Today, one of my Pose Method running clients sent me this article from the New York Times, Ready to Swim 103 Miles With the Sharks. Impressed by the scope of the undertaking, I figured the comments afterward would be overwhelmingly encouraging. But, instead of support, I was shocked by the flurry of negative reaction that followed the report.
How can an individual’s brave venture beyond the boundaries of our culture’s self-imposed expectations of physical capacities be so threatening? Is it really that frightening to be reminded, not of our vast potential, but of our deeper human legacy? I suppose the comforts of our societal terrarium have softened our bodies, weakened our minds, and skewed our self-appreciation to the point where we now shudder to even think of facing the world outside. But we’re human, and our ancestors were marvelously athletic and courageous— we wouldn’t be here otherwise. Maybe it’s too unsettling to be shown by Diana Nyad yet another bold example of fitness. In effect, how the rest of us have squandered our inherent physical abilities (our birthright as human beings, as I describe in Fitness, Straight-up!), and how our lifestyles of convenience keeps us confined, safe within narrow panes of existence. Perhaps it’s just easier to lash out, than look in.
As a long-time fitness coach I applaud and take inspiration from feats such as Diana’s. Not because they extend our physical abilities, but because they reclaim them. Health, fitness, and courage have always been ours to lose, and it all starts with how we think about it.
I wish Diana a safe and successful swim.