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Friday, February 4, 2011

"wonder"ful tennis lessons

I learned two wonderful lessons on the tennis court this week, but they weren't about serving or volleying.  Maybe these lessons will help you, too.

Lesson #1

Be present.  Typically I rush madly out the door on tennis mornings, drop my kids at school and motor over to the indoor courts, peel off my snow boots / sweat pants and scramble over to Court 4 to meet my crew.  This week, I arrived in usual form, discombobulated and breathy.  I started to warm up but was still thinking about my family, my work, my obligations.  I was having a hard time connecting with the ball.  So I asked my rally partner for a minute to transition from my crazy world outside to the controlled present.  I walked off the court, looked around the room, took a few deep breaths and whispered to myself, "Get here.  Be on the court.  Play tennis."  And then we played.  Granted, I'm no Serena Williams but I enjoyed the match and played to my abilities. 

BEING in the present moment seems so simple but really it's not.  When you can BE you are connecting with yourself on a much deeper level and acknowledging the importance and value of the moment.  There's a book that I love called "Psychic Development for Begginers".  In the book, William A. Hewitt tells us that we can hone in on our psychic skills just by BEING present in every moment.  For example, you might walk past a tree in your yard every day.  You know it's there but you never acknowledged it.  So today, look out at that tree and BE there.  Say, "This is a tree.  It's 30 feet tall and covered in sparkly white snow.  This is the way the tree looks on a winter day."  It sounds a bit weird and you'll feel silly doing this, but it will help you to BE in your surroundings and is a good practice for focusing and connecting to yourself and the universe.   

Lesson #2

Stop apologizing.  My partners are better players than me.  (I'm relieved they haven't booted me out of the group yet!)  The insecurity that I feel when I'm playing causes me to over-apologize for mishits and double faults.  I feel like I am disappointing my partner or disrupting the flow of the game.  But this week I made a conscious decision not to beat myself up for making mistakes and to stop apologizing.  I actually said it out loud in attempt to keep myself honest.  My partners know that I don't want to lob the ball into Siberia.  They know that I am trying my best.  And they are my friends so they will not judge me.  So I cut myself a break and just enjoyed the game, playing the best I could on that day.

I spend way too much time apologizing for things I don't need to be sorry about.  Or obsessing about personal shortcomings because I feel insecure or inadequate.  When I'm doing it, I know I'm doing it and I am all too aware that it could be making those around me uncomfortable.  Most detrimentally, I am giving away my personal power.  This is dangerous and leaves me feeling very unbalanced.  So no more for me.  I am human and imperfect, great at some things and crappy at others, but overall loving and compassionate and well-intended.  And with that, I happily take back my own superpowers.


Ideally Wonder Woman would be holding a tennis racket but you get the idea.  ;-)     


  1. Hi Vanessa!
    Great post- I just found your blog through Jude Decoff's. You are such a riot! I just started a blog too. Looking forward to reading your musings :-)

  2. wow! great! thank you so much! just surfed to your blog but not sure it's up and running yet. will keep an eye out! xoxoxv

  3. Touche. Both excellent lessons for just about everyone on this planet. Except for maybe the Dalai Lama. I think we all struggle with both issues, but the apologizing is a huge one for American Woman. I have a Malaysian female friend who cannot understand why we American woman apologize for things that are not our fault or are unnecessary to apologize for. We all try our best, no reason to apologize for small mis-steps or things out of our control.

  4. amen, sister! i've been consciously scaling back on my apologies but occasionally find myself slipping back into the familiar. it's a really hard habit to break!

    do you think this is a purely american thing?