What is the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about the maintenance of your skateboard? What about the maintenance of your spirit?
Living in a world that is made up of matter, it is safe to say that we live in a world that is full of energy.
There are energetic phenomena that we know exist, even if we can't typically see or touch them physically, such as electricity and oxygen.
The energy that we will be focusing on in this chapter is based on the concept of life force energy, also known as Chi, Ki, or Prana.
Life force energy flows through every living being and consists of several layers of bio-electrical energy that science acknowledges and is able to measure with electromagnetic resonance technology or Kirlian photography.
This energy flows through our bodies through a network of pathways called meridians.
It is important to keep this energy flowing and circulating throughout the body for optimum physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health.
Our energy flow is literally what allows us to feel vibrant and full of vitality or drained, exhausted, and fatigued and can be influenced by a range of different factors, including thoughts, emotions, experiences, actions, interactions, and the foods, drinks, and substances that we ingest.
Your life force energy can be likened to your skateboard bearings that keep your wheels turning.
If you have clean and well-lubricated bearings, your wheels will spin faster.
You'll know when your bearings require service when your wheels start making clunky noises, spin slower or stop spinning altogether.
Ideally, you want to avoid popping any bearings and having your wheel come off mid-session, right?
When we understand life force energy, the things that affect it, and how to maintain it, it will be similar to understanding the maintenance needs of skateboard bearings.
You might feel like cleaning, degreasing, and oiling your bearings with some speed cream or other forms of lubrication might not be that necessary, as you can easily purchase a new set of bearings when they feel worn out.
You might be able to manage with bearings that wear out and just replace them individually.
These are examples of two ways to handle this in a short-term and long-term sense; purchasing new ones and replacing them every time they stop spinning or learning the skills to maintain and manage your bearings, empowering you to take control.
Life Force Energy
The same can be said about our life force energy.
There are methods of replenishing our energy needs through short-term and long-term means.
Short-term means might involve using substances such as alcohol, cigarettes, and other stimulants.
In contrast, long-term means might involve breathwork, energy healing modalities, emotional release, meditation, and other forms of self-healing to manage energy flow to feel relaxed, rejuvenated, and revitalized.
Looking at both the maintenance of skateboard bearings and life force energy, short-term means usually involve some form of expenditure.
On the other hand, long-term means usually involve learning a skill to manage your own energy flow.
While there is no right or wrong way to manage your skateboard bearings or your life force energy, there is an impact on the overall performance of your skateboard wheels and personal energy flow.
Should you decide to discover more about the processes of maintenance, you'll be learning skills, furthering your understanding and application of skills on a very personal and powerful level.
In a fast-paced world where information and resources are readily available at our fingertips, we can choose to feed either decision.
These aren't common conversations that you'll have with others, yet learning to maintain and restore your bearings and or your own life force energy are skills that can be acquired with patience and dedication.
They can deepen your passion and understanding of skateboarding and life.
Naturally, as you skate with bearings in your wheels, they are going to show some signs of wear.
The outer bearing casings can accumulate dirt, dust, grime, and other things that can slow down the rotation speed of the bearings and wheels.
These obstructions are like baggage that can get between the wheel, bearing, and axle, where the wheel spins.
To clean these casings is quick, low-level maintenance - you could wipe them down with a rag. Leaving your bearing casings and letting these things accumulate slows you down.
With your life force energy, interactions with the world outside of you form into energetic attachments with the different people, places, and things you interact with that can slow down your flow.
Clairvoyantly, these show up as cords or hooks that extend outward from an individual.
In a more practical-grounded sense, these are characterized by unhealthy attachments and dependencies on people, places, and things outside of you and feeling depleted, drained, or exhausted after day-to-day interactions.
Cleansing Your Body and Mind
There are many different things that can help you to engage in the low-level maintenance of your life force energy.
Here are some things that work for me that I also teach to my students. They work wonderfully, so you might like to give these some consideration:
- Take moments during your day to become aware of your breath. Practice inhaling deep breaths into the belly for a count of 4 and exhaling deep breaths out for a count of 4. Set the intention to inhale desirable, positive emotions while releasing anything you wish to clear with every exhale that no longer serves you;
- Cord-cutting by using your hands to make sweeping motions at the level of your sternum (solar plexus). Sweep as if you're making a cutting motion, once with your left hand, once with your right hand, and once more with both hands simultaneously;
- At the end of each day, visualize yourself standing under a silver waterfall that cleanses you and your body of all the energy and emotions that don't belong to you or you no longer need.
Like cleaning the cases of your skateboard bearings, low-level maintenance methods are a quick way to check in with yourself and how you're rolling (energetically and emotionally).
The Concept of Shielding
At first, these might seem like unusual or foreign practices to engage with.
However, with practice, you'll start to develop more awareness and sensitivity to how energy and emotions can affect you.
Leaving these excess energies to accumulate slows down the flow of your life force energy, similar to letting excess grime, dirt, and other things build up and restrict the rotation of your skateboard wheels.
