Coming Soon….”the Truth”

“Truth is Power”, and as spiderman found out…. with great power comes great responsibility….

Do we really ever search out truth? Are we so afraid of truth because it finding it imparts responsibility? What is it about truth that generates so much resistance? So much that “We-the-People” pay to see a movie made about Truth-telling?

BTW, I think it’s going to be a worthwhile movie. I’m going.

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De-cide (v.) to solve a problem

You know that feeling you get when you spill hot coffee in your lap on the way to work?  It’s as though the Universe is trying hard to tell you something.  We’ve all had those Image moments.  The day is going so woefully badly, you just want to crawl back into bed and wait for tomorrow.  It’s like knocking yourself out to get somewhere & achieve something, and suddenly realizing it’s not where you want to be anymore.  There is something very odd about humans and the concept of success.  It seems as though many of us are happier working toward the goal, than achieving the goal itself.

There is something extremely humbling about realizing that 12 years of post-secondary education didn’t magically bring me the career that would make me happy for the rest of my life.  Twelve years post-high school, sequestered to libraries, laboratories, clinics, hospitals, seminars, and lecture halls, surrounded by people with black tape on their glasses and the fashion sense of Rodney Dangerfield,

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I had no idea what a mulligan was, but it seemed like this would be a good time to request one.  Working hard was second nature and I had grown up in University Hospitals and laboratories. Ultimately, I had ignored the screaming horse-crazy voices in my head, distracted myself with developing additional interests (fitness and sports) and set the bar high becoming part of the inner core of faculty at Johns Hopkins University.  Getting there was rewarding in and of itself.  Dad would have been proud.  Though, when my grandfather insisted that I show my University identification card to the proprietor of his neighborhood’s maple sugar house, it was hard to admit even to myself that I might need to move on.

Considering departure from academia was neither easy, nor comfortable.  The process was long, convoluted and took many directions.   It has not made my life easier or less stressful.  I have leapt more obstacles and acquired more war wounds than I thought possible.  I am, nevertheless, happier and and have a sense of satisfaction having followed this path that I recognize would elude me for all of my life , if I had chosen otherwise.

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“The rain it raineth on the just And also on the unjust fella; But chiefly on the just, because The unjust steals the just’s umbrella.” Charles Synge Christopher Bowen

It’s not as if we don’t need it to rain sometimes.  In fact, at the very least, it keeps the dust and pollen count down.  It cleans the roofs, washes a few cars, most of the roads, and gives us an excuse to skip that dinner we didn’t really want to attend.  But if you are a racetracker, it’s a different story….

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It wasn’t supposed to rain yet.  Weatherbug AND the local news forecast clear skies until after training hours… but water is now running over the top of your helmet collecting in your goggles and running down the sides, trailing under your collar and finding that oh-so-sensitive spot between your collarbone and the top of your sternum.  That irrepressible shiver begins somewhere between the middle of your shoulder blades and travels around you and into your belly button, just in time to connect to the stream of ice water running down the front of your shirt.  Spilling into your boots from the sponge that used to be your  jeans, the rain seems to sense your utter inability to escape (because you’re galloping in never-ending left turn circles).  The possibility that you may drown is only overwhelmed by images of suffocating in mud if you jumped, so you remain where you are, soggily attached to a large wet piece of leather, attached to an even wetter large animal… who is also not particularly happy about being out in the rain.

Finally under cover in the barn landing as a squishy pile of wet, muddy, human and tack, you realize that the rest of the morning will be more of the same; “just keep your eye on the prize…” you mutter… “hot shower, hot soup, hot anything. I’ll make it.  I can’t get wetter.”  Somehow, you are mistaken.  Not sure how, but you get wetter….

…..(hours later)  The only thing keeping you from getting in the door to your apartment is your soaking wet, slippery keys that render you incapable of sticking anything in that tiny, god-forsaken, little hole.  Warmth and comfort exist on the other side of that immovable door and with those frigid unmoving fingers, you may never get there.  More attempts, multiple curses, and after dropping everything you brought from the car, you crash through the entryway dropping all that might be eternally valuable on the floor so that you can peel the wretched, cold, watery, clingy material that used to be jeans, shirt, socks and underwear off your poor frigid, wrinkled body.  Leaving wet footprints across the hallway you climb into the heaven that once was merely a shower and remain there until all memory of this tragic morning is washed away with the bits of dirt that were embedded into hair, eyebrows and nether places…(I have no idea how it got there either).

Finally, carefully exiting that place of comfort and solace, carefully wrapped in the biggest, fluffiest towel you can find and heading toward an even warmer haven, previously thought of as only a bed, you hear a voice….:  “Hey Babe,…. How about lets go do something,… like a movie?  It’s only noon…”

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Entrance?

entrance

When I was five I considered a career as a ballerina.  Somewhere between toe shoes and attempting to perfect the plié it became clear I would need an exit strategy.  This may not have been my first, but it is my first memory of needing one.

