Tag Archives: victory

V- Victory…Quotes A to Z Challenge.

“Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious

triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to

rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor

suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that

knows not victory nor defeat.”

Theodore Roosevelt

Welcome back to my series of Motivational Quotes for Writers for the Blogging A-Z April Challenge. Today, we up to the letter V and that’s a V for Victory…a phrase which some might recall from WWII and I’m looking forward to experiencing victory when I finally get this book finished and published, even though that is still a way off.

Meanwhile, with the end of the A-Z Challenge only a few days away, I am experiencing a small victory of my own. As you might’ve observed, I’d fallen well behind. However, I’ve managed to catch back up and climb back onto the wagon. I’m giving myself a small pat on the back for that!

This quote leaped out at me today, after spending a good six hours at the local Dance Eisteddfod where our daughter was competing. While I was enjoying the dancing from the front row, I observed victory, defeat and an afternoon of brilliant dancing. Not one of those dancers was hopeless. Yet, they had also raised the bar by putting themselves out there among our local best.  Their own expectations of themselves were incredibly high and they’re at a level where they’re aiming beyond perfect. Their performance also needs to have mood, feeling and that magic X-factor. There’s so much to tackle, that it’s easy to question why you’re doing it. Why didn’t you just stay home?

Indeed, that’s something I’ve asked myself as I’ve put myself through many optional challenges. Why take the hard road when there’s a chance you’ll never make it or won’t be good enough at the end?

Personally, I think that’s part of being human. That we’re meant to keep extending and over-extending ourselves and rising to the challenge rather than living the easy life. That we need a bit of struggle or resistance. That the easy life might not be the good life after all.

“Learn from the past, set vivid, detailed goals for the

future, and live in the only moment of time over which

you have any control: now.”

Denis Waitley

While we’d all like to win, come first, and be victorious, we usually learn more from our failures. That’s something to keep this in mind whenever we face defeat and disappointment, and at least it might lesson its sting.

Lastly, I just wanted to add that sometimes the lesson of defeat is to give up. That we don’t always have what it takes, or we don’t want to put in the required effort to reach the top. This being the case, we can either continue on a less ambitious course, or try our luck elsewhere. It wasn’t meant to be. There’s no shame in that. We’re simply shifting course.

What are your thoughts about victory and defeat? Do you have a favourite quote you’d like to share? Or, perhaps a story about how a significant defeat ultimately helped you to succeed. I’d love to hear from you!

Best wishes,

Rowena

 

Sailing Up the Ranks.

Twenty years from now you will be more disppointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
– Mark Twain

If you’ve been following Beyond the Flow, you’re probably aware that our son sails and is a member of our local sailing club. Mr started out with the Sea Scouts, but my Dad sails and is very encouraging, along with my husband who’s out there in a support role every Saturday. I also love sailing when I get a chance.

To be perfectly honest, I didn’t look at our son and pick he was going to become a sailor. He’s always been a very active kid and not the type to sit still and I’m not the type to bother learning knots etc. However, he took to sailing like a duck to water. He really loves it and I’ve even seen him get frustrated when he’s stuck on land and there’s a great sailing wind.

“Life is not meant to be easy, my child but take courage: it can be delightful.”
―George Bernard Shaw

However, sailing became a lot more challenging when he went up the ranks and got his own boat, a Flying Eleven. Indeed, in those early months, there were times where sailing became quite soul destroying. His boat has capsized, been towed in and then there have been the vagueries of the weather. Like just about every junior sailor, he’s also come in and threatened to quit. Indeed, there was one very memorable Saturday, when my husband also threatened to quit. So, you can well imagine the size of that seismic burst! Trust me! I had to pull a rabbit out of my hat that afternoon.

However, as the season’s continued, there’s been progress. Firstly, he didn’t capsize. Then, he won a race. Recently, the juniors also went out and skippered a member’s boat with assistance, and the boat he was on came first. Again, while I’m cautious about getting over-excited, you have to applaud a first!

“I’m not afraid of storms, for I’m learning how to sail my ship.”

