The Putt

I have almost always tried to force rather than to allow life to happen. I’ve spent much of my time here looking at the goal and ignoring the path. As an example, I have known for years that if I try to force a muscle to stretch it will fight back and tense up and there will be no stretching; there will only be struggle.
This anecdote that I wrote 15 years ago is one of many teaching examples that have tried to show me the way, a way that continues to elude me much of the time.

July 21, 1993

I’ve made putts like this many times before but they were just putts. This was different.

I was playing golf with my daughter’s boyfriend. I wanted to play well to show him how manly I was. Thank God it was golf and not fighting or hunting or, worst of all, drinking. We were playing at a small nine hole course which I had been wanting to play for a long time. It is a par 61 in which you play the nine holes twice using different teeing areas. I was dreaming of breaking 80 for the first time but I was conflicted. Would it really count if I scored in the 70’s on such a short course with such a low par?

Such was my frame of mind as we approached the first tee. It was a par three of about 175 yards. I didn’t hit the green but and my approach shot wasn’t very good. I left my first putt about two feet short and then missed the second. Dreams of breaking 80 were gone and replaced with negative thoughts about myself, the course and golf in general.

As the round continued my mediocre play was accurately represented by my score. My feelings matched the score and I tried not to show it. I just got quieter and quieter. Finally it got so bad that I gave up……but I didn’t surrender. A few holes later I accepted where I was in the round and I surrendered. I was standing over a putt of some 40 feet. I had made a good approach shot that hit close to the pin and then rolled down a hill on the green. As I walked to the ball, putter in hand, I laughed, relaxed and surrendered. I took a quick look at the line, put the putter behind the ball and stroked the putt. The ball flew off the blade, rolled up the hill, hit the back of the cup at just the right speed and fell in. The other players exclaimed that it was a great putt and it was although I felt like I knew as I hit it that it was going in.

To them it was a putt. To me it was a conquest, not of golf but of the toughest obstacle I have ever or will ever face. The surrender of control that led to that putt is what I need to do in all areas of my life. Self acceptance is the only way that I will ever be free of the bonds I have used to hold myself down.

Posted August 19, 2008


Wow!! Right on target; and that was 18 years ago? There are days when I accept myself great, not nearly as many as I would want.



i am struggling with self acceptance myself and trust me it is greatest relief to let things be the way they are and just glide along…

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