Considering my blog is title “The Grateful Golfer” one would think that I am a happy golfer every time I hit the links. This mental attitude is definitely at the forefront of my mind on the first tee. Unfortunately, like all golfers, when I am struggling with my game, remaining grateful can be a challenge. I start to have second thoughts about my game, my approach, and my reason for being there: does this sound familiar? Of course it is not earth shattering and I quickly forget my woes at the sound of my driver hitting the ball for the first stroke of my round. At that time, all the amazing reasons why I love playing golf come rushing back into my mind. I am in my happy place and life definitely takes on a new persona as I do become a grateful golfer!
Being grateful for golf is more than just playing. Golf is an outlet that allows me to release the woes of daily life (not that there are many, if any) and immerse my thoughts in my surroundings. I become very mindful of my surroundings, what I am doing, and how I feel about each step I make on the course. My gratefulness is more than just playing golf, but more of a complete sensation of zen. I realize this might sound foreign to some, but it works for me.
“Gratitude is one of many positive emotions. It’s about focusing on what’s good in our lives and being thankful for the things we have. Gratitude is pausing to notice and appreciate the things that we often take for granted, like having a place to live, food, clean water, friends, family, even computer access. It’s taking a moment to reflect on how fortunate we are when something good happens — whether it’s a small thing or a big thing. We can use lots of words to describe feelings of gratitude: We might say we feel thankful, lucky, fortunate, humbled, or blessed.”(https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/gratitude.html)
The above definition really sums up my approach to life and golf. I cannot separate the two and I would not want to. I have followed this path for a long time and it was my first battle with cancer 14 years ago that accelerated my mental awareness to being grateful for all the amazing people and things in my life. I take time every day to actively acknowledge the blessings in my life and remain grateful for all that happens. I have found that by focusing on the positives in my daily routine, it transfers to all areas of my life including my golf game.
My gratitude approach to my life does not stop challenging situations from popping up. Life is messy and impossible to control. What I can control is how I react to these challenges. I try to remain positive and focused on the possible good, but there are times when that is not possible. What happens is I let my emotions run free for a bit, then I refocus on being grateful. This approach has done wonders for my life and my golf game.
When I make a poor (or sometimes several) shot, I accept that it is part of my game. Frustration does set in from time to time, but does not last very long. My gratefulness quickly overshadows the negative and I can refocus on my next shot. It really is not any more difficult than that when I play. I am long past letting poor shots run amuck with my golf game. Hence, being grateful during each round is now my starting place. How lucky am I!
I could continue with my philosophy, but I am sure you get my point. Being grateful for golf is more than just playing. It is a way of life for me. I would not change the direction I chose because it works for me. If you are wondering how you can start down this amazing path….then just choose. Be mindful of your intent and be grateful for the things in your life. Believe me that it starts with one thought and continues to grow into many others. It is a process you can control and it can start right now. If you chose the path of gratefulness, good luck on your journey and enjoy the ride.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!