Louisa May Alcott

When it comes to my kids taking on sports or any activity, while it would be great to have them win, I am also looking for character-building stuff. That they grow and develop into considerate, compassionate human beings. At an Olympic level, we saw this at the Winter Olympics when Australian aerial Skier, David Morris, kept his cool despite the judges making a bad call. These sort of characteristics are important, as is helping to bring others up through the ranks. Encouraging them through the enormous frustrations you’ve worked through yourself. Then, they’ll not only learn the ropes, but also overcome the mental demons which threaten to sink their hopes before they even get started.

“The goal is not to sail the boat, but rather to help the boat sail herself.”
– John Rousmaniere

So, I was pretty stoked when I popped into the sailing club on Saturday and found out that Mr had been out helping another Junior. It was his first day out with his new boat and Mr had gone out with him instead. While Mr was a bit disappointed that I didn’t get to see him sailing his boat, I was very proud to see that the club had recognized his progress. That he had reached a point, where he could start passing on his experience, knowledge and his encouragement to someone else.  Personally, I think it’s very helpful to have someone with you who is just a few steps ahead. After all, they still remember the frustrations, the pitfalls and how to get around them. They keenly feel that sense of defeat turning itself round into progress and victory. Victory against yourself, and those demons of self-doubt in your own head. After all, they’re the biggest enemies most of us will ever have to face.

“I can’t control the wind but I can adjust the sail.”
― Ricky Skaggs

It’s these sort of struggles which build perseverance and resilience. Or, as my Dad used to say, “put hair on your chest”.  These are qualities not gained through repeated wins, but through repeated knock backs and defeat combined with the ability to get back on the horse and have another go. This a very different experience to bolting straight to the finish line. From always coming first and wearing the victory crown. It means being the loser many times over but never giving up. Indeed,  it could well involve training or working harder, smarter and pushing yourself beyond the brink, not even to take out the coveted gold, but at the same time you’ve achieved something intangible. Indeed, your gold medal’s on the inside.

Now, I am trying to picture our son reading this in 20 years time when he’s nudging 35 and wondering if he even remembers what it was like to start out. Whether he has forgotten all about the capsizing, muddy sails and paddling out of the mud and only remembers the thrill of the wind…the exhilaration of sailing. Even for me, it is something far beyond words and yet Rod Stewart captured it well:

 

Have you ever been sailing and have you caught the bug?

xx Rowena

 

 

 

 

 

Gold From The Couch.

Nothing like crawling out of bed after a Sunday sleep-in and winning a Gold Medal at the Rio Games. After all, when Mack Horton won Gold in the 400m freestyle for Australia, that includes me.

Mack Horton Gold

Aussie Mack Horton Savours Gold…another great shot from the couch.

Thanks, Mack!

I also have to thank Mack Horton for a great Sunday morning pep talk. After his win, he shared his self-talk during the race: “I am in control.I can do it.”

What a contrast to that panic-stricken: “Everything’s falling apart”. Feeling “out of control” and “I’ve lost it”.

That’s the difference between being a VICTOR, and becoming the VICTIM…success and giving up!

Great wisdom…as I scoff another Honey Joy from our daughter’s stash from last night’s party.

Are you watching the Olympics? Any highlights?

I must admit that I also just cheered when Hungarian Katinka Hosszu won Gold in Women’s 400m Individual Medley. This is her fourth Olympics and although a brilliant swimmer, she was yet to win an Olympic Gold:

“In London, I was so scared of what’s going to happen if I lose,” Hosszu said, according to The New York Times. “It was awful, really. I just felt like: ‘This is my time; I need to show it. It’s now or never.’ I put this pressure on myself.”

Hosszu was ranked World No. 1 coming into the Olympics, yet there are no guarantees. So, her success was a huge personal triumph and a reminder to anyone:”Never Give Up!”

Women's Relay Team

No time to rest or get a cup of tea, it’s grueling pace.

Another race and a huge yahoo from the couch, as the Australian Women’s 4 x 100 m Freestyle Relay Team take out Gold and the World Record.

