Golf is an incredibly mental game that takes a variety of skills much like life. When a person gets off his or her game it can be hard to make things right. We all have weathered times when we seemed to struggle, when we couldn’t get anything going in the ways we wanted to, when the harder we tried the worst things got. It seems easy to feel compassion for struggle if we tune in at all to the journey of our own life.
If I was to consult with Tiger Woods this is the way I would work with him to get him back on his game:
First, I would say to him is that you need to find your center. Your life has been thrown into chaos because of all that has come to light. Your past has been filled with high risk behaviors behind the highly competitive persona. Now the past is out and the driving force of that secret behavior is gone. It seems in a unique way it was the balance to the driven athlete. Without this secret life you have lost your center or more accurately what pushed you to some kind of center.
Center means different things to different people. Finding a new center for you is essential. In the martial arts it might called Hara or Dan Tien, which means center. The physical center is often located below the navel. The mental center is a more calm and mindful state. The heart center is about fiery with passion while cool in pressure. The center for spirit is more the third eye, which involves seeing impartially and intuitively. When these center points line up the chaos of the world flows by and effortless action lies in waiting. Centering will make things feel much more in control at many levels in the moment.
Second, I would begin to do some longer term exploration of what is your truth. Somewhere along the way you lost touch with your higher nature and instead have been run more by ego and conquest. You now have to find what is most important to you not by societies standards but by your own inner sense of knowing. This truth seeking is a journey often away from the seeking of approval of others towards finding peace within yourself.
Truth is about what you value most, what you know is right for you. Truth is found in the quiet moments with self not in the busy interactions with others. Truth is beyond religion and belief systems because those often get stuck as nothing more than thoughts. Truth is knowing inside what matters and living according to that, no matter how challenging that can be. Following your truth is the hero’s journey.
Third, I would begin to calm the judging mind, the inner critic. Like most of us you were trained to believe that your inner criticism and your judging of self and others were of value and essential to human nature. This critical nature pointed at others and yourself serve a very limiting purpose and that is to make you feel lousy about yourselves and often others. No genuinely positive results are ever created from a long term program of beating yourself up.
Whatever you or the rest of us has done is in the past, it is gone and over. How long is it necessary to beat yourself up over what you did? The answer is that beating yourself up is never needed. Awareness is what changes what is not working for you not your self-talk. Once you become aware, then you have choices, which opens you to change.
So it is time to let go, forgive and move on. If you bring the past forward into the now, you can bash yourself over it for the rest of your life if you want to but that will make for a miserable life. The other option is to quiet the inner critic, make yourself alright/ok in the moment and go forward with your life. You still deserve to have the life you want even though you feel you messed up. The difference is now you are a more conscious human being and can expand your life in more positive directions.
It is ok to win. It is ok to feel positive about yourself. It is ok to do what you know is right for you. It is ok to leave the past in the past and be a better person from what you have learned. Let the struggle of your mind go and find the way to the wisdom of your center.
(Just a note about my background seems appropriate here: I have spent over 30 years working with addictions and other mental health issues; during these years I have counseled a number of athletes and teams seeking to perform at higher levels of success)