Chris gets in & out of the zone…& the farmer says maybe?

I had not played tennis for something like at least 18 months. Last week I found myself on a tennis court and was really surprised at how I was nimbly and skilfully returning shots.

I am, no tennis pro and my level of expertise is decidedly average, but I was surprised how my body had remembered what to do. I can?t really put it any other way.

Sportspeople have called it ?being in the zone?. I recall some years ago, acquiring some water colours and began painting one morning and didn?t stop until later that day. My attention and pleasure where focused unremittingly on applying and mixing colours, the smallest detail was an intense visceral delight. I felt so excited like flying without my feet leaving the ground. I have experienced similar when writing where there is a seemingly effortless flow of creative energy. For what seems like too brief periods of time the body, the thoughts and the feelings are acting in harmony.

What I hadn?t appreciated then was that I was experiencing what in hypnotherapy is called trance, which often is a delightful fixation of the attention. In this instance my eyes may have been open and so was my mind.

Any way, 30 odd minutes after playing tennis in my own personal ?zone? I accelerated to meet a ball which was dropping short. As I forced my body forward a severe sharp pain knifed at the point the lowest vertebrae meets the hip. Suffice to say I was very much from that point onwards in a different sort of ?zone?. Four days later and I am still walking with the sort of stoop that ages you by a decade. One of the consequences being that I have made a good intention to take up regular stretching exercise. To ensure my good intention ends as a positive behaviour I also devised a simple and realisable plan.

I am reminded of the story of a Chinese farmer whose wife produced a son, all the neighbours came to his house and congratulated him on his good fortune, now he would have help with his labours. ?Maybe? was the farmers reply. The son grew up strong and on his 16th Birthday was presented by the local Lord with a fine stallion. How fortunate your boy is said the neighbours, to receive such a quality animal. ?Maybe? replied the farmer. The boy carefully learnt how to master the art of horse riding but a couple of months later the horse stumbled and the son was thrown to the ground breaking his leg. On hearing this the farmer received the commiserations of his neighbours on such bad luck, now his son would be unable to help him on the farm until a full season had turned. ?Maybe? the farmer replied. It happened that 2 weeks later war broke out on the border of this territory and another and the local war lord came round to gather up the young men to fight. Because of the sons disability he was unable to. How lucky you are exclaimed the neighbours, because of his leg he will be spared potential death. As before the farmers reply was ?maybe?. The leg subsequently healed.

Maybe, you can imagine how this story progresses.
Christopher Fish

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