The kids and I met Cate Campbell at a Muscular Dystrophy NSW event held just after the London Olympics. She is a truly inspirational person in real life, just as much as in the pool. Truly, someone to follow…even if it’s only with a cheer from the couch!

Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Oi! Oi! Oi!

Top of the medal tally…not that I’m showing off, but I had to play this: Queen: We Are The Champions.

Have you been watching the Olympics? Any highlights so far?

Cheers from the couch! I have more medals to win!

xx Rowena

Hurray! V for Victory!

Yes! The treatment is working and the good news is that my blood test results are right down in the remission zone…the best result I could have asked for. I’m absolutely stoked!

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

I am really feeling exhausted now. Very, very tired but I really wanted to share my good news with absolutely everyone who is traveling along this journey with me, beside me or especially going down the same or similar roads themselves. We are not alone and we all have to believe in miracles. Have faith. After the success of skiing down the mountain in Perisher last year only to run straight into pneumonia and a life threatening flare up of my auto-immune disease, I really doubted that I still had the strength or capacity to turn my mountain around again.

Skiing down the mountain at Perisher in August 2013.

Skiing down the mountain at Perisher in August 2013.

Well, to be perfectly honest, I didn’t. It took a team of highly specialised doctors, toxic drugs, fabulous nurses, support from family and friends, a highly entertaining and philosophical driver to and from my treatments provided by Carer’s Respite. A wonderful husband who is married to a mad writer with a chronic illness (I’m not sure which is worse but unfortunately being married to a writer or any other form of “creative” doesn’t entitle you to a Carer Payment or any other kind of practical support. My chronic illness does.) My parents and brother, particularly my Mum, have looked after the kids as well which has given me the capacity to rest and heal. They also let me stay in their soon to be home at Palm Beach in a most stunningly inspirational location. I’m sure this has really boosted the healing process. I’ve also been swimming in the pool to improve my lung capacity. This result has taken a lot.

Above all else, I believe it took God. I firmly believe that he is with me. I still don’t understand why he didn’t stop me from getting this disease in the first place. Yes, I do actually. The way I see it, everyone has their lot…their challenge. I don’t know whether this is designed to stretch us and help us to grow but that’s certainly been the end product of my experience. That said, I have also chosen growth over anger, stagnation and bitterness. Our lot isn’t easy either. It is very tough on our entire family, extended family and the ripples resonate out to friends and even strangers. When it flares up, it is pretty demanding and all-encompassing.

My situation isn’t what I’ve call a healing. I’ve gone into remission and this more a case of management, rather than cure. This chemo was round one. I will now have 4 fortnightly sessions until my specialist gets approval for my next treatment a drug called cellcept. I haven’t looked this up yet so goodness know what that’s going to do to me but as I’ve said before, I’ll do anything for love and the list of nasty toxic drugs I’ve taken is adding up.

Here is a quick photographic tour of my day. I had intended to take photos of me actually having chemo and lugged my huge SLR around the hospital. Took other photos and forgot the main one. Anyway, as it turned out, it wasn’t my last chemo treatment so further opportunity awaits.

Writing in my journal while waiting to see my rheumatologist. What are the results going to be?

Writing in my journal while waiting to see my rheumatologist. What are the results going to be?

Celebrating Victory with the healing paper cranes at the hospital.

Celebrating Victory with the healing paper cranes at the hospital.

I also wanted to share with you my immediate response when I found out my treatment had worked. When I was first diagnosed with this disease, I had called it “Dermie”. Dermatomyosistis was way too long and unpronounceable. Anyway, soon after my diagnosis I was sitting in the food court in the old hospital when I wrote what turned out to be a very cathartic story about it. In the story, I was being pursued by Dermie, a very possessive lover who was relentlessly stalking me. Anyway, the story ends with a comic twist when I introduce Dermie to the Internet dating site RSVP and he races off and meets someone else. I still remember how much I laughed when I wrote that twist. It felt so good and was so cathartic! I felt all this negative energy immediately pour out of my system. It was just fabulous!

