Friday, January 21, 2011

Gearing up for Progress... or Failure

It's funny how someone sends you the right thing at the right time, so often. I bit off more than I can possibly chew this week, without a doubt. Still struggling with C. diff, and still not able to spend a lot of time on the computer, etc, I agreed to a leadership position with the Scleroderma Foundation, Greater San Diego Chapter. I am trying to arrange our Education Day on June 18 (please come!!!) and have great aspirations and dreams of success. These were somewhat dampened at my visit with Dr. Furst this week when he cautioned me that starting a new event like this is going to take time. Expect 30 people or so, he said, and I cringed inside. All this work for 30 people? Wouldn't that feel like failure?

And then my wonderful friend, Sarah, sent out a little link on Facebook to a story about a man who started a nonprofit in Rhode Island meant to foster creativity. An audience member at a recent talk asked him what the best way is to go about that. And he answered:

So much of our existence is mediated. We're getting billions of messages every day telling us what we should wear, what we should eat, what we should drive, how we should look, who we should date, you know, whatever, and you come to AS220 and someone starts playing a guitar solo, and they fail.
And they start again.
That's human.
We could all identify with that.
It's amazing.
And it's empowering to us to have that experience and make that connection. As opposed to being fed perfection. Something we cannot identify with. That's humbling - not humbling, it's, it's, it's, demoralizing -- you know? Because we can never live up to those expectations. So we keep buying more, to try to achieve these expectations that are false.
So I think [the answer is] creating environments where people feel safe to fail, and other people have the opportunity to experience that.

So, it's given me pause, these messages that I have been gently getting this week. I can't always expect perfection and will try to be satisfied with progress, slow and steady. And I will try to see my many failures in this new light.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The (Kick)Boxer

In the clearing stands a boxer
And a fighter by his trade
And he carries a reminder
Of every glove that laid him down
Or cut him 'till he cried out
In his anger and his shame
"I am leaving, I am leaving"
But the fighter still remains

-Paul Simon

As 2011 begins, I am reminded of the importance of the fight. I know that everyone has causes near and dear to their hearts, so this isn't just about scleroderma. But, today I found myself thinking about my friends who have lost their fight against this disease, and I just wanted to acknowledge their fight and their impact, in the hope that the blows they threw will collectively result in a knockout in the not too distant future.

My new year's goal is to become a better fighter. I am going to become more active with the Scleroderma Foundation now that the bulk of my treatment is behind me. I have Bonnie as my muse. :) Today is her birthday, so she's on my mind, too.

Unfortunately, my main fight will be delayed by the warm up act: a (hopefully) brief third round against C. Diff. I knew this was coming, so it's no surprise, and quick action from my doctor has hopefully staved off the worst of it this time.

And my fight will enjoy many interruptions of the best kind, if 2011 goes my way. We head to the desert to watch the boys play tennis again this weekend, and hope to hit plenty of horse shows in the year ahead, too! But, I am looking forward to focusing much of my attention and time on the fight... that is after I find my brain and my ambition, both of which seemed to have taken a much needed (?) hiatus in 2010. For the record, it was my brain that made me type "much needed" in the prior sentence. When it acts, it acts on its own these days.