Monday, July 16, 2012

Flowing With the Go by Elena Stowell

I first heard of Flowing With the Go: A Jiu-Jitsu Journey of the Soul several months before its July 10, 2012 release. I read a brief article on Google on how Elena Stowell discovered Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and how it helped deal with the grief of losing her fifteen year old daughter, Carly.

I picked up the Kindle edition for $3.99 on the day the book was released, and I quickly started to read Mrs. Stowell's journey to overcome Carly's death.

The book explains the the incredible talents and life Carly was living and how Elena was a very supportive and loving mother. She was heavily involved in Carly's life as a coach and was Carly's basketball team "Mom".

So naturally it was hard to deal with her daughters death and she looked to many outlets to help her grieve. She eventually realized that she had spun out of control. She starting drinking more than normal and cut herself off emotionally from her friends and family.

Elena was very active and played collegiate sports. And one night when she was overcome with grief and she could not sleep, she found herself in her garage trying to beat her personal bench press record. She knew that physical activity made her feel better, and after discussion with her therapist she decided to try a weight loss boot camp. While taking this camp she discovered that she really enjoyed the kickboxing and striking aspect of work outs. When she wanted to just focus on striking she branched out and searched for some specific training in boxing.

She found herself at a local Brazilain Jiu-Jitsu and MMA academy, in Kent, Washington where she attended striking classes. After her striking class, she would stay and watch the Jiu-Jitsu classes. Her coach finally talked her into trying a couple classes. She eventually navigated towards Jiu-Jitsu and slowly began the healing process through the physical and mental training she would endure each time she set foot on the mats.

She was amazed how supportive her new found Jiu-Jitsu family became. They helped her stay encouraged, face her grief and depression head on, and helped her focus on her goals. Through Jiu- Jitsu she began to improve her quality of life and began to assemble a team of people and experts in different fields, nutrition, mind, body, and soul. Through the support of family, friends, and her new team she focused on her goal of competing in the biggest Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu tournament in the world, the IBJJF (International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation)Worlds tournament. This was a critical moment in her life, and she knew that by accomplishing this goal she was honoring Carly's memory.

At the beginning of this book, you find Elena in a very weak state in her life after Carly's death. You begin to see the transformation throughout the book to a strong confident woman, Jiu-Jitsu champion, and most importantly a mom who began to heal. It was amazing to see her focus and her determination to claw her self from the depths of despair using Jiu-Jitsu as a tool to do so.

Elena honors Carly's memory by allowing us to take part in this awesome story. I felt as if I were cheering her on during her roller coaster of emotions. She chose this journey to help her cope with the loss and during this she discovered herself. This is a must read for every Jiu-Jitsu practitioner or anyone who is struggling emotionally in their life.