Looney Tunes Metal Sign/Poster - Yosemite Sam

Anyway, today when I heard the good news, I pictured this little cartoon character with twin pistols both barrels pointed straight at Dermie . Bang! Bang! Not only did he shoot Dermie blowing him to smithereens,  he was also jumping up and down on the spot laughing. He was actually happy! Thrilled! This character was totally warped!

Now, as much as I wanted Dermie dead and out of my life for good, I’m not into violence and had no idea who this gun-slinging maniac actually was until asked my dearly beloved husband. Turns out it was Yosemite Sam who I can’t even remember with my conscious brain so I have no idea here he found his way inside my head. (Turns out he’s from Bugs Bunny. Obviously a deeply repressed childhood memory! More therapy sessions required).

However, I’m sure I’ve already mentioned that I’m on a lot of drugs with these treatments and they are definitely doing strange things to my brain. This is absolute confirmation!!  I actually packed a much more wholesome and even spiritually minded book in my bag when I left for the hospital this morning: Conversations with God: An Uncommon Diologue by Neale Donald Walshe. There were no gun slinging cartoon characters of any description!

Perhaps, the devil made me do it…

xx Rowena

Back home with my beloved doggie...a selfie.  Ended up writing down there debriefing myself...and him , of course!

Back home with my beloved doggie…a selfie. Ended up writing down there debriefing myself…and him , of course!

Overcoming Life’s Hurdles…A Tribute to Olympic Champion -Sally Pearson

http://instagram.com/p/OC4_Q8Maqm/

I have a new hero. This morning, I watched Australian athlete, Sally Pearson, take out the gold medal in the 100m Hurdles at the London Olympics. It was awesome!

Sally Pearson is my kind of athlete. She shares my weakness for the mighty Tim Tam but obviously doesn’t let a packet of so of the things get in the way of her Olympic dream. I bet she can even stop at one. I can too, you know!

Not being into sport, I haven’t watched much of the Olympics. Moreover, I usually cringe at the thought of sporting heroes. Just because someone is good at sport, it doesn’t mean they have integrity, character or the sort of values that should denote a hero. However, I’m open-minded. Being a sports person shouldn’t disqualify them either.

I had no intention of getting into the Olympics. I loved Sydney 2000, attended a few events and even had my photo taken with the Olympic torch. Like everybody else, I was also running around everywhere chanting: “Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Oi! Oi! Oi!” like a complete lunatic but that was then and this is now. The Olympics are over there…in London…literally on the other side of the world. Bu­­t you know what it’s like when you have kids. You get drawn into things. My daughter’s class was following Sally’s Olympic journey and I was sort of pulled into the slip stream. So in between painting the Olympic rings and the Olympic torch, the kids and I started jumping to attention every time Sally Pearson’s name was mentioned on TV.

To be perfectly honest, I hadn’t really heard of Sally Pearson before the Olympics but what I started out as an educational experience for my daughter, has became a motivating and insightful moment for myself.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m having a bit of a rough time fighting my auto-immune disease at the moment. I dodged a bullet on Monday when even my specialist thought he was going to be admitting me. I’d even taken my pyjamas and toothbrush with me (haven’t done that before) but went home a free woman instead.

I am still on 50mg a day of prednisone and that is unsustainable but survivable short term. It’s a bit of a roller coaster ride emotionally speaking but creatively, I’m on fire doing some amazing stuff. Being a creative soul, I could almost say it’s been worth it but the stress has been phenomenal and it’s been really hard on our family. That kind of stress is to be avoided literally at all costs!

I have also picked up a nasty viral infection and I’m coughing my lungs out all night. Every night, I am hovering on the edge of calling the ambulance but somehow manage to make it through the night.

So you can see how I might be needing a hero at the moment!

Sally Pearson inspires me for a number of reasons.

