This is just beautiful and awesome:
This is just beautiful and awesome:
You know that thing where you discover something incredible and it gives you hope and energy and passion and excitement? It awakens something inside you that had kinda been laying dormant for a while, and you can’t stop thinking about it so you tell everyone within earshot including complete strangers and you blast it over the internet so everyone you can reach is completely sure that this thing is totally awesome and they should really be paying attention?
OK so that…
And it’s mind blowing and inspiring and beautiful and thought provoking. So don’t be an idiot.
And then write me a recommendation letter so when I apply for a job with these fine folks they can’t help but shred all the other resumes and hire me on the spot.
Thank you and good night.
Originally I planned to do a half marathon (13.1 miles) yesterday up at the Gunstock Ranch – the same one I did two years ago with the cows and the donkeys. But then I found out about Erik Weihenmayer and plans immediately changed. After seeing a blurb about him giving a speech at UH Manoa that was open to the public and free, I picked up his book Touch the Top of the World, about him summitting Denali, and was enthralled from page one.
This man has been everywhere and climbed everything. He’s one of very few people to conquer the Seven Summits – the highest peaks on each continent including Mt. Everest! – he’s made his way up The Nose of El Capitan in Yosemite, he skis, skydives, kayaks the Colorado River and the list goes on and on. So OK there are a lot of adventurous climbers in the world, what makes Erik so special? Well, he’s blind. 100% completely and totally blind since age 13. And he didn’t start doing any of this until after he lost his vision.
He travels the world speaking about living a No Barriers Life. The motto is:
What’s within you is stronger than what’s in your way.
I hated bailing on the half but couldn’t miss the opportunity to see him speak so I devised a win/win plan. I put my running clothes on, laced up my sneakers and ran six miles to the event in a delicate rain. Afterwards Tropical Storm Ana was really kicking in but I ran home effortlessly in a downpour, adrenaline coursing, easily completing twelve miles on the fuel of his words.
Erik Weihenmayer’s accomplishments are extraordinary but what really hits home for me on a personal level, is that he does something very few motivational speakers do: he acknowledges the struggle and the suck. So many mystics and speakers will tell you it’s all so easy, anything is possible, you just have to “let go”. It can feel condescending, not to mention incredibly frustrating, when you’re having a difficult time with something that’s holding you back. But Erik says something more along the lines of, “No this is hard and it takes strength and commitment and discipline. A lot of times it’s gonna totally suck.”
He’s funny and sarcastic and human.
He continues saying, “We’re gonna rope up and get through it together.” Roping up is what climbers do in extreme environments like two foot wide ridges above 20,000′. If one person falls, everyone’s falling. So you dig in your ice ax and catch them.
Suffice it to say I was blown away on a much deeper level than anticipated. I feel like I found a kindred spirit. Maybe I don’t succeed as often as I’d like, and I’m certainly not climbing Everest with my eyes closed anytime soon, but what I’m always trying to do is show the whole picture: the success and the failure and all the work in between.
I went online and took The No Barriers Pledge:
After perusing their website I laughed when I realized the No Barriers organization is located just outside of Boulder, CO. So now I have a new unexpected goal: figure out how to work with these guys when I get there.
The other day I was sitting in the tiki hut in my front yard reading Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert again. Her follow up to Eat, Pray, Love is a fascinating history on marriage and what it has meant for women over the course of time. But of course, because she’s a fantastic writer, it is also much more. Ms. Gilbert dives in from numerous angles as she attempts to justify her upcoming forced nuptials to the love of her life. The two of them claiming to love each other too much to ever consider marriage find themselves facing deportation if they don’t make their union legal.
It’s undoubtedly a love story and not exactly anti-marriage. (And to be clear, neither am I.) However in summary, she makes a strong argument for why women should pretty much never ever succumb to the institution, or at the very least they should wait until they obtain complete autonomy and pass thirty.
It is my go-to comfort book for reassurance and acknowledgement that I am doing JUST FINE with my current life choice of singlehood on the most remote landmass on the planet.
While I was out there in the hut, the kids I live with were playing around me as they often do and the four year old threw himself onto the cushion next to me. I love how kids have no physical boundaries and think nothing of leaning in on you and climbing over you as if you’re simply an extension of the furniture. He took a look at the author picture on the back of the book and asked if it was me.
