Sunday, December 20, 2009

dreaming big

This has absolutely nothing to do with photography but everything to do with using your WILL to create the reality you want. The background is that I’ve lived with a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis for 21 years. Before that time I was an athlete who ran marathons, did long-distance biking and had been an excellent swimmer all my life. After my diagnosis I gave up all forms of exercise. In some ways, I just plain gave up period.

In 2000 I had just begun to use a motorized scooter to get around but decided it was time to reclaim my body’s ability to swim. My first time in the pool I was shocked to find I couldn’t swim a stroke. All that summer I took water aerobics classes and gradually regained some strength and confidence in the water. By September I was swimming two lengths of the pool…and very happy to do so, I might add. That winter I signed up for indoor swimming at our local middle school.

To cut to the chase, I’ve been a faithful swimmer winter and summer since that time. Bit by bit I increased my distance from 2 to 6 to 10, until I was up to 36 lengths, one-half mile. To be honest I thought that was the best I could do, so I stayed there. Until two weeks ago. That was when I was given a book to read – Zoe Koplowitz, “The Winning Spirit.” By the time I had finished this autobiography by a woman who walks with arm-brace canes because of MS but has now completed 22 NYC Marathons – each taking between 28-36 hours – I realized I’d let my mind limit what my body could do.

So two weeks ago I started upping my lap swims with the goal of swimming 72 lengths or one mile. First I got up to 42 lengths, then to 48. Well, today I am unabashedly proud to say that I swam 74 lengths, just a bit over my one mile goal. And you know what? My body feels fine. Great, in fact. You know, that sweet body tiredness you get after a good workout.

I’m sharing this to say YOU CAN DO IT TOO!!! Never say never. Don’t sell yourself short. Don’t let your mind limit your dreams. I think that those of us who know him would agree that Magnum photographer/Burn Magazine editor David Alan Harvey has lived his life this way, and certainly has created Burn Magazine with this kind of unbridled belief in the impossible. And is in the process of creating a new online showcase for child photographers on CIRCUS in exactly the same way.

So my holiday/New Year’s wish for each of us is that we dream BIG. Whatever that might mean to us. Just believe in yourself and make it happen. Think of Zoe and ask yourself if you’re dreaming BIG enough!

hugs to all