Always Look Up – Smell The Roses – Appreciate Life
Things have been incredibly busy these past weeks. I have just completed the manuscript for my new book, Getting it Right – Defeating Perfectionism in Sports. I have been traveling giving talks and meeting with athletes all over the country. My work here in the bay area never ceases to slow down. Each and every day I am happier and happier because I blessed to be able to do the work that I do.
Athletes come to my web site, call me, and send emails looking for help with their performance in sports, and in life. Every athlete wants to be better at what they do. It seems as thought every athlete wants to impress others, be seen by others, and be rewarded in some way for what they do. Most often these athletes are disconnected with all the things they have accomplished and all the success they have had. It seems as though the thought pattern is more on what is around the corner rather than appreciating and “Smelling The Roses” of their successes. After all it is the past success, and the joy of the experiences that have come before that so often goes unrecognized, because it is so often what is “next” that takes precedence.
I am blessed to live in San Francisco; in my opinion one of the most beautiful if not THE most beautiful city in the United States. Whenever I am out for a walk, which is often, I am forever looking up. This practice often times gets me in trouble for I am regularly walking into something, someone, or tripping over my own feet. There is so much beauty in the character, and architecture of this city I am forever seeing something new, different, and inspiring. One day my wife so eloquently reminded me to watch where I was walking and to pay attention to what was in front of me. There is so much beauty to see when I look up I forget to look down. Every one looks down – I want to look up. I want to see the beauty in things that others miss.
Just this past weekend I was traveling back from Raleigh NC where my wife and I had been visiting friends. I had been deeply engrossed in reading a book by a friend Mike Robbins, Focus on the Good Stuff The Power of Appreciation. I highly recommend this book. The message it delivers is inspiring, enlightening, and very powerful. I recommend this book to everyone – young and old. As I take a slight break from reading, I and am drawn to the passengers sitting beside me. After introducing my self I learn that Crystal (mom) is traveling with Christopher – age 7, Michael – age 12, and their grandmother. I also happen to observe there are wearing Make A Wish Foundation baseball caps. Intrigued by this observation I begin a process of getting to know the mother and the the two boys. The family is traveling to Hawaii to accomplish Michael’s wish to see Pearl Harbor. I come to find out that both boys, since birth, have been challenged with a rare genetic disease called OXPHOS. For more on this disease please go to UMDF.org This disease attacks the mitochondria or outer lining of the cells in our body. The DNA in their bodies is missing a series of key enzymes that enable them to fight disease, digest food and a host of other things. Over time the disease limits their ability to fight off bacteria and in time their organs, (kidneys, liver, intestine, stomach) slowly cease to function. Christopher has been on an organ donor wait list for stomach, intestine, liver, and kidney for many months. He carries with him a small bag which includes two IV pumps, a bag of nutrients (food) and a bag of fat lipids. The lack of cellular enzymes in Christophers body keeps him from being able to digest food. He is attached to this carrying pouch 24 hours a day. This is his lifeline. Each and every day they live on the edge of life and death and have come to accept the reality of living day-day.
After we landed in San Francisco and waked into the terminal I asked my wife if we could sit down for a few minutes before going on to baggage claim. Concerned, she asked me if everything was ok. In response, I started to cry. I was overtaken by this families misfortune, and unfortunate circumstances. At that moment I looked up at my wife, gave her a big hug, and told her how much I loved her, appreciated her, and expressed how lucky I was that she is a part of my life. As we walked to baggage claim I remembered something Crystal had said to me. She said, the boys have been living with this disease all their lives. They don’t know any different. They struggle every day, but they never complain. They know what they are up against, and know life is a day to day thing, but they never focus on what they don’t have. They try and live life as normally as possible in spite of their limitations. They live for the moment, they live for today because that is their reality.
In closing, I would like to say to everyone reading this blog entry – Look up each and every day and take notice of the things you pay little or no attention to. Smell the roses, count your blessings, and appreciate the little things in life. Life is fragile – do not take it for granted. Be grateful for what you have! Focus on the Good Stuff. Appreciate life!