In what ways are you “playing the edge?”: to walk the fine line between endless, goalless practice and those alluring goals that appear along the way. To take risks in order to learn and grow?
A little over a week ago, I returned home from an awesome XPT experience in Miami. Rejuvenated physically, mind clear, soul polished. It’s kind of a neat story of how I ended up there. Basically, I won an Instagram giveaway by sharing a photo and a recipe on how I fuel up. Please refer to the picture of my beautiful girlfriend (Julia) my pup (Cooper) and myself all sharing a poké bowl dressed to the nines in our Kauai Spirit outfits for the winning photo. You never know for sure in entering these kinds of contests if you will win or not, but I had a feeling, deep down, that I was going to win. Low and behold, and I still can’t quite believe it, I was invited to join the XPT Crew in Miami.
For those unfamiliar, XPT is a breath, move, recover curriculum designed to stimulate growth in human experience. The brainchild of Gabby Reece and Laird Hamilton, XPT welcomes any and all fitness levels and backgrounds (you will be humbled, trust me) and invites you at every step of the experience, to “play your edge.” By adhering to the XPT principles, don’t be surprised if you find yourself breathing almost constantly through your nose, as you sprint up and down the beach. You might even find yourself at the bottom of a pool, carrying dumbbells in each hand, trying to walk as far as you can down the length of the pool while holding in a relaxed breath. There is even a chance for you to go ice-bathing in their signature heat/ice recovery practice. I remember Laird saying, “If you want to cure depression, have them take an ice-bath every day.” He might be right.
In my view, XPT was the ultimate journey of mastery. It was also a personal calling, to me, in that I was meant to be there, to surrender, practice and play my edge in all of the physical and mental activities I experienced.
Maybe most importantly, I was called to meet the wonderful people that shared in this journey. It was my opportunity to dive deeper than I ever have before, on a journey I started seven years ago, where in discovering my body, I discovered my soul.
So how exactly was XPT the ultimate journey of mastery? To start, let me tell you the five keys of mastery:
The first step in mastery is to find a guide. There are many people on the XPT team and staff that helped make this experience an awesome one. For the sake of explaining this first key of mastery, I will focus on Gabby Reece. It was Gabby’s patience and empathy for the beginner that really highlighted the XPT team's focus on instruction. Gabby stuck by my side the entire ice-bath journey and, without her guidance and encouragement, I don’t think I would have achieved the recommended three-minutes in the ice bath. She paid attention to the “slowest person on the mat.” And that is a sign of first-rate instruction. Thank you, Gabby!
Practice, in the context of mastery, is not something that you do, but something that you are. For me, XPT was both a physical journey, and equally a mental and spiritual one. I was quite nervous to attend, knowing I would be surrounded by elite athletes and very smart and successful business people.
In order to step into my power, to step into the practice of “I am,” my mantra for this experience was “I belong.”
The word surrender brings up many emotions and thoughts about what it exactly means. On the path of mastery, courage is measured by one’s willingness to surrender. To surrender to your teacher and demands of the discipline. It’s also about openness and willingness to unlearn, in order to learn and grow more.
“Love what you do” is another way to think about surrender.
Everyone in attendance, teachers and students, showed up to learn, grow and celebrate the human experience, physically, mentally, spiritually.
Vision, short-term and long-term, is the fuel of the master’s journey. Call it what you will: character, willpower, mental toughness, attitude. Holding a vision to the flame is essential on the path of mastery.
There was somewhat of a low point in my experience, where I became unwound and lost my connection to my mantra of “I belong.” I doubted myself, second-guessed my being there and honestly, compared my current state to everyones' perceived successes and accomplishments. I retreated to my room and called my girlfriend who reminded me of my reason for being there. Two supportive texts also came in from personal guides of mine back home - the power of having guides behind you shows up sometimes when you least expect but most need it!
It isn’t always easy to execute perfectly in living out your intention. I’m imperfect. But having people who you love and support you in your life (and vision) is essential.
Taking risks to grow and learn.
I believe at the heart of the vision of XPT is to play your edge of human performance.
To push yourself far enough out of your comfort zone in order to gain a new perspective of self, purpose and connection. The breathwork, the pool workouts and even the ice-bath therapy are all portals where we were able to play our physical and mental edge.
The edge is all about learning something about yourself and to accomplish something you never thought you could do, and as a result, grow in the practice of “I am.”
In summary, mastery is a life long pursuit, requiring an honest, open and willing commitment to the journey itself. There are no experts, only students. There is no destination, just the journey itself. I don't believe there are many experiences where it highlights the mastery experience with such precision, joy and connection, like it did with XPT. The real work of the mastery happens upon the return home, where we return to the practices that got us to the edge of an experience in the first place. Exploring always, what's next and loving the plateau.
If you too are interested in walking the path of mastery, and are interested to learn more about how Wyld Joy can support you in playing your own growth edges, book a 20-minute Assessment Call with me, Nick Knutzen, and I'll give you some initial prompts to start your journey.