Overthinking can trick the mind into thinking there’s a lot of stuff going on. I think that’s how it works. Lately, my mind’s busier than the rest of me. Which is not good. Not good at all seeing how it ends up with some considerable excess weight I now find difficult to shed.
Yesterday, I came across this article that featured what’s currently the most relaxing music. And true enough, it’s as soothing as it’s supposed to be. I literally felt my body calming down while my mind quickly followed.
As I repeatedly listened to the music, I felt like I was slowly, leisurely flipping through a mental scrapbook. One that’s filled with simple, happy, meaningful, and calming memories. That’s when I began to remember interactions with Dr Guennadi Gorbunov and his beautiful wife.
Dr Gorbunov was the sports psychologist hired by the government’s sports agency more than a decade ago. His sports psychology approach was different than what we were used to at that time. He focused mainly on progressive relaxation techniques and mind suggestions.
He and his wife lived in one of the converted rooms at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex. It’s located in an area near where athletes like us also lived. The sports complex may be big, but it’s not huge enough for people not to bump into each other. Eventually, some of us developed a good friendship with Dr Gorbunov and his wife.
My teammate, Miah, and I spent time with the couple over several dinners as well as tea times. The conversations on a wide range of topics were great. The good doctor’s wife was a sweet lady with a generous heart. She didn’t speak English well. But what she lacked in language skills, she more than made up with her big heart. I loved her treating us like family, preparing dinners and tea, and telling us stories of how she picked the tea leaves herself.
From Dr Gorbunov I learned the importance of relaxation and the power of mind suggestion. I likewise began to appreciate more the value of mind-body connection. I had many memories of him walking barefoot on the football field while our team and several other sport disciplines are doing our daily early morning runs around the track oval. It was always a pleasant sight to watch him do that.
It was sad when Dr G’s contract finally ended. As athletes, we were used to consultants coming and going. But with the two old couple, it was different. When they left, it felt as if that space they used to occupy will forever remain their own. Some may try to stand inside that space, but everything in it has been stamped with memories of the sweet, kind, gracious, and generous couple.
It was great meeting them. The Russian sports psychologist who used to work with athletes like Alexander Popov turned out to be a brilliant yet humble man. He and his wife touched our lives. Something that I’m truly grateful for.