Firstly, I like somebody who can jump over hurdles at great speed and win. After all, jumping hurdles takes guts. I remember doing hurdles at school and feeling rather defeated before I even got started. Those hurdles looked huge, enormous. It was like trying to jump over a tower. I know I baulked at them. Moreover, I’m sure I thought I was going kill myself if I actually hit the hurdle. I’ve always been a drama queen.

When it comes to jumping life’s hurdles, I’m not always quick off the mark either. Just do it, Ro! Get on with it. The more you procrastinate, the worse it gets! The more you gaze at the mountain, the higher it gets. We all know that but it’s another thing to actually do it.

Sally Pearson conquered the hurdles at speed, seemingly without a second thought. However, I’m sure her brain was processing things at a thousand miles an hour. Even a gold medal athlete doesn’t conquer hurdles without a lot of mental and physical processing! She just made it look so easy!!

Secondly, Sally Pearson won gold in the rain. If you live in a country where it rains or drizzles a lot that might not mean much to you but around these parts, things come to a grinding halt when it rains. My Mum was allowed to stay home from school when it rained when she was a kid. Sally won in the rain. She didn’t let it get her down. She didn’t stop. She got out there and she won gold…the ultimate reward.

I can do it too. Don’t let the rain stand between me and my dreams. Get on with it!!

Thirdly, Sally won by .02 of a second. Initially, I thought about that being an insight into how you need that competitive edge to win. It was such a tight, tight margin. Then, I saw another way of looking at it. You only need to be a very small step ahead of your adversary. I have always seen my auto-immune disease as a separate entity code-named “Dermie” and when things get bad, he’s like a malevolent creeping, lurking shadow… a stalker.  It’s never been part of me or who I am as a person.

Now, I only need to be .02 of a second ahead of Dermie to win! That sounds so much more achievable. I can do it but I know I’m in for the long haul and I will need to have the commitment, dedication and focus of a gold medal athlete to win the race. There is no room for complacency, defeat or turning my back on my foe. I need to fight for my life before my life depends on it! We all face this fight. It isn’t a glamorous journey. There will be no gold medal accolades but I just want to see my kids grow up and to be well enough to enjoy it. I also want my husband to have his wife and my parents to have their daughter. That seems like such a small request and it is I hope, quite achievable but it will be a fight.

As I said, this is a battle we are all waging. The distinction is that I am conscious of my battle. Most of us are quite oblivious. I know I was.

Sally was also competing under incredible pressure with the entire world watching her…so many fans willing her to win but there are always those wanting to see the tall poppy fall. She won gold under all that pressure and she didn’t crumple. She won gold…not just for jumping those physical hurdles but all those mental, metaphorical hurdles as well.

I have just watched an inspirational interview with Sally Pearson. I really felt I was running the race inside her head, inside her heart. Seeing things how she saw them. It was so amazing and such an encouragement now that I’ve decided to take inspiration from her success. There were a few quotes I liked: “Nothing hurts at the moment. I’m walking on a cloud”, “they almost got me but they didn’t”. “You have to push yourself to limits.” “All I could see was the yellow of Australia”, “You’ve done this a hundred times before. Get out there and do your thing.”

I’ve also Googled Sally and found an insightful interview. Sally hasn’t had the easy life and has fought against adversity. She’s been independent and has always been a fighter. That was very encouraging too. That ironically adversity can fuel your success, instead of just bringing you down. It reminds me of a quote by Australian photography sensation Ken Duncan which I stuck on my whiteboard last week:

Stumbling blocks are stepping stones to victory.

You can read the interview here:

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/sport/the-sunday-interview-sally-pearson/story-e6frexni-1226051679724

So congratulations Sally Pearson. You’ve won a gold medal on and off the track. You’re simply the best!…along with Olympic cyclist Anna Meares.

Anna’s story is also inspirational but that’s someone else’s story to tell. Suffice to say that Anna Meares made an astonishing come back from a very bad cycling accident at the World Cup in January 2008 when she broke her neck. It is just amazing to think that you can break your neck and then go on to win Olympic gold. Another incredible inspiration!

I hope these stories encourage you to jump your hurdles whatever they might be. They’ve certainly inspired me!

xx Rowena