Becoming an Olympian

gold medal.jpg
It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.
— Sir Edmund Hillary

I love the Olympics. The inspirational stories of overcoming the odds, the sheer determination of the athletes and the comradery of competition all bear witness to the magnitude of the human spirit.

What is it in Olympic athletes that creates that drive and determination? Why aren't we all Olympians? It is so much easier to sit on the couch eating pizza, watching the events from the comfort of our own homes, thinking "Wow! I could never do that!" 

When I worked at Richmond Hill I had the privilege of working with an Olympian, a gold medal winning swimmer. And there truly was something special about her. 

The first time I met her she was sitting on the floor sorting out a pile of papers and she looked up at me with a huge smile, eyes sparkling, and cheerfully introduced herself. Enthusiasm poured out of every fiber of her being. I liked her immediately.

Kim had recently graduated from seminary and when she left Richmond Hill she was headed to medical school. Yes, she was smart, but she was also a hard worker. She knew how to apply herself fully to the work at hand.She was self-disciplined and took good care of herself; she ate a healthy diet and exercised daily.

Kim was kind, considerate, and compassionate. She did not think of herself more highly than of others; she was humble, even though she had won an Olympic gold medal!

I do think Kim is special. But is she any different from the rest of us? If so, I think it's mostly a matter of choice.

We can all choose to develop these "Olympic" qualities if we really want to:

  • A cheerful, positive attitude

  • Enthusiasm

  • Hard work

  • Self-discipline

  • Healthy eating habits

  • Daily exercise

  • Kindness

  • Consideration

  • Compassion

  • Humility

Is it easy? Probably not. Otherwise, why would it be so rare? 

I could go into the brain science of habit patterns and why they're so hard to change, but for today I think I will just try to emulate my friend Kim. 

Just for today:

  • I will be cheerful (the sun is shining!) and enthusiastic about life.

  • I will focus on the work at hand and get things done.

  • I started the day with a bowl of steel cut oatmeal and stewed prunes. I can hear you saying, "Ewww... gross." So what? It's healthy! And delicious! And I can continue to make health conscious food choices for the rest of today.

  • I will take the dog for a long walk and go to a yoga class.

  • I will open my heart to those I interact with today with the knowledge that I am but a speck on this small planet and we are all expressions of Divine Love.

And tomorrow I will try to do it again. Anyone want to join me?