I was so instantly pleased to be compared in anyway to someone I admire so greatly, even if only from a four year old who kinda thinks I look like her. And to think someone (anyone!) in this world would think my face belongs on the back of a published book, what joy!
Ha ha. Anyway, this is all just to introduce one of Liz’s latest essays, which I consider to be an important read. I would highly recommend everyone read Committed, but if you’re not in the mood for an entire book, please at the very least check out this nugget of golden bliss:
Thank you to everyone who made suggestions of their favorite charities for me to consider giving to this year. As one of my tiny goals, I’m attempting to donate $600 this year in $50 increments to a different charity each month.
January’s 50 bucks is going to my personal favorite: Best Friends Animal Society
Their mission is clear and concise: SAVE THEM ALL. Can’t possibly argue with that!
Nearly 30 years ago, when Best Friends helped pioneer the no-kill movement, more than 17 million homeless pets were dying each year in our nation’s shelters. Today, that number is around four million unnecessary deaths annually – that is tremendous progress, but Best Friends is committed to reducing that number to zero. By implementing targeted spay/neuter and TNR programs to reduce the number of animals who enter shelters, and by increasing the number of people who adopt pets, we know we can end the killing. We know we can Save Them All.
Sound like the best thing anyone could possibly be working toward? There are many ways to get involved including tax deductible donations, volunteer vacations and pet adoptions. One of my best friends did a volunteer vacation there a few years ago and it was a truly transformative mission for her. In fact she is now a certified veterinary technician saving animals lives on a daily basis. Need a new buddy? Maybe your next pet is hanging out in the Utah sun just waiting for you to find her!
Check out their website to learn more. They are truly an awesome, inspiring and change making organization.
P.S. If you’ve never adopted a shelter dog, please go do so right now. It’s the best decision you’ll ever make. For realz yo. Need proof?
Meet Banjo Lynch, the most handsome and well behaved best friend/protector a girl could ever hope to have in her corner. Adopted at age 4 months, just two days before he was scheduled for completely senseless and unnecessary euthanasia, he has brought more joy and unconditional love to my life these past 8 years than most of the humans I’ve met so far:
Thanks for the reminder Ms. Gilbert.
Anytime I go a short while without a physical challenge I get antsy and depressed. I’m currently working out what will be next for me. In the meantime, check out the Oatmeal’s hilarious and spot on description of the “terrible and wonderful reasons” why we do these sorts of things:
Hooray! Coach J is gonna do the race! Coach P is the organizer, Coach C simply claims to not be a triathlete, and Coach J is getting on a plane to Italy at noon and just wasn’t planning to race. But just now at the last minute at packet pick-up he changed his mind. And I’m so glad he did.
Coach J is so good natured and encouraging. Seeing him tomorrow morning will undoubtedly help calm my nerves. Knowing he’s out there in the water with me will help me feel so much less alone. Phew! It doesn’t make exact clear sense, but I feel so much better!
And now, thanks to some much needed pre-race pep talking from the wonderfully inspiring Andy Andrews, I will spend the rest of the evening attempting to burn the boats!
“What is it in our lives that is still floating the excuses in our minds, that’s keeping us from getting what we say we want? What are the boats in our hearts… that we need to burn?”
~ Andy Andrews
I recently heard Alec Baldwin talking with Dr. Robert Lustig on his new podcast Here’s The Thing. Lustig is a pioneer in the fight against childhood obesity and his theory blames it all on increased sugar intake.
In 2009 his 90 minute presentation to UCSF students on The Bitter Truth about sugar was released on YouTube and has since been viewed millions of times.
I’ve been thinking about sugar a lot lately, mostly that I want to continue to cut back on my own consumption because I’ve witnessed it leading to an imbalance of my mood and energy levels. (I am supposed to be preparing for a marathon after all. Oh and living my best Oprah life, right?) Well, in my opinion, this hour and a half lecture on how the body processes sugar and all the inherent links to negative health effects is totally worth the investment of time. So grab some popcorn (unsweetened of course) and settle in for an educational movie night!
Then check out this EatingWell.com article for some opposing points of view. I totally disagree with the opposers, but that’s just me and, like most of us, I’m pretty sure I know everything. Ha!
A previous post of mine: Sugar Makes Me Ill