Lately, I feel like I have been challenged in many ways: physically, emotionally, professionaly, and on and on. I have been on my own journey of taking on something that really seems impossible, and tackling it.
I am not sure how clearly I am expressing myself, but I have found it fascinating to watch people be challenged by ideas. Here are a few examples:
Other Person: "Kacie, what are you up to lately?"
Kacie: "I am training for Race Across America on a two person team. We are trying to break the female record."
Other Person: "You know you're crazy, right"
Kacie: "Ummmm....I like to think of it more as ambitious, or dedicated, or even highly focused more than crazy."
Other Person: "No really, you ARE crazy."
Kacie: "Ok, fine. I'm crazy."
Other Person: "I mean, I do <fill in the blank with Ironman, marathons, 5ks, etc, etc>, and people say I'm crazy, you are REALLY crazy."
Why is it that because I want to do something that challenges people's ideas of "health,"excersise," "goals," "ambition," "use of time," it is uncomfortable for them? There was a point when that really bothered me. Now I feel a little bit of sadness for them. They are the ones missing out! Being uncomfortable with the possibilties of the human mind, body, soul is SO exciting. The fact that people can go stronger, faster, longer than me is awesome! I mean really! People are so cool, and I am just lucky to be on my own journey of discovery! I love hearing about other peoples, and certainly don't feel the need to knock them down for it!
There are always lots of people I know trying out TONS of different ways of eating. How cool is that? They are all realizing that their bodies are experimenting with it. I have been a "sometimes fish eating vegetarian" in many different forms for a long time. I adore reading, listening, experimenting, discussing different ways of eating. Some people get really fired up about their way of eating and have hard core bandwagons. This drives me nuts (and that even includes people who eat like I do!), and I wasn't sure why it bothered me. Maybe it's an insecurity with being wrong, or a need to get other people on board their bandwagon. We are all on this human experiment together right now! Let's SHARE our journey, challenge each other, and become healthier people for it--how awesome is it that we are all thoughtful about our time here on earth!
Recently, my friend Jill posted a blog about her nutrition journey that I really admired. You can find it here. In it, she talks about how food has been a part of her life in her job, pregnancy, sports, family, allergies, fueling, and on and on. It is such an honest, emotional, intellectual, and thoughtful. I was really impressed, and I want to model my own mindset around this type of thinking.
In my life I am not only an athlete, I am also a teacher at an amazing school. I am married to an education proffessor. We both consider ourselves to be progressive educators. Seeing as George is the professor, he could define it better, but I see it as child centered, problem solving, and democratic. Much of this philosophy is founded in the writing of John Dewey. Here are a few gems from him:
"Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself."
"The self is not something ready-made, but something in continuous formation through choice of action."
"Without some goals and some efforts to reach it, no man can live."
If you know either of us, you could see how he speaks to us and our way of thinking. Now, unfortunately, he is no longer alive, but there is a lively literature of progressive education out there today! One of these authors, Alfie Kohn came to my school yesterday. He spoke first to the faculty, and then to the entire community. It was thoughtful, provoking, and downright challenging to me. That was exciting! The kind of exciting the seeps into my dreams, and my thoughts. There are people (parents, teachers, students, and on and on) in my world who feel far too comfortable being good. Being safe. Not rocking the boat. There are people who are intimidated by being challenged! These ideas are "crazy." And by putting them in a box, they can dismiss these exciting and liberating ideas. They are "too hard" or "utopian" or "if only we had the time." Fascinating how I have heard the same excuses for stasis in my sports and in my profession.
I feel like you learn a lot about people when you see their beliefs being challenged. Think about it. How do you react if you are presented with ideas that don't feel like what you what you already know?!
I like that challenge. Don't get me wrong. It's uncomfortable. It's scary to jump into something you don't know if you CAN do--whether it be RAAM or to stop giving tests and homework. But why not try?!? Why not see if your life is better, you are a better teacher, or you feel more fullfilled? Why not reach towards the utopia?! Why not try?
I believe that I am a great athlete. I believe that I eat well and take my nutrition seriously. I believe that I am a strong progressive educator. But I am also not inherently scared of changing, getting better, reaching to larger goals, growing, or re-evaluating what it is I do and why I do it.
I challenge you to let go of those fears. Be thoughtful. Get uncomfortable. Be optimistic in a deep sense by believing that the world can change, that people can change, and that the best is yet to come--and then get busy making it happen!