Perseverance…Just Keep Going…
It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer. ~Albert Einstein
If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking. ~Buddhist Saying
Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Difficult things take a long time, impossible things a little longer. ~André A. Jackson
At our house, we love Super Soul Sunday on Own, it is a spiritual practice for us. We quit watching TV several years ago and made an exception for this wonderful program…it has proven to be a great choice. It is a lovely way to see God in a variety of forms and ideas…a beautiful tribute to the Universal Oneness we can all benefit from understanding. We get excited for new episodes. Recently we watched endurance swimmer Diana Nyad talk about her life, her journey, her beliefs, her determination, her recent swim from Cuba to Florida and more. She shared a piece of herself with Oprah and her audience in a very moving way. Oprah enjoyed it so much that she made it a two-part episode that continued this past Sunday. I must admit that when I first saw the topic the week prior to it airing, I wasn’t as excited as usual…I just didn’t feel connected to it and it didn’t seem like I would relate to it so much. Well, I was wrong. Very wrong. It was relatable to me in a deep way.
I had seen the headlines of Diana’s swim from Cuba to Florida and never really bothered to read the story or details of it. Now I know the story and I am a better person for having heard it and a grateful person for having heard it straight from her. Long long story really short – she swam 110 miles in 53 hours straight at age 64 on her fourth attempt. After hearing all the specifics of the challenges of swimming in the ocean (like jellyfish stings) and trying to wrap my mind around doing anything for 53 hours straight (even lying on my bed), the whole idea just seemed a bit crazy and kind of like a strange dream to chase for a lifetime. That feeling didn’t last long.
Diana has an intense personality. She is a force. You can feel her when she talks and in my experience, something deep inside me connected to that spirit that showed so clearly in her. It really is hard to put into words, but I felt it big time. I was riveted and deeply moved. My whole family was. There is something beautiful about people who are trying to be the best version of themselves and willing to work really really hard to do it.
Afterwards, my eight-year-old daughter and I were talking about her dream and her perseverance. We were walking through the house gathering laundry as we casually discussed what it meant to us. We were talking about the swimming part of it and all she encountered, it seemed really really scary to my daughter. I tried to explain that you take that example of perseverance and you put it in a form that relates to your life. Without thinking of it, I blurted out what my Cuba/Florida swim equivalent is. I explained that for me, what I am the most passionate and feel the most drawn towards and consider to be the most important thing in my existence is living in consciousness as a permanent state. That is, transcending egoic states of mind and truly existing deeply in the present moment. This may sound strange to some people but this is my truth. Living in this way is the most important thing and will transcend and bring harmony to life and relationships all around me.
I have been on this journey of trying to live what I know for quite some time. I fall down all the time. I react. I take things personally. I resist what already is. I fall below thought and just check-out with mind numbing distractions of various sorts, knowing this doesn’t bring real joy. I always get back up and keep going. I can admit that I failed and I don’t have to be mean to myself about it. I can apologize to those I may have hurt or annoyed and tell them I know I can do better and I am not those choices. Learning to be kind to yourself in your failure is a gift. Still learning to receive that gift. Getting better.
It is strange that watching a swimmer with a completely different type of dream and experience could connect to me so deeply. I know why it did — It is the same story we all have. I am grateful to Diana to have shared her story in a way that allows me to be able to consider those 53 hours and what it took to keep going. I will think of it often as I keep going. Many times this week, I caught myself right before I may have fallen into an old reaction or thought pattern and I felt deeply that now was the moment to choose to live all that I know. I was able to sit in whatever was causing discomfort and not let it become me. I could observe and stay true to who I am and what kind of person I want to be. In life there are countless opportunities to continue to make that choice. I am that choice, not the other things that sometimes interfere with my deeper self. Maybe someday soon I can live 53 hours straight without any thought chatter or egoic reasoning or reacting…just simply BEING. The only time to do it is now. I AM that choice.
Find a way. ~Diana Nyad
There is an evolutionary impulse that wants to assist us in our growth and towards what we are meant to do. It takes a lot of stillness and spaciousness to access that place that can guide us. It doesn’t have to be difficult to persevere. It can seem incredibly hard when we fall away from the impulse of the flow of life, but the flow is always waiting for us to return to it. We can choose it at any moment. It is true that we aren’t really headed to a destination…it is the journey and it is full of millions of opportunities to continue to persevere.
Wishing us all the space to embrace perseverance towards whatever we may feel drawn to. Sending love!