It’s been about 2 months since I last played basketball so I decided to do some shooting around at the gym today. After my first ten shots ended up being bricks, I began to conclude that it just wasn’t my day. “Sometimes you’re just off Kenneth,” I innocently said to myself. And then My beautiful voice of inspiration whispered “Just like Life.” And the rest just slowly began to dawn on me.
LIFE IS LIKE A JUMP SHOT! (Beware: Flagrant Use of Basketball Analogies Ahead)
Sometimes You‘re On: Hopefully this is how you meet most of your days. For myself, I’m mostly “on” when I’m paying attention to making sure my needs are met. I’m meditating, writing, eating right, working out, etc. This makes it simple for me to wear a smile on my face and the see the beauty in every circumstance. For you it may just mean your day is going smoothly. Your boss isn’t on your ass all the time. You’re finding good parking spots more often than not. You’re in love. Sure, you miss from time to time, everyone misses. This means you may run into some trouble, but definitely nothing you cannot handle. You’re alright and you know it. That’s what it’s like when you’re on.
The Key Thing To Remember When Your Shot Is On: Don’t neglect your teammates. Yeah it feels good to do all the scoring and taking care of yourself, but Life IS A TEAM SPORT. You’re not going to do it alone, no matter what your ego tells you. So even when you’re doing well, ask for help occassionaly, call your friends and let them know you appreciate their presence in your life, and give an assist from time to time. This is going to benefit you greatly when:
Sometimes You‘re Off: Oh man. We often call this being “in a rut” or “in the dumps” or “not firing on all cylinders.” I call it being “disconnected.“ This is what happens when your form is just a teensy bit off but everything around you is affected by it. I was WAY off just a few weeks ago. I wasn’t focused on taking care of myself, I was beginning to become dissatisfied, and also started working against the flow of things instead of with the flow of things. Definitely not my style. Probably not yours either.
The Key Thing To Remember When Your Shot Is Off: First of all just remember that you’re going to be off from time to time, it happens so don’t be too down on yourself. Secondly, Stay in the flow of the game! Play defense (turn within), pass the ball (ask for help often), set picks (do a kind deed for another person), and before you know it you’ll be feeling so good about what you’ve created around you you’ll find that:
Sometimes You‘re ON FIRE!: YES! I love being “in the zone.” Do you know the feeling of being so completely submerged in something, so prepared for the activity, so excited about what you’re doing that you cannot do wrong within the moment. Maybe you’ve experienced it while writing, or taking a test. Or maybe you’re one of those lucky people who get “runners high.” Whatever your field of achievement, I hope you have an experiential awareness of what I’m talking about. As a kid, nothing pleased me more than to see Michael Jordan get on fire…it was amazing to watch. But since then I’ve felt that way about various activities in my life.
The Key Thing To Remember When You‘re ON FIRE!: Keep doing that. Your soul is only going to be in the zone when you’re involved in something that it was meant to be doing. I’ll never get in the knitting zone. But you might! So whether it’s sex, shopping, driving, dancing, singing, talking, listening, cooking, or actually making sweet 15 foot jump shots. Whatever it may be. Remember it. Then cultivate your life, your career, your entire existence around making sure you can do that thing. Or those things…since we are infinite beings with infinite talents. Now, unfortunately, the flipside of this occurs also:
Sometimes You Just Can’t Hit the Broad Side of a Barn: You ever had a week or a month where all you were doing was throwing up bricks? You’re making the same mistakes over and over, and creating some new ones in your life. You’re late more often than not. You’re unprepared for the meeting, the day, the presentation. You’re confused about what’s going on around you. You know, when everything sucks! This probably results in making it hard for you to get off the bench (out of bed) because nothing excites you about the game. You may feel lonely riding the pine and completely useless to the Team. These are tough times and are often accompanied or precipitated by some difficult event in life like losing a job, loss of a friend or family member, and so on. I am completely aware that being on the bench sucks but there are:
Two Things To Remember While You‘re There: The first is to Use Your Time Wisely. Don’t just sit there and pout. WORK on your shot. Figure out what you have in your world that’s not helpful and learn how to let it go. Figure out what is working and Do More of That! The next thing to do is: Keep Cheering For The Team. Now that you are not able to make plays because it’s just not in you, there are going to be other people in your world who are doing their best to make sure things continue to run as smoothly as possible. Even if it’s a friend who can’t do anything but listen when you complain and cry. Whoever these people are, please don’t get in their way. Let them help you. Furthermore, make sure you get off the bench and clap when someone around you makes a good play. Congratulate the teammates who are able to be on the floor so they’ll feel the encouragement from the sidelines. If you are doing these two things, I guarantee it wont be long before The Coach (universe, God, Life, whoever you’re playing with) takes notice of you and gives you another chance to get back in the game. Yup.