This brings us to the concept of shielding.
While it is up to individual preference, some skaters like to take the shields off their bearings for several reasons, including appearance, aesthetics, sound, and benefits to speed.
The only drawback is that they are open and exposed to more elements that can build up and slow them down.
Some might choose to pop the shields off their bearings when skating in a park for maximum speed in a clean, wheel-friendly environment while keeping them on when skating in the street or in a pool, where there might be more dust, dirt, and grime.
Skaters can decide on this for themselves and apply their preferences depending on their situation.
Through these options, skaters can be more conscious and mindful of where they are rolling and how their wheels are impacted.
Shielding your energy is something that a lot of older generation spiritual teachers may advocate for, which usually involves things such as carrying specific crystals, using a certain essential oil or herb, visualizing one to multiple bubbles or capsules of color and light around you, pulling your energy back into yourself and avoiding people, places, things, and situations that may drain your energy.
Shielding your energy is a personal preference similar to deciding whether or not to skate with shields on your bearings or to skate with bearings shieldless.
Opening Up and Closing Off
Sure your energy might feel more reserved and essentially yours if you avoid everyone and everything and isolate yourself, but how will that encourage you to connect with others, serve the community, and share your gifts and talents with the world?
If you are fearful of being vulnerable and close yourself off, you also risk compromising friendships and relationships.
It's the same door in and the same door out.
Living in constant fear of expending your energy or picking up on others' energy and emotions can make you paranoid and withdrawn.
In the context of your life force energy, the gift of sensitivity is sensitivity.
It's through the availability of the preferences to shield or not to shield that one can develop their awareness and understanding of how different energies can affect them.
As you open yourself up to others, you open up to yourself too.
Your decision to shield your energy might depend on the context and environment that you are in.
For instance, you might like to shield yourself more in a very crowded environment that can leave you feeling exhausted and stressed, while with close friends or family, you might like to ease off on the shielding so that you can be more emotionally available and vulnerable to them.
You can allow yourself to adapt to your situation, for you would still want to benefit from being around others while still being able to flourish emotionally and energetically.
It's a personal preference to shield or not to shield your bearings or energy, and they are decisions that can support the development of your own inner wisdom on and off your skateboard.
Every once in a while, you might feel the need to do a replacement or service of your bearings and carry out a degreasing, cleaning, and lubricating ritual.
You'll know when it's time when your bearings aren't rolling as smoothly or are making noises that you didn't hear before.
The need for deeper spiritual maintenance can be characterized by factors such as recurring or unresolved behaviors, feelings of being stuck or lost in life, experiencing fear and trauma, attracting similar experiences, people, and relationships into your life, and unprocessed, buried emotions.
These things can impact your everyday life, personal and professional relationships, and overall health and well-being.
The low-level maintenance of your skateboard bearings or spiritual self focuses on what's on the surface, the more noticeable everyday factors, and is carried out more frequently.
The higher-level maintenance goes deeper into layers upon layers of energy and might only be undertaken once or twice a year and can delve into areas such as reprogramming beliefs, transforming negative patterns, resolving cellular memories from current or past lifetimes, clearing lodgments in your energy field, accessing your soul's records (Akashic records) to learn more about your gifts, talents, and purpose.
These are probably topics for another discussion. However, raising your awareness of these can encourage you to explore if you so wish.
When you have serviced your bearings, it feels like they are brand new at their optimum performance.
The same goes for your spiritual maintenance.
When you explore and experience your spiritual maintenance in this capacity, you'll feel like parts of you are reborn again.
You may experience shifts in your consciousness, which can help you feel a renewed sense of appreciation, confidence, and clarity about your life and the world you live in.
The maintenance of your bearings and spirit are both delicate dedications to yourself and the vehicles you are traveling in to traverse through skateboarding and life.
When considering the concept of maintenance, it raises the question of how far you are willing to go within to take care of, clean, nurture and restore the very parts of you and your life that you love.
Maintenance conveys the idea of seeking continual improvement and care for you and your equipment and empowering you to deliver your best in any given situation.
Everyone can access the tools to maintain their skateboard bearings and their spiritual selves by reaching out, making connections, asking questions, and doing their research.
There is no rule in skateboarding or life about what to do, how to do it, or even whether one should or shouldn't when it comes to maintenance.
It is entirely up to you, the skater, and the seeker.
"Tools for Maintenance" (2021)
Maintenance isn't simply a one-size, one-tool, fits-and-fixes-all approach to regulate the body, mind, spirit, or skateboards.
One spanner isn't enough to set up a skateboard, hence why a skate tool like this is very efficient for this job.
What tools will you make a part of your personal toolkit for your spiritual maintenance?
While you aren't able to control others, what you can control is yourself and your energy. Change your energy, change your experience.
There are many tools out there that you can add to your personal practice to help you cleanse, clear, and balance yourself to support you in feeling good from the inside out.
Words by Nathan Ho | Skateboarder and Author of "The Endless Wave: Skateboarding, Death & Spirituality"