by Gail Allen
Many people who know me at all know that I don't watch TV. Like...at all. Not on my own, anyway. If you talk to me about your favorite show, I'll be happy to listen, but I have nothing to add because I have no idea what you're talking about unless your favorite show also happens to be I love Lucy! Kardashians? I’ll only have a vague idea who you're talking about. This is us? I know there must be something about a crock pot and some guy named Jack from a passionate conversation by some strangers that I happened to overhear in a store one time. But every 2 years (this year 3), I dust off the screen, find the remote, and become glued to the recliner. I am a self-proclaimed, Olympics nerd!
I love the Olympics! Why? I'm not sure. I just always have - for as long as I can remember! I chose to do a project on the Olympic rings in the 1st grade! There's just something about it that feeds me so much hope. For 3 weeks, every 2 years, the whole world comes together with a common goal - it almost feels like everything else is on hold.
There's always so many stories that inspire me. The last Olympics seems like a long time ago, so this year has been even more special for it. It's not unusual to hear stories about the athletes overcoming near death accidents and tragic injuries to take their spot on the team. I'm always a sucker for an underdog story. The ones who have dedicated their whole youth in pursuit of an Olympic-sized dream - no social life, junk food, extra sleep, and most times, even put their education on hold. Most athletes know that the likelihood of them making the team is slim, but they’re willing to put it all on the line, just to spend their days practicing! Seeing the parents watching their child atop the podium with the medal around their neck, listening to the National Anthem gets me every time! Knowing how much time, energy, and money they’ve invested in this moment - often believing in their child more than they believed in themselves. The team behind the athletes of coaches, trainers, therapists, and experts that have also lived for this moment. “Why??” we might ask ourselves. Why would anyone be willing to do that?? And the truth is most of us wouldn't be willing to do any of that. “It's just too big of a sacrifice,” we say. But then...most of us aren't going to the Olympics, either.
There is much to be gained through sacrifice. One of my favorite pastors in the past always remarked that we can't have an Easter Sunday without a Good Friday. Even if you're not at all religious or Christian, I think the metaphor still stands.
What sacrifices are you willing to make to reach your goals?
Are you willing to move out of your comfort zone to reach an uncertain future that's better than your now?
If you are, but you feel like you need some support, let's chat. Sometimes we need someone to guide us and help us get on the right track. We can work together for as many sessions as you would like... to find holding patterns in your thinking or behaviors. Already feel like you're in the darkest hour before dawn? Let's figure out how to get you back into the light. We're all on your team at Audacious Wellness Academy ... me, Danielle and Kristen all want to see you on top of the winners’ podium! What do you want your future to look like? Let's make it a reality!
How do you know when the world is changing? Many adults answer that question with doom and gloom and a “when I was your age” story of either harrowing difficulties or how much more moral society was. And perhaps there is some merit in all of that, but this year, I have some hope, due to the Olympics.
When I was in high school, I remember when the world cheered when Kerri Strug vaulted on an injured ankle for the US gymnastics team to win a gold medal. I was staying at my godparents’ house that Summer and I remember my godfather yelling for us to come watch because he had read about it on the (relatively new) internet news! I remember the conversation because I was absolutely horrified. This girl was only a few years older than me and my godmother (who was a nurse) and I discussed how she would never recover from that injury.
It led to a conversation about the pressure that society places on young women to achieve at all costs, often for the benefit of others. And indeed in this case, Kerri retired that year, at age 18, and her coaches and trainers went on with fame and accolades for producing gold medals. Some years before I was born, another young gymnast had a cast removed by her coach, against medical advice, and ended up paralyzed as a quadriplegic. I remember in third grade, an ice skater had a point reduction because her bra strap was showing through her routine.
This year, however, the world has watched as a young woman has stood up for her mental and physical health, determining that they were more important than another gold medal. Simone Biles has faced brutal scrutiny for doing so. Additionally, other countries’ women’s teams have chosen to take penalties to wear uniforms that they are comfortable in, instead of what is considered “feminine” and traditional.
This is how I know the world is changing. That the world I hope to see more of for our granddaughters' granddaughters is possible. So I will continue guiding women to heal their traumas. I will continue encouraging everyone to make their mental health a priority. I will keep talking about the importance of holistic wellness and being balanced in all aspects of life, instead of just the absence of symptoms. I’ll keep promoting finding peace within, so that we can wish for peace on earth, more than just at Christmas time. So the question is … what are you doing to create the change you want to see in the world?? It’s an Olympic-Sized Dream for all of us!
Gail Allen and Danielle Schwartz are both 500-RYT yoga professionals trained in Hatha and Kundalini Yoga. They specialize in Holistic, Trauma-Informed Counseling, Chakra Healing, Curvy Yoga, Reiki | Energy Healing, Ayurvedic Science, and other modalities of healing.