Gratitude.

I wanted to share a personal story about a time when I truly felt gratitude, and how it enabled me to take advantage of what I had in order achieve a bit of personal growth, to this day. I think this might be valuable to some readers, because it might highlight the difference between appreciating your life and yourself as it is (without judgement) and moving towards your goals with confidence, as opposed to taking the mindset of never being enough – and therefore having to constantly strive for improvement just to be worthy.

I want to add a disclaimer here – I’m going to describe some of my experience with cancer, and the pain and physical symptoms that came with that. I don’t generally sugar coat my medical experiences, so it might be too much for some people. I also use the F-bomb, like, once, and I ramble on quite a bit. So don’t read this if that bothers you.

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4 Athletes on Overcoming Disabilities

Oftentimes, overcoming the myriad of obstacles in everyday life can seem a little overwhelming. This can be even more true when on top of it all, you are struggling with a disability or other challenge that not many people around you are facing.

But I want everyone to know that no matter what obstacles you are facing, it’s still worth your while to follow your dreams! It might be hard, and the journey might be long, but in the end it will pay off.

Even in the short amount of time I’ve been pursuing a more fit lifestyle, I’ve seen changes in myself that surprised me. I haven’t reached most of my goals yet, but even so there are so many big and small positive changes that the transition will be worth it even if I don’t reach them.

I wanted to share some quotes from some famous athletes who have embraced their own disabilities and pursued their dreams. It wasn’t easy for any of them, but somehow they found the strength to get them where they are today.

1) Bethany Hamilton

Bethany Hamilton driving through a barrel in Indonesia Fall 2009.

Photo: NoahHamiltonPhoto.com

I can’t write a post about inspiring, disabled athletes without mentioning the Soul Surfer! Bethany Hamilton has been surfing since before she can remember, and when she was only 8 years old she won her first surfing competition. At the age of 13, she was out surfing with friends when a 14 foot long tiger shark attached her, severing her arm and taking a good chunk of her surfboard with it.

Luckily, her friend’s father was able to get her to a hospital rather quickly, and she survived. But she was worried she would never be able to surf again. Through lots of courage, determination, and (of course) support, she was back on the surfboard one month after leaving the hospital. Here are a few quotes from Bethany about her disability and getting back to surfing:

“One arm might handicap me a little in competition, but I just work with what changes I know I have to make, and I’m pretty used to it now. It mainly depends on the wave conditions… I only get half the waves everyone else rides, so mine have to be good!”

“Strive to find things to be thankful for, and just look for the good in who you are!”

That last part is so important – to focus on the good, on the things we can do, and be grateful for that all along the way.

2) Jim Abbott

Jim Abbott was a Major League Baseball pitcher and Olympic gold medalist who was born without a right hand. He distinguished himself early in his career, and by the time he was in college he was already distinguished at the nation’s best amateur athlete.

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“It’s not the disability that defines you; it’s how you deal with the challenges the disability presents you with. We have an obligation to the abilities we DO have, not the disability.”

3) Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson

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Here’s the thing – as you may know, The Rock has never suffered from a physical disability like a missing or paralyzed limb, or a debilitating injury; at least as far as the public knows. But he has been very vocal about his struggled with depression. I’m including him on this list because many people don’t realize how depression (or many other mental illnesses) can cripple a person just as badly as a physical injury. It’s just as hard to overcome.

In this video, The Rock describes his first bout of depression which came on in his early twenties, after being kicked out of the CFL and rejected from the NFL. He had to move back in with his parents. For a month and a half, he couldn’t bring himself to do anything but clean the apartment – “That’s the only thing I could control,” he said.

“I found that, with depression, one of the most important things you could realize is that you’re not alone. You’re not the first to go through it; you’re not going to be the last to go through it. I wish I had someone at that time who could just pull me aside and say, ‘Hey, it’s gonna be OK. It’ll be OK.”

“Hold on to that fundamental quality of faith. Have faith that on the other side of your pain is something good.”

4) Kyle Maynard

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Picture source

Maynard was the first quadruple-amputee to climb Mount Kilimanjaro without using any prosthetic limbs. In addition, he has also won awards for wrestling and weight training, as well as training in Mixed Martial Arts.

“Yeah, there were a couple of doubts that I couldn’t. But I don’t really look at those. I just look at what I can do and what I will do.”

“It’s important to realize that anything truly worth having in this life is going to be hard, and sometimes we may have to fail hundreds of times before we break through and succeed.”

 

A Setback and a Spring Walk

There have been a few frustrating mishaps in this last week, the most irritating of which was the late delivery of my beta blockers from my new pharmacy. I switched from my usual drug-store pharmacy because with mail order I’m able to save money and time by ordering a 90 day supply instead of 30 days.

The apparent downside to that is that the company doesn’t seem to care about delivering the drugs on time.

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Grateful Sunday|What Lies Beyond Fear

Just a positive message for your day, from a blog I really like. Don’t let fear of failure keep you from chasing your dreams.

If you let go of your fear long enough to get started, you can start a positive feedback loop of achievement and confidence!

The Richness of a Simple Life

This week I’m grateful for the right words at the right time. I recently read a comment on a YouTube video that wasn’t intended for me but empowered me just the same. The commenter said that if someonehas a positive and important message to spread, it doesn’t matter if they received a degree for it or not.

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Patience, little plant (How gardening taught me that waiting is worth it)

About four or five years ago, when I was in the midst of my fight with cancer, I took up indoor gardening. I was always cold, so I always kept my room at at least 80 degrees (F) – perfect for planting something in the middle of winter.

I remember how my mostly unstructured days at home started to have an anchoring point. No matter what, I’d wake up and water my plants. If I was bored, I’d run over to the window and see if anything had sprouted yet.

For the first few days I was SO frustrated. I planted those stupid seeds FOREVER ago! Why haven’t they sprouted yet??

Continue reading “Patience, little plant (How gardening taught me that waiting is worth it)”

Inspirational Songs (Part 2)

This next song is one I’ve been loving for a few months now. It’s called “Impossible Is Nothing” by Iggy Azalea. Think what you will about the woman herself, but if you’re looking for inspiration give the song a try.

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It doesn’t hurt to know Iggy’s story – she grew up in Australia (possibly in poverty, as she hints at in her other music) and dropped out of high school. Instead of going to school, she chose to work her ass off to get the money to fly to the birthplace of rap – the United States. She knew she’d be close to her passion there, and she made a name for herself through her hard work and single-minded dedication.

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Songs for Inspiration (1

I’ve loved music my entire life, so much that I even composed and recorded music at one point. Like many people, I have some songs that have stuck with me and inspired me over the years. I’d like to share some of those with you, along with my favorite lines from those songs, in my “Songs for Inspiration” posts.

This first song is called “Impossible” by Lacey Sturm.

Continue reading “Songs for Inspiration (1”