Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Total Alignment

It's been a week and a half since I wrote my last post and for that I apologize, but, it's been an amazing week and a half. Three of my best friends from Notre Dame came to visit in Taiwan. Two of them played on the golf team with me all four years. I took a few days off from golf and went backpacking around the island starting down the west coast and then back up the east. The natural beauty of the volcanic-created island is unmatched in my world. Down the east coast we saw an idyllic, tropical beach scene and the west coast mountains in the background. When we found those west coast mountains wound around a deep gorge dubbed 'Toroko,' we decided to drink it in. We hiked 19km through the gorge on the most narrow, windy roads I've ever seen. We detoured on forest trails, found old temples located on rock cliffs, through pitch black caves armed with a single flashlight and over creaking, suspended bridges. All the while on either side of us, were mountains that seemed to push through the clouds and touch the heavens, redefining spectacular.

After our adventure concluded, I had the opportunity to hit some golf shots with my former teammates watching my swing. While they are not swing coaches, they have seen me play more than any other golfer I know. They made some basic observations about my balance and address position that have me hitting the ball closer to where I intend for it to go. Although it has only been two days since I began working on these fixes, I find myself more confident and relaxed over every shot. These little tweaks have allowed me to simplify my swing and my concern for anything but my target.

Maybe it is more than that. Pro golf halfway across the world gets lonely. Especially when my golf has not been down to par and I've been battling challenging courses in difficult weather conditions. Their visit, our journey and my subsequent improvement has as much to do with great companionship as slight tweaks in my golf swing. The improvement feels holistic. My golf swing is more aligned as is my life. I believe my golf swing is more aligned because my spirit is content and fulfilled. It is great care, kindness and love exchanged in the past week that has my spirit swinging my club. A perfect shot is perfect alignment: not just between my mind, body and club. Without the essential component of love, of spirit, no good swing can be perfect. No good shot can be complete. Maybe a few minor swing tweaks brought my swing to where it is today, or, maybe those narrow, windy roads between the heaven-reaching mountains of Toroko Gorge were my fairways, my greens and my church.

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