Everytime I write this blog it is with someone in mind, though no one I know personally.  It’s about all of us struggling to embark courageously upon the adventure that is life.   I like recognizing that amidst the agony of indecision and worry, there is humor and clarity that makes forward movement easier.  I intend only to illuminate my own path that it will mark another way more brightly, knowing that others have gone before you, and more will follow.  No one is alone on this journey.  Many of us experience a vague (or stronger….)  sense of dissatisfaction after pursuing lifelong goals.  It’s a very challenging admission to realize you have dedicated time, energy and life to something you THOUGHT was going to make you happy… and it’s not working out.  It’s the reason “exit strategy” has become such a massively popular term in the last decade.  Strangely, holding on to failure can seem easier than risking an ill-defined future.  So instead of fear, worry and trepidation, approach the future with  excitement and anticipation.

Exit strategies are really entrance strategies.

 

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“…to give happiness is a far nobler goal that to attain it….” L. Carroll

“When a door closes, a window opens”…. “God never closes a door without opening another”….”Everything happens for a reason”….”Life is what happens to you when you get up every day”.   I think the last one is my personal favorite.

Surely we have all heard those seemingly pandering quotes at moments when things seem toughest.  Like when we (at least, those of us that have …) get fired.  Some circumstances are better than others; sometimes you actually see the light at the end of the tunnel,… but mostly it feels a little like falling into a mud puddle.  At first you feel embarrassed, then quickly assessing what real-life damage there may be, you remove yourself as quickly and (hopefully) painlessly as possible; and move on to feeling sorry for yourself.  While necessary, this phase is also potentially injurious.  Too little (also known as denial) and it becomes a haunting presence that interferes with the practicality of future paths.  Too much (also known as the quintessential pity party) has a vaporizing effect on friends, family and other support systems… along with deterioration of health, happiness & good hormones (insert icon: “Oh No!!”).

So… advice on how to pull yourself out of the puddle, brush yourself off and find the open door (sadly there is really no way around the embarrassment-part) :

  1. Great sex (always helps….everything;  barring that, a good cry and warm shower)
  2. Put on something really comfy, surround yourself with exceptional food
  3. Pick up your phone or your i-pad or your laptop and start looking through your contacts (this is also known as “networking”)
  4. Send some emails, make some calls, set up a few appointments
  5. Start writing….about love; what you love; who you love; where you love to be; why you love who you are and who you want to be… get focused

The reason this works is because we are the very best at the things we love to do, the places we love to live, and being around the people with whom we love to spend time.  It isn’t trivial, it’s critical.  It’s all about love.Image

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A Hero

Seldom do the heroes of our past make it to become heroes of today and tomorrow.. I don’t really know the reason, except that maybe it’s because our vision of heroism changes.  Spiderman, for whom “great power came with great responsibility” lasted only until I was about 5.  I think maybe Luke Skywalker or Han Solo took over at that point, but  I don’t really recall.  I do vividly remember the way I felt when I watched Seattle Slew win the third leg of the Triple Crown, my heart pounding,.  I had stopped breathing at the beginning of the race and was suffering self-induced anoxia.  The resulting explosion of air sent this Asian child ballooning around the room: “He won! He won!”  He never stopped being my hero.  I know that I later memorized the jockey, the trainer, the owners – past and present – but I had always known that big, black beautiful horse from the ‘first’ race, from the Kentucky Derby.  He remains one of my heros today.

This “improved” footage was upgraded and uploaded in 2007.

If you ever had a hero, you should see this…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xDWwhvVi29Y

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The “Because”…

Everything I do, I believe in living in being excited about life.  I believe that the life I lead IS the dream.  Dreams are what makes it worth getting up in the morning, what makes my heart pound, what makes me feel like I’ve just slammed a triple espresso (no sugar, no cream).  Dreams are amorphous, though, and evolve as we do.  They are supposed to, I think.  Some are able to follow a very linear theme throughout life, climbing ladders, so to speak.  Others, like me, make enormous lateral jumps… it’s the way I think.  I believe in   thinking differently, that I am allowed to be the best, that barriers are there to be overcome.  I believe that we need dreams, and I believe that we live better lives reaching for them.  

My dream is to win the Kentucky Derby.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_NWec9atK4c

….more tomorrow…

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The “Why”…

I have lost track of the times someone asked me, “Why (on earth) did you leave Johns Hopkins to come to the racetrack…?”  The humorous responses I never used, would have been much more interesting story.   It’s tempting to say, “I just really love being around horses.” and insinuate that truism is enough to dedicate the commitment demanded by a life in racing.   That’s just not true, at least not entirely.  Contrary to popular belief, the word “truism” is not simply a more elegant synonym for “truth” .  Truism means,  well…. a cliche, a platitude, something so obvious it’s not worth mentioning.  Watch this video…. 

http://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action.html?utm_source=email&source=email&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=ios-share

…and I will tell you my why tomorrow.

PS.  This really is a must see…  

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New beginnings….

are what follows the closing of a chapter….  It is the next step of whatever is happening in your life.  “Exit strategy” has become a commonplace moniker for what happens when you want to leave something to be able to move to the next.  For some reason we have become focused on the “exiting” and not the entering.   Maybe the exit feels as though it has to come first?  Did Dad always say: “You have to finish one thing before beginning the next.”?  I dunno.  My Dad never said that. 

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