Into the Zone

(Published in The Fix, Official Newsletter of the FunAddicts Skate and Skiboard Club) May, 1997
By Doc Roberts

Spring is a very good time to discuss new beginnings. To spring into joy, to live with greater vitality, energy, aliveness is quite simple. Feeling more joy and vitality in life is not by coincidence or chance, but created through choice. The first step is to make the decision to have more joy, energy, and aliveness in life. Yes, we can feel even more alive than we already do! Everyone has things in their lives that they would love to do, if they had the time. Acknowledging these things and making the time for them is all it takes. As Sanaya Roman has stated, "you will have joy when you focus on having it and settle for nothing less." We have to want to be joyful, make a commitment to it and act on that desire.

Joy and freedom of expression go hand in hand. It takes courage to express ourselves openly, without inhibition, to be who we truly are in life. Always when we freely express ourselves, without reservation, when we create, skate, ski, blade, whatever the activity, that if we are wholeheartedly in it in the moment, then we create moments of joy. I can remember times when I was tired, feeling uninspired, even sick at times, and yet I dragged myself to the rink at those times, and suddenly the veil lifted. I was rejuvenated and glad I went. It apparently wasn't physical fatigue or sickness, it was the need to be creative and expressive. The joy and energy came back almost instantly.

Oddly, to live the joyful life requires courage, the courage to trust in ourselves, our intuitions and desires and then to act on these no matter what. That is, despite the feedback or resistance we get or imagine we might get from others and despite inner fears that we might look foolish, stupid or not be successful. Saying "YES" to life requires courage, particularly when so many in our society have given up, no longer listen to their hearts, no longer allow themselves to truly do what brings them joy. This path of the joyful warrior is the path of life. It means being your own person, despite pressures to conform and fit in. As Joseph Campbell has stated, "we're so engaged in doing things to achieve purposes of outer value that we forget the inner value, the rapture that is associated with being alive, is what it is all about."

Bob Dylan's song comes to mind when he said, "he not busy being born is busy dying." Being born to me means birthing new possibilities, new joys, living fully. This is the question posed to each of us by life: "To Be or Not to Be", as Shakespeare put it. We each have to decide, not just once, but at regular intervals, whether to say Yes to life and being fully alive or to duck the question and be busy dying. Skating, skiing, blading, dancing or whatever is not just exercise, it is the expression of the life force participating in dynamic creation. When we participate in this universal force, we know it, for we experience joy. And what brings joy reveals our destiny to us. Pursuing what we love is not just a frivolous activity or irresponsible. It is the direction of fulfilling our greater human potential.

I shall end with a quote from Dr. Kubler-Ross who had spent many years in interviews with those who were dying. She summarized by saying, "our concern must be to live while we're alive - to release our inner selves from the spiritual death that comes with living behind a facade designed to conform to external definitions of who and what we are ... to the extent that we become captives of culturally defined role expectations and behaviors - stereotypes, not ourselves, we block our capacity for self-actualization." (1975) She remarked that many of her patients realized too late, when facing death, that they had not really been living, focused on the pursuit of money, power, and status, yet squandering their precious time and capacity to be fully alive. Live life to the max!