Are you bombarded with promotions for webinars telling you how to deal with these crazy times? Yeah, me too. I could use some inspiration, so today, I’m taking a different approach with the Compassionate Geek blog and podcast. I’m offering uplifting stories about people, both ordinary and extraordinary, and their resilience in the face of extraordinary challenges.

It’s 1952, in the cold, unforgiving waters between Los Angeles and Santa Catalina Island. Florence Chadwick, a 33-year-old American swimmer, is attempting to swim the 26-miles to the island. A thick shroud of fog lays on the waters, blinding Florence. After swimming for 15 hours, she tells her mother in one of the boats, she doesn’t think she can make it. After another hour, unable to see the coastline for the soupy fog, she’s pulled from the waves. From the boat, she is now able to see that she’d given up just a mile from shore. Two months later, she tried again, this time successfully, in spite of another cloak of fog. She explained that, on her second attempt, she kept a mental image of the shoreline in her mind to help focus on the goal.

There are at least two possible conclusions. One is a bit theological, and suggests if she had kept faith in the presence of the shore, she would have persisted and achieved her goal on her first attempt. The other is a more yogic perspective, she listened to her body and responded accordingly. Perhaps, if she had continued, she might have developed cramps or some other difficulty. Of course, there’s no way of knowing.

There’s a third conclusion. As we navigate unfamiliar territory, as we try to make sense of our bizarre world full of lurking pathogens. We keep the faith that there’s a shoreline ahead, a destination we can reach. We also listen to our senses and the environment and respond accordingly. You know you’re resilient and resourceful. You know there is a destination. You’re just not sure where it is, nor what it looks like. If you keep going, eventually you’ll get there, but you might need to make course corrections or multiple attempts. 

There is a destination ahead. We may not know what it is, nor what it looks like, but it’s there. Keep the faith, however you define it. Be flexible. Make thoughtful decisions. Be kind to yourself, and everyone around you. Accept that some things are out of your control. Deal with what is within your control and let go of what’s outside. Meditate. Pray. Walk. Do what you must to find peace. There is a destination. You’ll get there eventually. I believe in your adaptability and your ingenuity. I believe in you.

Need more inspiration? Check out Starcia Ague’s story here.

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