Thanks for connecting…
So we’re all connected – you found this blog because we’re all connected in the universal flow of life – because you’re a Facebook friend or a friend of a friend, or a friend of a friend (you get my drift). Maybe you just happened upon this blog in the universe of cyberspace – what’s the chance of that! Anyway, I’m glad you’re here. And now that you are, I hope that you’ll like it here (and I hope you’ll LIKE THIS BLOG ON FACEBOOK – PLEASE!). Like most of humanity, I don’t mind being liked, and I love being connected.
Like much of humanity, I’ve been marvelling at that ultimate event that connects us – the Olympics. OK, so I know it doesn’t REALLY reach millions in the developing world, yet there’s all that largesse of sponsors and the Olympic ‘family’. Sometimes the spirit of competition doesn’t REALLY live up to ideals. But still. It’s an amazing spectacle, full of inspiration, triumph, tears, that spine-tingling feeling when they play your national anthem, and for us Aussies, the sheer relief when we overtook New Zealand in the medal tally. And then there are those strange one-eyed mascots Wenlock (Olympics) and Mandeville (Paralympics) – keeping a close eye (actually a camera lens) on each other. Together they represent ability (often against the odds) and ability (often against very big odds). After an amazing Olympics, I’m looking forward to an inspirational Paralympics.
Unity in difference
During the two weeks of the Olympics we feel connected (and inspired, humbled, proud) – black and white, short and tall, large and small, we come together as one world, as one. We are still different, yet we are united in sport, and in something more, something spiritual, something special.
The official Olympics website lists the athletes celebrating birthdays each day of the games. On the (lucky) 8-8-12 there were 37 athletes celebrating – from a 21 year old female sailor from Singapore, to a 46 year old male Equestrian competitor from Russia. At 157cm, a female steeplechaser from Kenya was the shortest, at 205cm, a male swimmer from Italy the tallest. Several of the athletes, from Aruba to Urkraine, competing in sports from athletics to wrestling, share the same birth date.
The yinyang symbol represents difference within unity. It symbolises balance within the whole, so that nothing is ever really black or white, and things don’t have to be the same or ‘equal’ – we can simply try our best to find a contented kind of equilibrium in this great big circle of life. A gold medal – if we are very, very lucky (and very, very talented and hardworking). A personal best performance – if we really try.
Balance in movement
Another one of the ‘amazing’ stories of the Olympics was Gabby Douglas. At sweet sixteen, she became the first ever African American to become an All Round Champion gymnast. And what about the amazing balance all the gymnasts show, especially on the beam. Perhaps even more incredible are the divers who actually handstand atop a ten metre platform, poised in perfect balance before launching into their double pike twist. At sweet sixteen, a schoolgirl from my hometown Brittany Broben, the youngest member of the Australian team, shone bright with a silver medal, after a stunning display of diving and spectacular balance.
Balance through change
And don’t things change in an instant in the ultimate sporting arena – one moment you’re in front, the next one, one hundredth of a second you’ve just missed a gold medal (but do have a sparkling silver). Or one split second you’re behind, and the next one, one hundredth of a second you emerge victorious. Life is large in such singular moments, at the edge of extreme, at the very nanosecond when things alter, because change is the only constant. We get to celebrate life in such superlative moments, be really grateful for it, with a gold medal, or a silver, or bronze, with the honour of being an Olympian or simply having run or swum or just lived our own race and having tried, always, for a personal best. The yinyang symbol demonstrates this constant flow of energy, always changing, with our (only) choice to be content in the only moment we have, the present.
Contentment through gratitude
Much has been made in the media of stories of gold medals being lost, of athletes settling for silver, of great sporting performances somehow not up to par. All elite athletes strive to be the best – they wouldn’t make the Olympics without such drive and determination. Yet isn’t success also found in silver, joy in competing, contentment in getting the chance to see the spectacle live (as I did in Sydney), harmony in simply watching it all unfold on TV and realising (somewhat strangely) that you are connected with each and every one of the superhuman, supremely balanced, inspirational athletes who should be hugely proud to be Olympians.
Now cheers and bring on the Paralympics!
Kathy – PS Love to hear your thoughts on the Olympics – favourite inspirational moments etc. And please share with your friends.