This is both fascinating and beautiful.
This is both fascinating and beautiful.
I went to college in Boston; I did my internship in Boston and I lived there in between. I’ve watched the finish line of the marathon at the place where the bombs exploded. This event has riveted the attention of Americans and the rest of the world as evidenced by the amount of news coverage.
I was listening to the BBC yesterday morning and was struck by the juxtaposition of the Boston story with the report of an earthquake in Iran where forty people were killed. This event did not receive special news coverage. I wonder why? There are several reasons for this.
1). That news involves others (and reviled others at that)
2). An earthquake as an “act of god” fits into a different category. It is an unfortunate event but we expect that they will occur. Earthquakes are not preventable.
3). The bombing is an act of terror and is therefore preventable. It “shouldn’t happen.”
We are not just reacting to the loss of limb and life, we are reacting to the perceived injustice of the event. The violation of of it. If the earth reaches up and harms us it is one thing; if a human-made bomb does the same thing, it is another.
It reminds me of the teaching story of the rowboat. Imagine you are relaxing in a rowboat on a lake. An empty, adrift rowboat collides into your boat disturbing your repose. Now imagine the boat is not empty but has someone in it. Our emotions are likely to be different. Surprise in the first scenario, indignation in the second.
The marathon bombing provokes indignation. This shouldn’t happen and yet it did.
The new Boston massacre deserves all the special news coverage that it is receiving. As I commented on Newtown shooting, there are tragedies everyday somewhere in the world. Many of these don’t get a voice or not a prolonged strong voice.
This event helps to wake us up out of apathy and a false sense of safety. It mobilizes heroic action and compassion. Can we be awake to our lives without such tragedies?
His career fits the Hero’s Journey. I wrote about the Hero’s Journey in my post about the film, Finding Joe. Like the heroes discussed in that film, Scott has gone through adversity in his career. He has undergone separation, the call to adventure, and yesterday he returned home.
He has one of the purest swings in the sport. After a very promising start, his career faltered. At 32-years-old, however, he has been recently in contention again. He was four strokes ahead with four holes to go in last summer’s Open Championship only to falter and lose. Before and after this heartbreaking victory, he has come close to winning a major championship.
Yesterday, he was tied for the lead going into the last hole. He looked over a 25 foot putt for birdie. He made the putt and celebrated for Australia. A 25-footer is no gimme. It was a magnificent effort. He had been tied with Angel Cabrerra who was standing on the 18th fairway as Scott made his putt. Cabrerra would now need to birdie to force a playoff. He hit his approach shot to three feet. An amazing shot under pressure. Now there would be a playoff.
As the sun was setting, the sensational competition continued in the playoff. Cabrerra came within a hair’s width of sinking a birdie chip on the first playoff hole and nearly putted in for his 15 foot birdie on the next. Scott had a chance to claim the championship with a 12 foot putt. He made it.
To play golf at this level and to retain your competitive edge–to embrace and enjoy competition–while others falter under the pressure, is the mark of a mindful champion. Scott was able to do this, to keep his focus in the present and not on the hero’s welcome that awaited him or the painful disappointment from Royal Lytham.
Scott is a well-spoken, humble champion. He did not thank Jesus for his victory as did Bubba Watson last year and Webb Simpson when he won the U.S. Open. Whatever his personal beliefs, he did not impose them upon the worldwide viewing audience. I find the common practice of athletes invoking Jesus a particularly disagreeable practice, one that has no place in sport.
Scott’s post-round interview was impressive and informative. None of the surliness or excessive technicality of a Tiger Wood’s interview. His was refreshing. Watch an excerpt here.
The trails are wet and muddy from the thaw and the rains. As I have written before, the mud “wounds” of the trail are an apt metaphor for how we approach difficulty in our lives. Our tendency may be to avoid these difficulties, to skirt around their edges, but this only prolongs them. The way beyond is through, feet wet, toes oozing with mud.
The other morning, I awoke with terrific ankle pain. Sharp, aching, and deep. It felt like a fracture. Yet I knew it was probably soft tissue. I hobbled for a while and then I fumbled around on my calf and found some juicy trigger points and massaged them to release the pressure. The pain relented and I went for a long run with dogs (no helicopters this morning).
The first few minutes of running are good reminders of impermanence. Often, it feels like I am dying. A sense of dread fills my body as lactic acid and whatever other physiological processes are occurring. I know it feels bad AND only lasts a few moments. It is the death before release into the pleasure of running. It is the gateway that must be negotiated. If I was to focused on how awful it felt, I’d never get to the good parts.
Impermanence is all around when we are paying attention. These lessons are easy to ignore or make into something aversive. Wherever you are and whether you have mud season you can find these lessons. Move toward them and enjoy the wetness between your toes. It may make a mess but it lets you know you are alive!
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