Sorry it's been awhile since the last blog post - I have been an author maniac!!! Trying to get the first draft of my book finished so that I can start to cut and polish it into the little diamond I hope it will become. I will let you in on a little secret - publication date is the 1st May, 2014!!! But of course, keep an eye out for pre-order in the new year, cause you know, you just might get a little extra something if you pre-order!
Anyway, onto this controversial thought I had the other day. You see, between writing like a maniac and ... well .... eating and sleeping, I have been speaking at some schools (AND to a Beavers group - they were sooooo cute!). I spoke at Hymers College in Hull the other day and whilst there I was treated to a delicious lunch and the chance to chat with a group of lower-sixths. Whilst chatting away with them the idea of what it means to be an athlete and what it is actually like to be an athlete came up. I told them many many things about training, drug testing, racing, injuries, attitudes, and the like. I also said this thing about a well known, in fact extremely well known athlete. Who?
(Image from here)
What did I say about Usain Bolt? Well, I said that he was an amazing athlete who really disappointed me. The students gave me a questioning look with a slight bit of "are yo' crazy woman?!?" thrown in. Well, no, I don't think I am crazy, and here is why .....
Have you ever realised that you have an extraordinary gift, and this extraordinary gift means that you are fantastic at - your sport of choice, your job of choice, your craft of choice? You are so fantastic at whatever it is that you know that you really just have to do the bare minimum to get by. So you do the bare minimum, and you ace it every time - you always come first, get the promotion/pay rise, or outshine the person knitting next to you. The problem is, you aren't pushing yourself, and therefore, even though you are bloody fantastic at what you do and get praised to the high heavens, you actually don't know exactly what you are capable of.
This is Bolt. Whenever I see him race I see him get the most amazing start, and then I see the effortlessness with which he pulls ahead of his competitors, his long legs striding, arms counterbalancing, eyes focused. AND then Bolt hits the last ten metres of his race, he starts to look around, losing focus, he eases up, and practically strolls over the finish line. Augh!! Frustrating!
Why is it frustrating? Cause here we have an insanely talented person who is not reaching their full potential!! And why isn't he? Why doesn't he?
When I was a swimmer I gave every race my all, pulling on all my resources to be the best that I could be in that moment. Why would I want to short change myself and my abilities by pulling up short of the finish and cruise home, that isn't being true to myself or my coach, or my parents, or my fans - in fact it's being flat out miserly with your skills and gifts.
So, what do I do now, when I speak? I give it my all every time - even if I struggle to pull out my best, at least I consciously have tried, unlike Bolt in his running race, who, I personally think, let's himself and others down by never giving his all.
Call me controversial if you want - but it does irk me, those that have a gift but don't use it to it's full potential -
What gifts, skills, talents do you have that you could be using better? Do you consciously "pull up" in the last ten minutes of your exam, your race, your speech?
DON"T DO IT!!!
PUSH YOURSELF TO THE VERY END
GIVE IT ALL YOUR BEST SHOT!
Cause if you don't no-one else will do it for you - you don't see Usain's coach lassoing him those last ten metres and dragging him to the finish for that new world record, nope, if Bolt wants that world record he has to do it himself. So never falter in giving your best ....
PLEASE DON'T DO A BOLT.
This has been my third cold in a month .... AND it's not even winter yet!! What is going on??
I am eating right, yoga-ing, walking, meditating, focusing, socialising, balancing my life better then ever, and then
It hasn't been pretty, the pile of tissues on the floor growing higher by the day, the edges of my nostrils almost bleeding because of the dry rawness that glows a bright red, the cracked lips that come from breathing through your mouth for a week, the brain fog that slows your thinking, slows your soul. I have finally come out the other side, with a residual, partial nose block, and constant tickle that sits right there, at the pharynx, tickling away like the infernal tickle monster.
But this blog post isn't about the disgusting journey through the mucus filled adventures of one Elizabeth Wright. Nope, not at all. It is about how I, Elizabeth Wright, chose how to "breathe" through a difficult time.
(image via pinterest)
In difficult times, whether that be health, wealth, or life in general, we can often feel ourselves unravel, like a bright red thread of yarn that unwinds and unwinds and unwinds into a mass of tangle knots (those tangle knots representing our frustration, anger, and sadness, don't you know!!). This can be something as simple as the cold that I went through last week, or as catastrophic as a job loss, or a mortgage issue, or a family crisis. The tangles become so so knotted that we start to panic, becoming blind to the truth of the situation. We angst and angst, and lose sight of the end of that ball of yarn, that end becomes just another tangle and we don't see a way out.
It is at this moment that we have to make a choice.
Do I "breathe"?
Do I calm my mind and start to work through the knots a knot at a time?
Do I feed the panic?
Do I take those tangles, throw them in the air, stomp on them, smoosh them , and make them more tangled, more complicated?
As I lay in my bed on the second day of the cold, my head aching, my nose streaming, my brow firey with fever, my throat feeling like hot irons were being applied to it, I wallowed in my misery; I thought I was dying .....
Get Real!! I wasn't dying, I was simply suffering the effects of a virus that had taken hold and these effects were proof that my body was doing what it was supposed too - fighting the infection. I should have been celebrating the fact that I was having these symptoms, going 'yeah body, you rock!! With all your snot and s#@t!' So, as I lay there I took my awareness away from the misery, the boredom, and the frustration, and started to focus on the way that I was breathing.
I wasn't breathing like I normally did - through my nose, in, out, in, out. I was breathing through my mouth, and each breath in dried my lips and tongue slightly, and each breath out was warming and moist. The tickle of air on my lips was extremely noticeable, the way I had to lick my lips every second breath, and the way I had to swallow the air down every third breath. It was a miracle really! Even though I couldn't breathe through my nose like I normally did, I could still breathe, and live, and think, and survive. This cold wasn't the end of me, it was just a small facet of experience that I was having and a facet that wouldn't last very long.
I focused on my breathing and the misery, boredom, and frustration eased away, I focused on my breath and each day passed steadily, freely, each morning noticing how I was feeling better, how now I could breathe in air from my right nostril, and then the next day the left. Today I have noticed that my nose is a bit blocked again and I am breathing through my mouth again. But it just is and so I accept it.
I untangled the knots of my cold and can see the end of the yarn.
What do you have to untangle in your own life? Do you choose to untangle? Or do you choose to stay with the anger and frustration?
"Your Determination is Limitless"
- Elizabeth Wright