My sister has wanted to work with marine animals since she was just a little tyke. I remember her crying in the bathtub when she heard that one of the killer whales at Sea World had died in an accident. My sister married young and eventually became a title manager for a real estate company. When the mortgage crisis got the best of that job she was laid off. She took it as a gift and decided to go back to school and pursue her dream.
Before we knew it, she was working as an explorer guide at Discovery Kingdom (formerly Marine World) in Northern California. Not even two years later, she’s a full-time aquarist and is loved by everyone she works with. She recently took me and my family on a tour of the park and got us a back stage pass that included some personal time with Merlin the dolphin.
I have never swam with a dolphin before. I thought maybe I’d get to touch him a little and feed him fish. But when his trainer told me to swim out into the pool I was ecstatic! I got to ride on his belly and do a fancy little trick called a foot push where he pushes one of my feet and sends me flying forward. He was smart and gentle and just an amazing creature- he even knew cobra pose. I couldn’t believe that for some people this is “work.”
The best part of my day, however, was seeing my sister in her element- listening to stories of her swimming with the sharks and feeding the alligators. I couldn’t have been more proud.
Filed under Challenge, change, Empowerment, Entreprenuer, Fear of Death, Mystical, Mysticism, Personal Growth, Spirituality, Story, Storytelling, Travel, Yoga
Every detail of the Brooklyn Bridge was designed by John A. Roebling, but when he died unexpectedly in 1869, the reigns of this magnificent project were handed over to his son Washington who was only 32 years old. Washington carried out his father’s vision with absolute integrity, following every aspect of the design with unadulterated perfection. Except for one very important detail.
Below the towers of the bridge are the caissons (ˈkā-ˌsän, -s) or “feet” of the bridge. They are huge structures that are sunk to the river bed and then dug into bedrock. The men working below the water in the caissons experienced caissons disease, or what we now know as “the bends.” Conditions were harsh and several men died because of this. The caisson on the Brooklyn side was successfully laid in bedrock but to complete the same project on the Manhattan side would have meant years of additional construction and the projected loss of a hundred men.
Washington was then faced with the greatest decision of his intellectual and, I would imagine, spiritual life- continue to dig the caisson on the Manhattan side until it reaches bedrock, or allow it rest in the unconsolidated soil above. In the end, Washington decided to let it rest. And so he build the Brooklyn Bridge upon a foundation half grounded in bedrock and half grounded in sand.
“What does it mean if foundations vary in their solidity? Can something as shifting as sand, or fading memories, or third hand stories, or remembered writings still support something of this magnitude?
. . .apparently, yes.”
~Rachel Livingston Ahalt, Architect
~ Inspiration drawn from Ken Burns’ documentary Brooklyn Bridge
Filed under Challenge, change, Empowerment, Entreprenuer, Fear of Death, Motivation, Mystical, Mysticism, Personal Growth, Spirituality, Story, Storytelling, Yoga
What do you do when opportunity knocks? I read this great book by Wes Moss called Starting From Scratch that tells the stories of 22 entrepreneurs. In it he says that “many people mistakenly think that their biggest stumbling block is lack of knowledge.” I hear people like my aunt tell me that she can’t start her own interior decorating business because she’s not good enough, even though she’s an incredibly talented artist. I hear my inner voice getting shaky when I’m asked if I can take on a new website project because I feel like I never know enough to do the project well. But Moss also says that “most of us avoid first steps because we tend to resist and avoid change.”
Change is scary but the alternative is to remain stagnant and unmoving. Sure, our routines can be provide us with a sense of comfort and reliability but they can’t provide us with the feeling of empowerment that comes from taking on challenges. Doubt yourself less. Challenge yourself more. Make mistakes and learn from them. Grow, grow, grow…