I love that this ad includes athletics as poetry. Being a jock myself, I have often felt as though I’m being pulled in two different directions. Yet, some of my favorite sports: surfing, snowboarding, trail running feel as fluid as any writing I’ve ever composed. In fact, I often get inspiration when I’m out on a bike ride or a run.
Athletics require that present moment awareness, like art, and music. When you’re in the zone, you’re capable of far greater than you ever imagined. You almost don’t know who to attribute the credit.
Every ounce of tenacity that I’ve cultivated has been through athletics. I have proven to myself time and time again that when I think I can go no further, the truth is that I can indeed. Sometimes that push is painful; I used to wonder whether it was all worth it. Yet, the parallels to personal growth, dreams and entrepreneurship are uncanny–had I only known then.
I’ve been a competitor, chasing after my two big brothers, since I was three. A writer and poet only since high school. And I’ve always loved being outside and in nature, yet I didn’t get until college that that too is poetry.
I dabbled in music and theater. I love the stage. I dipped my toe into a lot in those days. Yet I didn’t have the discipline when it got difficult to stick around. I hadn’t the willpower to do much more than skim the surface. I suffered from the jack-of-all-trades-and-master-of-none syndrome.
Still, the athletics were a constant–some years more competitive than others–building that mental muscle all along. It’s as if I was in training for what was to come.
Finding your passion for those of us who struggle(d) with this question, is no walk in the park, certainly. It takes guts, it takes discipline, and perhaps even a little pain. It is a hero’s journey, after all.
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – anais nin
The first time I read this quote, I cried like a baby. It hit home, and it hit home deep. I had been on a lackadaisical turned serious pursuit of purpose. I had known since college that I had a verse or two in me (to borrow from Dead Poet’s Society), a full body knowing I couldn’t explain. But not knowing where to channel that energy is perhaps the most frustrating experience.
It was during that pursuit when I heard the joke about the guy asking God to win the lottery. He went to the church; he went to the temple; he went to the synagogue, and still no winning ticket. I’m butchering the joke, but in the end God says, “Why don’t you try buying a ticket?”
Ironically, I’d been doing the same thing. Walking around aimlessly waiting for my answers to just drop out of the sky. It never occurred to me to ask. That in itself takes guts that I’m not sure I had.
“How can I serve?” became my new mantra. Because what’s a verse if not for sharing. “How can I serve?”
“Tell your story,” was my answer. I took it literally, but now I’m beginning to see that it’s all story. Poetry, music, art, athletics; that’s why it can be so frightening.
Anything we do that’s fueled by passion is part of our story; it’s raw, it’s vulnerable, it’s why we’re so drawn to it. It’s also why it’s so worth it.
What will your verse be?
I leave you with this: If you’ve never asked or prayed for anything, well here’s your chance. If you’re a pro, but haven’t checked in in a while, you can do this too. Find a good quiet space. Get still. Ask: How can I serve? (Or any variation that feels more natural to you.) How can I serve?
#Onward in poetry