The International Church of slacklife
Apr 20, 2018

Lost & Found

2 comments

Edited: Apr 20, 2018

 

Like most people in their early twenties, the concept of my own identity was a constant personal struggle. My attention was near always pulled in multiple directions which left me emotionally drained and depleted in ways I had not yet come to realize. Feeling unsatisfied with my own existence, my personal life was a constant field of instability and turmoil. I was in a never ending state of stress, malcontent and resentment towards myself and others due to my lack of connection, be it with myself, or the world I was experiencing at that time. After a string of explosive failed relationships and trauma at the hands of constantly fighting this internal battle, my sense of self was damaged, my physical health was in decline, and my professional life was on a dead end course. I was lost, without even realizing it.

 

Following a major accident while recklessly longboarding through traffic, a friend of mine invited me to come try Slacklining. "Its over grass, so you'll be safe if you tank it again" he joked with me. Covered in bandages, and shaking from fear of injuring myself further, I hopped on the line. I was horrible at it! My body was tense, I couldn't find a center point, and struggled to even get two feet on the line long enough to stumble a few steps forward before falling off.

 

But I was hooked.

 

I practiced relentlessly. I cut myself off from the rest of the world, social media, dating, partying, and spent every spare moment I had practicing. I learned to breathe, like I never knew was possible. I learned that facing your fears and challenging the notion of what you assumed was possible can empower you to reach new heights (and lengths) you never could have imagined. Slacklining had given me something to constructively focus my attention on, not immediately knowing how big the world was that I had just stepped into. It was then, for the first time in my life, I had something to aim for, something to work towards and build up to that I genuinely cared about. It was so much more than another hobby or physical practice, as anyone who slacklines can attest to. Suddenly I had a reason to take care of my body, to rest and recover, to view my food as a direct link to my overall health and well being... did I mention rest? Most importantly, though, I learned the value of focus, a steady hand and steadier mind, control, struggle, challenge, patience, and what all those things meant in relation to leading a fulfilling life. Today I walk solo rigged 300+ft lines in the same park I spent that first summer practicing, and the sky is the limit for what comes next for my slack journey.

 

Through all of this, living in a part of the country where the local slackline community is fringe, at best, I was suddenly tasked with finding and building a local community by tracking down as many slackliners as I could. After years of practice and exposure, using social media as a platform, I can still count the number of active slackers in my area on less than two hands. For such a life changing and challenging practice which has taught me so much, having only a few heads to share it with created a disconnect for me at times. When something impacts you positively, the natural response is to want to share it with as many people as you can, endlessly and freely.

 

When I saw the announcement post from Kimberly pop up in Slackchat on Facebook, I broke into tears. Even writing this, I've held them back. Through all the criticism surrounding the words "religion" and "church" and the memories people associate with those words, I saw her vision through it all. Being from a part of the country with such a small slackline community, the act of creating a platform to bring others together under the canopy of slacklove has been a dream of mine locally since my journey began, and seeing it happen on a larger scale than I ever imagined is truly a dream realized.

 

Religion, for all of its historical short comings, was created FOR people and BY people. Calling Slacklife a Church has forced a large part of our community to re evaluate something they may have yet not considered, which isn't always an easy thing to do. If slacklining has taught me anything, though, arguably the most important lesson; it is to let go of everything you thought you knew, not get hung up on the small stuff, and to stay focused on where you are now in relation to where you're going. Slack Happy, Slack Mad, Slack Scared, lost and alone:

But just slack.

 

Apr 24, 2018

When I first started slacklining, I also spent every spare moment of my free time practicing. But like you said, it was definitely hard to stay stoked without a community, and I eventually started to feel that disconnect you mention when you don't have anyone to share it with. I was starting to lose motivation. Then completely by chance, the bar I was working at hired another slacker!! We connected instantly and he was able to introduce me to the community in my area and educate me about slackchat and other online groups (which I didn't even know existed yet). A month later I was at my first longline festival in San Luis Obispo. Once I met the community, the rest was history. I was on a highline nearly a month after that...WAY sooner than I ever thought I'd be....and it just completely took over my life.

 

Thanks for sharing!! I can feel the emotion through your words, and it brought back a lot of good memories for me too<3

May 4, 2018

props for shredding savagely through traffic on ya board man! the concrete gods demand sacrifice every once in awhile. glad the slacklife found you before it was too late! thanks for sharing man

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  • I first slacked 5 or 6 years ago and thought it was really neat but never got into it, later I got into climbing and last summer I started using a 2inch classic line to train for my climbing. This summer a friend and I started slacking more and more eventually we hooked our 2 50 ft gibbon classic lines together to make a 100 ft line. that is where I discovered flow. Ever since i haven’t been able to stop now I have a 90m setup and THE STOKE IS SO FUCKING HIGH!!
  • I remember vividly the very first time I walked on a slackline in my back yard 5 years ago. It was the beginning of the most wonderfully fulfilling activity I have ever taken part in. Every step was a fight at first. I was pretty terrible for a long time until eventually the hours of practice finally started coming together after I bought a 100m 1 inch aero line. Before long I had outgrown it and now have progressed to a 240m Mantra mk4 line. The longer it gets I thought, the more intense it would feel and the more time I could get in the flow state. And it was more intense. Then when I began highlining the feeling of sending and floating only became more surreal than in the parks and meadows. There is really nothing more meaningful in the world to me beside my girlfriend than slacklining. There is something about being suspended above ground in such a delicate balance between floating and whipping harshly that gets me so gripped in an oddly subtle way. It's almost as if the heavens have been extended down to you, and there is nothing better in the entire world than that exact moment. The flow is when I feel the most alive. The most focused, in an intrinsic meditative sort of dance with the forces that be. It wakes me up inside. I feel my spirit being entertained and nourished. Like a little kid who plays his heart out, I am filled with joy after walking a line of any length, height, or tension. There are no words to make someone feel this way through explanation. You have to experience the flow to know what it means to be enlightened by the passion that exists within you. I believe that when you cultivate a moment where you send a 100m line after spending so many hours practicing, the satisfaction of that accomplishment is what really makes me so excited about slacklining. There's nothing like the reward of learning a new trick, setting a new PR or just getting out and letting yourself relax and get to know a new type of line length and tension. Getting in the flow is something I noticed is present during any of these progressive moments. Just being totally in the present, 110% focus/effort and not letting your preconceived limitations of mind or body or spirit, as Kim Weglin would say, get the upper hand on you. The flow is the way to break boundaries and kick some motherfucking ass. It is also the way I enlighten myself and feel zen. The flow gives me strength, clarity, peace, and happiness. As well as a myriad of other emotions. While some Buddhist monk out there spends eternity attempting to reach nirvana. I feel like jumping on a slackline may just be just as sublime of an experience. PS I would like to give a shout out to Kim for putting International Church of Slacklife into fruition. Thank you so much for this, it is so huge to have a way to share and see others share their testimonies on slacking. You're super rad and a great leader of the community of slackers we have!