So the other day I posted a blog titled “Infinitude“, sprung from a photograph and a Pablo Neruda poem on the wall in the cottage where I’m staying in Key West.
The gist of the blog was the profound reverence for both our Universe and our human condition that wells up when immersed in the sea for these long, long hours.
But deep emotions exist in layers. Along with the high’s that touch my very soul about this unique journey of preparing for the epic Swim from Cuba, there are doubts and anxieties and fears.
Today marks the end of my 7th week here in Key West. I was ready to go, at the physical and mental peak, the day I arrived. The first 5 weeks, I was strong, happy, confident, ready, imagining and excited about every inch of the effort. Who knows? Maybe I was naive to think I could maintain that emotional adrenaline for such an extended period. Week 6 I started to lose the edge. And this week, while I was muttering surface positive mantras, my inner core was struggling with upheaval.
It all came to a climax last night. 2am I awoke in a panic. Then came a flood of tears. Wrote and read and walked the streets until daylight. How could I let myself, she of iron will, go down with the terror of “what if’s”? What if we never get our weather window? This is the end of the journey. I am not coming back in 2014. What if….my beautiful Dream is crushed?
Bonnie called: “I’ve told you this all through the years. It’s a waste of time and emotion to worry about what might…or might not….come to pass. The winds will switch in our favor. Believe it. And stop worrying about it.”
My navigator and great friend John Bartlett called: “The real adversary here is the potentially debilitating waiting game. Take it head on, kick its ass. Don’t let anything diminish you from being 100%. Growl and stay focused.”
And then, I went to visit the actual artist who created the Neruda “Infinitude” piece, who had contacted me after seeing the blog. Her name is Kim Narenkivicius. And, as often happens to us at desperate junctures of emotional vulnerability, sitting with Kim and her studio full of inspiring art was exactly what I needed on this day.
For instance, she told me the story of her spending all of 2010, from Jan 1 to Dec 31, hiking the famous pilgrimage trail in Spain, called the Camino de Santiago. She made Nature art along the way, such as this Rilke quote she left on a tree.
“Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
Just keep going. No feeling is final.”
As you can imagine, I was like putty in Kim’s hands today. Another of her pieces, this framed honeycomb, quotes a Spanish poet, Antonio Machado:
“Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvelous error!–
that I had a beehive
here inside my heart.
And the golden bees
were making white combs
and sweet honey
from my old failures.”
So it is not that Week 7’s despondence crescendoes today.It’s that Week 8’s optimism begins. One of the life lessons I was determined to come from this Xtreme Dream Cuba Swim is to not waste any of my limited, treasured time on either regrets of the past or meaningless what if’s of the future.
Today my close friends, and one artist “stranger”, have helped me rekindle the strength that comes with doing what’s absolutely right for body, mind and soul in this moment, with absolute faith that the Dream on the horizon will come true.
DO THIS NOW …
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