Do you what my favorite day of the year is? No it's not my birthday, Thanksgiving, my husband or my kids birthdays or even Christmas and trust me I LOVE those days! It's the 3rd Sunday in August when I get to go jump in Lake Washington to be a Swim Angel for the Danskin Triathlon in Seattle. No I do not get paid for this privilege I volunteer for it. To me it's about being of service pure and simple. Oh and I get to meet extraordinary women AND splash around in the lake for a few hours. I mean what could be better?
After completing the Danskin numerous times I decided it was time to let other women experience the joy of self discovery that completing a triathlon brings. In the time that I've been volunteering as a Swim Angel I've learned some powerful life lessons that I can apply in all areas of my life. One that stands out is the conversation that can happen in our head about how incapable we are. What a LIE that one is!
Every year I see this message play out in women's heads first hand. They are able to swim into the lake and even get half way through the swim before the 'realize' that they can't swim, they can't complete the swim course. They really CAN swim and ARE capable of finishing the course but somehow that negative voice (that we all have!) starts to take control and overrides the fact that they are capable.
The most dramatic example of this happened this year. A woman was over 2/3rds of the way done with the swim and swam over to a kayak and asked to be taken to shore. Not only was she in sight of the swim finish but only the week before she had placed in the top 3 in her age group in another triathlon! Think about this - she had crushed the swim the week before, was literally only 200 yards from completing the swim and was giving up. Well NOT on MY watch she wasn't giving up!
She did complete the swim course on her own (mostly) but the whole time the story that she had running through her head was that there was something 'wrong' with her, that she 'should' be able to do the swim and the most tragic was that she 'couldn't' finish on her own. It took every trick I had to keep her moving forward. She did finish the swim, we walked arm in arm out of the water together and even then she would not accept that she had overcome the dark shadow of doubt that had so paralyzed her during the swim.
How often in our own lives can we see the finish of our goal and just give up? We give in to those nasty, negative voices that tell is that we can't, that there's something wrong with us, that we somehow don't deserve the good that will come from completing our goal? When we reach out to each other for strength, when we ALLOW others to support us in our moments of weakness, when we stand together we can literally CHANGE THE WORLD.
Another woman I swim with offers a different lesson but one that ties in directly to our ability to change the world. She was so very grateful that I was swimming with her because she was scared but the whole time she kept telling me that I should swim with someone who needed me more. WOW think about this for a second. She was so scared and was comforted and benefited from my support, she was grateful for my support but was worried that she was taking me away from someone who needed me more. What if we were able to accept the support we need when we need it without feeling that we don't deserve it? That somehow someone else is more deserving or worthy?
We are ALL Worthy. We are ALL Deserving. We are ALL Capable and Strong and AMAZING!!!! When we allow others to support us and accept that support with a loving, open, recieving heart then we will be able to quiet those nasty voices in our heads once and for all. In the mighty words of Helen Reddy "I am woman hear me ROAR!" We all need Angels sometimes and we all get to be Angels for each other and that's what makes the world Magical.
Here's to You in Health, Wellness and Fitness,
Jennifer Malocha CEO of Fun at Wuhoo Fitness
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