your sights on, the further it is outside your "known zone", the more time you use in the lead up to release "threshold resistance"
I worked with 7 X Team USA Champion wrestler Katherine Shai in her return to the sport after having a baby and decision to go for the Olympics. Watch this discussion of mining the inner depths (The Shadow) to experience expansion and access more of the body.