In 4 days I will be participating in Crossing for a Cure. Crossing for a Cure is an 80 mile open ocean endurance paddle challenge that I will take from Bimini, Bahamas across the Gulf Stream to Lake Worth, Florida. The funds that the “Crossing Crusaders” raise will benefit Piper’s Angels, a non profit organization dedicated to helping those with Cystic Fibrosis. The excitement that training for this event has inspired in me is something I have never before experienced. It has caused me to really dig deep into self inquiry. This process has brought up 3 questions that I ask myself and I also encourage you to try to answer as well.
- Do you have a hero?
Every great journey can be aided by the story of a hero. One of my hero’s in my life is a man named Tim Miller. Tim is my yoga teacher and I have had the great privilege of studying and practicing with him in Encinitas, CA. I have also have the pleasure of hosting him to teach at our yoga studio here in Juno Beach. Tim is a hero to me because he has helped me to truly understand that I can believe in myself. One way that he taught this was through his expression of love for Hanuman, the Hero of the ancient story in India called the Ramayana. The Ramayana is a beautiful (and long) story that I will attempt to summarize here in brief. Hanuman is the mythological hero who is faced with a tremendous challenge. He has forgotten that he can achieve anything that he puts his mind to accomplish. When he is reminded of his “super power” he does indeed achieve the impossible and he takes a giant leap from the continent of India to the island of Lanka. Hanuman does this in service of his hero, the great king Rama, which ultimately reunites Rama with his beloved wife Sita. I can’t help but see the parallel of this mythological story in relation to the Crossing for a Cure. Each paddler is the hero, a representation of Hanuman. Sita can be seen as the quality love and compassion through the offering of service and support. Rama can represent another aspect of the true hero, the Cystic Fibrosis Warriors.
2. How does the Hero’s Journey relate to you?
The Hero’s Journey is a common theme that occurs throughout world mythologies. The Hero goes on a journey and then through a decisive crisis wins a victory and comes home transformed or changed. The hero’s journey also represents the journey from the unknown to the known. In the story of the Ramayana, Hanuman takes the heroic leap to Lanka. This is a feat that none of the other characters in the story are able to achieve. Hanuman becomes the hero because he is willing to try to do what no one else can. Through his achievement a bridge is built through hard work and effort that allows for the whole team of heroes to cross from India to Lanka as the story continues to unfold. Again, I can’t help but see the similarities between this story and the Crossing. A few brave souls decided to take the journey from Bimini to Florida on their paddle boards with the dream of doing something amazing to bring awareness and assistance to the Cystic Fibrosis community. Now after that initial journey and a lot of hard work on the behalf of all the volunteers over 200 paddlers are going to take part in the Crossing next week. The fund raising goal of $500,000 has already been met and a whole sea of heroes are taking part in this journey. The main idea here is that everyone has the hero potential within. The key to finding it is being willing to dare to dream big, prepare with all your heart and soul, and then be willing to try.
3. Have you ever done something that you didn’t think you could do?
To be very honest I am excited and also nervous about this journey. I have a fully loaded, safety conscious support boat ready to pick me up out of the water at a moments notice. So I am not concerned with my safety. What am I nervous about then? I have an incredible team of paddlers joining me on the adventure who are supportive and also challenging themselves to the same level. Why then are my palms sweating as I am writing this? The task of being physically challenged for at least 14 hours and maybe longer freaks me out a bit. Some of the aches and pains that I currently have make me nervous to think what it is going to be like in the heat of the moment. When my body is screaming out in discomfort after an 8 hour paddle how am I going to possibly double the amount of time of enduring discomfort? Who’s idea was this in the first place and why am I doing this to myself? These are all the questions that come up when trying to do something that seems beyond what I am potentially capable of.
Throughout the training process I heard a previous ‘Crosser’ offer this advice. “Prepare the best that you can but don’t overthink it.” I remember several months ago reading that and I am reminded that now is the time to put those words to practice. I am going on this adventure. I have prepared to the best of my ability. I have a flotilla of hero’s surrounding me, encouraging me and we are working together for a common cause. In one week away these ideas are going put to a practical test. Perhaps instead of the old adage “when the rubber hits the road,” a new adage will be created, “when the paddle strokes the sea.”
Show your support today by donating to my fund raising page here.
Buy a copy of the Ramayana to read here.
Learn more about the Hero’s Journey by reading, Joseph Campbell’s, The Power of Myth here.
Visit Native Yoga Center here.